New Study Encourages Employers to Prepare for Working Caregivers

written by Kevin K. Johnson, CSA

A recent study just published in June titled “The MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers”, points out the need for employers to provide workplace accommodations such as flex-time or family medical leave (FMLA) so that caregiving employees can continue to stay in the workforce while caring for elderly parents.

Employers also need to consider the health implications for their caregiving workers. Studies have shown that caregiving has a negative impact on workplace productivity and results in as much as an additional 8% in healthcare costs for employers. (MetLife Mature Market Institute, Feb 2010). Stress is a big factor in working caregivers’ health. Employers can ensure that all workers have the opportunity to know about and access stress management programs to assist them with issues of caregiving for elder loved ones.

One of our January 2011 blogs titled, “Workplace Impact of Caregiving Employees” outlined employer lost productivity cost due to employee caregiving. This June study by MetLife details a bit of the employee’s financial loss. The fact that without assistance, employees are experiencing significant lost wages and lost social security. In an earlier study using personal files and records for a sample of caregivers, it was estimated that private pension loss might add an additional $50,000 burden for caregivers over “a career of caregiving”.  “Total wage, Social Security, and private pension losses due to caregiving could range from $283,716 for men to $324,044 for women, or $303,880 on average for the typical caregiver. When this is multiplied be the 9.7 million people age 50+ caring for their parents, the amount lost is nearly $3 trillion.”

The implications for caregiving employees and their employers are clear. Employee lost income coupled with employer lost productivity adds up to a serious workplace problem. As employers awareness increases regarding the financial impact of lost productivity to their workplace, they are introducing solutions to address this issue. In so doing, employers are showing their employees that they care about issues that impact their lives. These employers actions help to maintain the employ of their critical workers; a win-win outcome.

The most progressive employers are indeed “learning” and leading” the way to a more productive workplace.

%d bloggers like this: