In the tough economic times, business leaders throughout the United States are facing many difficult issues; there is another factor which may be increasingly hurting bottom lines. That factor that they might not be thinking about is the cost of lost productivity due to caregiving responsibilities among their employees.

The Cost of Caregiving

According to Gallup research sponsored by Pfizer/ReACT (Respect A Caregiver's Time), more than one in six Americans who have a full-time or part-time job report that they also assist with care for an elderly or disabled family member, relative, or friend. These workers, on average, miss 6.6 days of work per year because of caregiving responsibilities. Gallup estimates that the cost of lost productivity due to absenteeism among full-time working caregivers is more than $25 billion annually. This estimate climbs above $28 billion when part-time caregivers are included. 


Caregivers Demographics

Of those 1 in 6 workers serving in the caregiver role, 46% are men. Further, though the percentage of caregivers tends to decrease somewhat as education and income increase, 15% of working Americans with a college degree or who make at least $90,000 per year are caregivers.

Limited Resources for Caregivers

Gallup analysis indicates that employers and managers tend to be more aware of caregiving responsibilities among workers when the company is smaller, when the caregiver lives with the person whom he or she provides care for, and when the employee has at least three years of tenure in the company. Employers and managers are less likely to know about or notice caregiving responsibilities of newer employees in large companies. Caregivers in the U.S. workforce often have limited resources in the workplace to support their caregiving responsibilities. While about two-thirds have paid or unpaid vacation time they can use for caregiving and more than half can use paid or unpaid sick leave for caregiving, offerings trail off quickly beyond that.

Conclusion

Clearly caregivers make personal and professional sacrifices to provide support for another person. What can we do to help alleviate the emotional and financial burden on caregivers?

Results provided by Dan Witters, the Global Practice Lead of Research and Development for Gallup. Read more here

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