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Caregiving Workers More Stressed, Less Prepared for Emergency Expenses

A new Workplace Wellness Survey report by the Employee Benefits Research Institute and Greenwald Research finds caregiving workers are slightly older on average, more likely to work part-time than non-caregivers, stressed about finances, and are challenged to juggle work and caregiving responsibilities.  

The 2023 WWS included an oversample of caregiving workers to better understand their opinions about their employer, how they value their workplace-sponsored benefits, as well as the challenges they face balancing work, life, finances, and caregiving responsibilities.  

Key findings in the new research report are below.  

  • Caregivers are more likely to be of Hispanic, Spanish, or Latino descent compared with non-caregivers. They are also more likely to be slightly older and they are less likely to be single than workers without caregiving responsibilities. Caregivers are more likely to work part-time than non-caregivers – perhaps owing to their caregiving responsibilities – although the two groups have similar household incomes and asset levels.  
  • Caregivers are remarkably like non-caregivers in their self-rated estimations of their own mental health and workplace well-being. However, the two groups differ in two key areas. Caregivers are less likely than non-caregivers to rate their own personal health as excellent and they are more likely to give a lower rating of their household’s financial well-being.  
  • Caregivers and non-caregivers alike broadly agree that their employer has a responsibility to help employees with their mental, physical, and financial well-being, suggesting that employers have a built-in base of individuals who will buy into their well-being initiatives.  
  • Caregivers are only several percentage points more likely to respond that debt is a problem for their household, although this difference is not statistically significant. However, caregivers are less likely than non-caregivers to flag certain types of debt, such as student loan debt or payday loan debt, as problematic for their household.  
  • Caregivers are less likely to indicate that their financial well-being is good or excellent. Similarly, caregivers report being less prepared than non-caregivers to weather a $5,000 emergency expense, and they are particularly apt to flag prescription drugs and medical expenses as financial issues that cause them stress. Lastly, three-quarters of caregivers feel it is challenging to juggle their work and caregiving responsibilities.  
  • Caregivers are not a monolithic employee population. There are differences among caregivers when disaggregating by household income. Lower-income caregivers are, for instance, less likely to have access to and participate in core employee benefits, less likely to be satisfied with their employee benefits package, and more likely to report lower self-rates physical, mental, and financial well-being.  

“Employers should be encouraged by the finding that their workers look to them for help with physical, mental, and financial well-being,” says Jake Spiegel, research associate of health and wealth research at EBRI. “Overall, employers are well-positioned to help workers address these issues. Findings from the WWS can help guide employers’ benefits offerings and help tailor programs to positively impact workers who also have caregiving duties.”  

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