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Caregivers Struggle with Work-Life Balance

Two-thirds of caregivers report having at least some difficulty balancing work and life responsibilities, according to a recent survey from S&P Global and AARP. The survey of 1,200 full- and part-time employees of U.S. companies who provide more than six hours of unpaid care each week to another adult finds that while caregivers of adults feel supported at work, they still believe that caregivers of children get more support.

Caregiving can be stressful, and for about one-third of surveyed caregivers (34%), balancing caregiving with job responsibilities is the biggest driver of stress. Half of working caregivers report making work scheduling changes, taking leaves of absence, shifting from full-time work to part-time work, turning down promotions, moving to a new team, or changing employers to help them navigate caregiving.  

Employer support of caregivers is critical to reducing their attrition, as 34% of respondents say their caregiving responsibilities are the primary reason for leaving a position and 41% saying it was one of the reasons.  

Overall, 67% of respondents say their employers’ support for caregivers is above average. Yet, survey data shows thar workplace caregiving support is not felt equally by all employees. Women caregivers, caregivers with lower household incomes, and caregivers without minor children report less satisfaction with company support. Still, most caregivers (86%) feel a sense of belonging at their company and two-thirds say they have not been penalized or discriminated against at work due to their caregiving responsibilities.  

Supporting remote employees is also important even though remote and hybrid workers report feeling more supported than in-office workers when it comes to caregiving. Still, they are more likely than in-office or hybrid workers to report moving to a new job within the past year, experiencing an increase in working hours over the past six months, and being part-time.  

Access to a flexible work schedule is the most common caregiving support offered, with 45% of respondents reporting it as an available option. Among employees with access to flexible work schedules, 80% use it—the highest utilization rate of any caregiver support—and 84% of those who use it say it’s very helpful. Telework is also widely used (72%) and highly rates (84%).  

While only one-quarter of caregivers say they have been offered paid leave designated for adult caregiving, 67% of them have used it and 79% of people find it helpful. Still, not all benefits are highly used. Among the benefits most likely to remain unused are those providing guidance on legal issues, self-care, the healthcare system, and specific health conditions.  

With the number of older adults set to surpass the population of children by 2030, employers must continue to implement policies and benefits that are friendly and supportive of adult caregiving.  

Tags: Workforce Management

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