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View More Press Releases by National Association of Area Aging on Aging [n4a]

Press release:

n4a Launches National Campaign to Help Businesses and Employees Work through Costly, Stressful Caregiving Issues

Issued by: National Association of Area Aging on Aging [n4a]

Date: Nov. 19, 2007

--Millions of Employees Who Are Also Caring for a Family Member Have Become a Growing and Costly Challenge for Businesses; National Campaign Aims to Help Employees Balance Work and Caregiving Responsibilities and Involve Employers in the Process --

November 19, 2007 - Washington, D.C. - The majority of the 44 million Americans who are currently caring for a sick family member are also full-time employees in the workforce with great impact on employees and businesses.  Employees are finding there are not enough hours in the day to balance caregiving responsibilities with their "real job," and the loss of productivity is costing American businesses between $17 billion and $33 billion annually.

Today, the National Association of Area Aging on Aging (n4a) - in cooperation with the National Alliance for Caregiving - launched a national campaign to help businesses and employees work together on this growing problem.  They are encouraging businesses to hold a "Company Caregiving Luncheon" during November, National Caregiver's Month, at which they will make available copies of the MetLife Mature Market Institute guide, "Resources for Caregivers."

"Working full-time while caring for a loved one is stressful and there are no simple solutions," said Sandy Markwood.  "The best approach to dealing with this complex issue is for employers and employees to communicate and work together.  Are there community services available about which employees are unaware, if a caregiving situation arises?  As a first step, businesses can become informed and discuss issues and helpful options with employees.  We encourage businesses to plan one day this month to talk about caregiving and to offer employees the gift of knowledge - 'Resources for Caregivers.'"

At the "Company Caregiving Luncheons," copies of "Resources for Caregivers" will be distributed through the local Area Agencies on Aging and Title VI Native American aging programs by n4a, through a grant from MetLife Foundation.

"Caregiving information should become a regular part of the conversation that businesses have with employees, similar to health benefits and other human resources issues," said Gail Gibson Hunt, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving.  "Understanding what resources and information are available on caregiving - whether you have been through it, will be going through it, or are currently going through it - is important in preventing stressful workplace situations."

Nearly 60% of those caring for an adult over age 50 are working, the majority of them full time. In the past, responsibilities for caregiving almost exclusively belonged to women, but currently about 39% of caregivers are men.  Studies show that employees who are also caregivers cost employers anywhere from $17 billion to $33 billion annually, due to lost time at work, frequent interruptions or leaves of absence.

Programs to assist caregivers include services such as transportation assistance, support groups, caregiver education programs, and respite.

Background on the Impact of Caregiving on Business' Bottom Line

  • In July 2006, the "MetLife Caregiving Cost Study: Productivity Losses to U.S. Business" found that:

    • The total estimated cost to employers for full-time employees with intense caregiving responsibilities is $17.1 billion; the average cost per employee for those with intense caregiving responsibilities is $2,441.

    • The total estimated cost to employers for all full-time,
      employed caregivers is $33.6 billion; the average cost per employee for all fulltime, employed caregivers is $2,110.

  • According to *American Business Cares*, at any given time, more than 20% of the workforce is dealing with a caregiving situation. It also found that:

    • 53% of caregivers admit that their job performance is negatively

    • 84% make caregiving related phone calls during business hours

    • 68% arrive late or leave early

    • 67% take time off from work during the day

  • Legal Costs:  The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that there has been an increase in lawsuits filed by workers claiming they've been discriminated against on the job because of their family caregiving obligations. The Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, which tracks these lawsuits, says such cases have risen by 400% in the last decade. Cases usually involve an employee who must care for a child, elderly parent or disabled spouse. The employee may claim that he or she was discriminated against by an employer because of his or her caregiving responsibilities.

View More Press Releases by National Association of Area Aging on Aging [n4a]

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