Second Annual Employee Caregiving Survey

Working caregivers are stretched thinner than ever.

The time to act is now.

On average, 20% or more of employees are also acting as unpaid caregivers for loved ones. This double or sometimes triple shift can be a tiresome balancing act. Employees can’t perform their caregiving responsibilities strictly in the evenings or weekends. Even the most diligent employees can struggle with administrative tasks such as shuttling loved ones to and from doctors’ appointments, making phone calls, and coordinating care during work hours. 

At the same time, HR leaders are facing incredible challenges. The Great Resignation and Realignment continues to deplete workforces. “Quiet Quitting” is killing productivity. Mental well-being and overall employee health is declining. Plus, benefits and other budgets are being cut, forcing leaders to make hard decisions.  

These forces are converging. We’re in the middle of a tidal wave that shows no sign of letting up. Homethrive is on a mission to get the story out about the impact of employee caregiving and the importance of supporting this growing and increasingly vocal population.  

Each year in our Employee Caregiving Survey, we ask employees important questions about their caregiving experience to find out what challenges they’re facing, how their employers are responding, and what we can all do to help. Like last year, the results are telling. 

 

Survey at a Glance

The second annual Employee Caregiving Survey was conducted via a third-party survey provider in August 2022. We surveyed two hundred adults in the U.S. who work while also providing support for loved ones, asking them how their caregiving responsibilities impact their employment, well-being, and lives. Respondents were 60.5% female and 39.5% male and from a variety of industries. 75% of respondents are currently providing support for loved ones who are aging and/or have a disability. 

Though not surprising, caregivers reported being stretched thinner than ever as they juggle work, life, family, and caregiving responsibilities.  

  • Caregiving responsibilities are taking up more time than previous years – with a 79% increase in the number of employees who spend 5+ hours per week on caregiving  
  • More than a third of respondents have left work early, missed days of work, and rearranged work schedules due to their caregiving responsibilities 
  • More than half of respondents worry that caregiving will negatively impact their job performance and would change jobs if it meant having access to a family caregiving coordination benefit 
  • Roughly two thirds of respondents don’t have access to a caregiving support benefit, but more than 80% would take advantage if their employer offered one 

 

The results

The data speaks for itself. Employee caregivers can no longer be ignored. They’re spending more time on caregiving-related activities. Many are missing work, feel distracted, and are worried their caregiving responsibilities are negatively impacting their job performance. They want support but aren’t getting it. They’re even willing to leave their current employers to find one who will better support them and give them tools they need to succeed. 

Caregiving is time-consuming and distracting

Caregiving involves more than just taking phone calls. Survey respondents report spending more than two thirds of their caregiving time grocery shopping, driving to doctor appointments and other services, performing housekeeping tasks, arranging or preparing meals, and assisting with medications.

2022 Survey Graphic - Q4

 

Caregiving is a multi-year commitment

Caregivers who also work report caring for their loved one for multiple years. This means that many employees are facing chronic stress related to caregiving, which is likely having a growing impact on their physical and mental well-being.

While this has been an issue for some time, the results of this year's survey reveal that it is becoming even more of a challenge.

2022 Survey Graphic - Q3

 

Employees are becoming more vocal about caregiving

Great news! There’s been a 65% increase in the number of employees who have spoken with their supervisors about their caregiving responsibilities. Companies continue to realize the importance of openly talking about caregiving in the workplace.

Is your immediate supervisor aware of your caregiving responsibilities?

2022 Survey Graphic - Q5-1

 

Supervisors remain less supportive than hoped

About half of employees report that their supervisors are supportive of their caregiving role. This is a vast improvement from previous years. Leaders have become more compassionate and have prioritized employee well-being and mental health.

However, we still have work to do. About half of those we surveyed still report their supervisors are either somewhat or not at all understanding of their caregiving responsibilities. 

2022 Survey Graphic - Q6-1

 

Caregiving responsibilities can negatively impact work

Unfortunately, caregiving responsibilities can’t wait until the workday is over. Even those who don’t think of themselves as primary caregivers often perform activities that impact their work performance. Roughly 30% of respondents report leaving work early, missing days of work, rearranging work schedules, responding to calls or emergencies during work hours, and/or using breaks or lunch times to complete caregiving responsibilities. And sadly, more than half of respondents worry their caregiving responsibilities are or may soon negatively impact their job performance.

 

30%
of employees report impacts on work, including leaving work early
56%
of employees worry caregiving will negatively impact their job performance

The disconnect between supply and demand remains

The need for employee benefits that support caregivers is growing. Nearly two thirds of respondents believe their employer should offer such a benefit and 85% would take advantage if they did. However, only a third of survey respondents have access to such a benefit through their employer. Fortunately, this is up 15% from last year, meaning more employers are seeing the need and actingUnfortunately, 33% is just not enough to meet the need and demand.

64%
Of employees feel their employer should offer a caregiving benefit
85%
Of those surveyed would take advantage of this benefit if it was offered

Caregiving benefits can help employees feel, live, and work better

Caregiving is hard. It takes time away from work and family, and can impact health and well-being. Just about half of the survey respondents reported ignoring important aspects of their lives, such as taking care of themselves; socially engaging with friends, family, and colleagues; and taking time off work to relax. Additionally, respondents report that their caregiving responsibilities have resulted in them having less time to themselves, and they’re feeling more worried, anxious, and exhausted. On the plus side, about 10% of respondents also reported that caregiving gives their life more meaning and makes them cherish their time with their loved one(s) even more.  

  • 17% said "I now have less time to myself."

  • 12.5% said "It has made me feel worried or anxious."

  • 11.5% said "It has made me feel exhausted."

  • 10.5% said "It has given my life more meaning."

 

Caregiving benefits matter to employees 

Employee caregivers are no longer silent and no longer willing to go unnoticed and unsupported. Astoundingly, more than half of respondents would consider leaving their current employer for one that offers a caregiving support benefit to help reduce their load. With the current pressures on HR leaders to hire and retain great employees, this is even more proof that now’s the time to implement benefits that support this growing population.

Would you consider leaving your current employer for one that offers a benefit to help make your caregiving responsibilities easier and reduce your load?

2022 Survey Graphic - Q13

 

In Summary

Unpaid family caregivers are unsung heroes, and this survey reinforces the fact that their workloads aren’t letting up. They're stretched thin trying to balance caregiving with their careers. This underserved, yet growing, population is demanding help and grace from their employers, and they’re willing to leave their jobs to get the support they need. The cost of inaction is too high to ignore. The time to act is now.