More than half of that cost ($17.1 billion) comes from lost productivity of those employees in intense caregiving situations, according to the MetLife report.
MetLife’s report cited a 2004 study from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP that found at least six in 10 employed caregivers had made work-related adjustments because of their caregiving responsibilities. Nine percent of respondents in the 2004 study left work because of caregiving responsibilities, and another 10% dropped their hours from full-time to part-time.
The MetLife study estimates the employer cost for replacing caregiving employees who leave the workplace is about $6.6 billion. The cost for employees who drop to part-time status as a result of caregiving is estimated at almost $4.8 billion.
In addition, the total employer cost annually for absent caregiving employees is estimated to be slightly more than $5 billion, while the cost for lost productivity because of workday interruptions related to caregiving is about $6.3 billion.
MetLife noted that research from SHRM found only a third of large organizations offer an eldercare program to help employees with eldercare responsibilities. As MetLife pointed out, this issue is growing because of the aging population.
To prepare for this workforce issue and manage costs, MetLife suggests employers:
- Offer benefits such as flextime, telecommuting and job-sharing,
- Consider programs to provide respite care, adult day services and caregiver support groups,
- Provide information, referral and educational programs, and
- Offer employee and/or employer funded long-term care insurance.
The MetLife Caregiving Costs Study: Productivity Losses to US Business is here .