Employers absorbing more costs as workers tend to aging parents

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:42 pm

A recent MetLife Inc. study shows that employers absorb costs when their employees are trying to work while taking care of an aging parent at the same time.

Nationally, the total estimated annual cost to employers for full-time employees with caregiving responsibilities is $33.6 billion, according to the study. The average annual cost per employee for those with caregiving responsibilities is $2,110, the study said.

Those numbers will probably only get larger as the American baby boom generation continues to age.

The study also found that 33 percent of large employers in the United States have eldercare programs to serve employees with eldercare needs.

The study was conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the information and policy resource center offered by New York-based MetLife Inc., in conjunction with the Bethesda, Md.-based National Alliance for Caregiving.

Called “The MetLife Caregiving Cost Study: Productivity Losses to U.S. Businesses,” the study researched the monetary effect on U.S. companies as a result of employees trying to work while simultaneously trying to care for an aging parent.

The study found that employers end up paying for replacement costs of the employees who leave the workplace, absenteeism, workday interruptions, costs associated with unpaid leave and costs associated with reducing an employee’s hours from full-time to part-time.

“As life expectancy increases, more workers will be involved in caring for aged loved ones,” the study said. “Employers should take proactive measures now to address these issues by making eldercare resources available.”

The study found that small- and mid-sized companies are less likely to have the eldercare programs for their key employees.

However, some programs any organization could establish, according to the study, include:

•    Benefits such as flextime, telecommuting and job-sharing.

•    Programs to provide respite care, adult day services and caregiver support groups.

•    Information, referral and educational programs.

•    Employee- and/or employer-funded long-term care insurance.

For more information on the study, visit www.metlife.com.

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