Throughout COVID, there has been a good amount of coverage on the shortage of paid care workers for older adults and people with disabilities. This is not a new issue - the aging of the baby boomers and their desire to remain at home coupled with low wages for direct care workers, reductions in immigration, and the demands of the work have created a market where the demand for service far outweighs the availability of care workers.
With such a shortage of qualified home care professionals, the burden falls to family caregivers who are often caregiving while trying to balance working a full-time job and caring for children. A 2020 study by AARP and Alliance for Caregiving showed that over 20% of US employees are also family caregivers, resulting in a huge impact on presenteeism, absenteeism and turnover.
According to PHI research, the direct care workforce comprises approximately 4.7 million workers, of which nearly 2.6 million are home care workers. Home care workers assist older adults and people with disabilities with daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, eating, meal preparation, housekeeping, errands, appointments, supervision, and companionship. Between 2020 and 2030, the home care workforce will add nearly 1 million new jobs, representing the largest growth of any job sector in the country. The need to fill new jobs is just one of the hiring challenges for homecare - it is an industry with a 64% turnover rate.
A BCG study found that in 2030 and beyond, the US is expected to lose approximately $290 billion in GDP a year as a result of the care crisis. This figure includes lost wages due to unfilled jobs, as well as the eﬀect of reduced labor force participation because of care shortages.
These numbers are staggering, but what is often not recognized is the fact that this shortage has a domino effect that impacts every business sector.
For every 10 paid caregivers who leave the workforce, one person in another part of the economy is forced to leave the workforce to backfill as a result
As an employer, this is not an issue that you can ignore. Nearly 40% of all employee caregivers leave their jobs because of caregiving responsibilities, and those who do not leave still spend 20 to 40 hours on caregiving per week.
3 Things Employers Can Do To Support Caregiver Employees
Raise awareness and bring caregiving into the open. Most employers do not know whether their employees are caring for an older relative. Often employees themselves do not recognize that they are caregivers - they are just fulfilling their responsibilities as a daughter or son.
Establish a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable talking about their role as a caregiver.
Create an Employee Resource Group for employees to share with another. Need help? Mellie can facilitate ERGs and provide caregiver employees with access to experts in the field.
Maintain flexibility regarding work schedules and location to help employees balance their work and caregiving responsibilities.
Offer benefits, such as those provided by Mellie, that support working caregivers beyond family leave.
Mellie is a comprehensive solution that helps employee caregivers navigate the elder care landscape through the use of live elder care experts and an accompanying mobile app. Whether an employee has just started to have concerns about their relative and wanting to create a plan or is already in an active caregiving role, Mellie’s customized offerings can save them time and improve the quality of care that their loved one is receiving. Mellie also provides education to employers and employees on eldercare topics, with a focus on prevention and planning.
Contact Mellie to learn more about our solutions and how we can assist you in supporting your employees.