New report re-examines workplace policies and caregiving – Herb Weiss

by Herb Weiss, contributing writer on aging issues

As a newly released AARP and S&P Global report notes, working while being a caregiver is complicated.  While the researchers say that since the previously issued report in 2020, US employers have stepped up to the plate to offer access to caregiving benefits.  However, much more must be done. 

Since the 2020 AARP and S&P Global’s last report, employers have become attuned to the needs of working parents over the past decade and especially during the pandemic, and are now moving from awareness to action in providing support for employees with adult caregiving responsibilities.

Taking a look at caregiver employees

The report’s authors say this study “explores the workplace experiences of caregivers and how they use employer provided benefits and policies to remain successful at work while providing care at home. It reveals not only the challenges of balancing work and caregiving, but also how the right workplace policies can ease the burdens.”

According to the new analysis conducted last December by AARP and S&P Global, the unpredictable nature of caregiving for an adult is one of the biggest stressors the caregiver employee faces.  Sixty seven percent of family caregivers have a very difficult time balancing work with their caregiver responsibilities.  

Half of the working caregiver respondents reported having to make work scheduling changes, (including going in early, leaving late, or just taking time off because of caregiving responsibilities), the findings indicated.

The findings indicate that workers are even reducing hours at work.  Twenty seven percent of working caregivers have shifted from full-time to part-time work or have even reduced hours, while 16% have turned down a promotion.

Meanwhile the findings indicated that 16% have stopped working entirely for a period of time — and 13% have changed employers — in order to meet their caregiving responsibilities.

With the nation’s number of adults ages 65-plus projected to surpass the population of children by 2030, the report warns that US employers must continue to offer policies and benefits that are friendly and supportive of adult caregivers to keep them in the workforce.

In order to get a handle on the needs of working caregivers and understand the importance of employer benefits for balancing work and family care obligations, in 2023 AARP and S&P Global surveyed 1,200 self-identified caregivers who worked full-time or part-time at large US companies (employing more than 1,000 employees) and who provide at least six hours of care each week to an adult.

It’s complicated – being a working caregiver 

There were other key highlights from the Working while caregiving: It’s complicated report.  

Eighty percent of the survey caregiver respondents believe that companies were more understanding of childcare issues – rather than adult caregiving responsibilities.  The researchers say that this is particularly the case among caregivers who have an under-18 child at home and they have recent experience of both caregiving situations. Those caregivers without children reported less satisfaction with company support than caregivers with children (69% versus 89%, respectively).

For those working remotely, the survey’s findings indicate that they were more likely to feel penalized or discriminated against at work because of caregiving responsibilities when compared to in-office or hybrid workers (49% versus a combined average of 29%). The researchers say that this might reflect employer challenges in assessing and engaging with remote employees’ work-life needs.

Finally, the study found that among working caregivers providing more than 21 hours of care a week, 37% say they are experiencing significantly increased difficulty due to inflation. And for those providing fewer than 10 hours of care, 25% say inflation has made providing care significantly more difficult.

According to AARP, previous AARP research shows that of the nearly 48 million family caregivers in the US, 61% are juggling both work and caregiving responsibilities, including assistance with daily living activities, medical or nursing tasks, coordinating services and supports, transportation, shopping, and serving as an advocate for their care recipient. Most family caregivers provide at least 20 hours of care each week, equal to an unpaid part-time job.

The new report’s findings found that access to a flexible work schedule at the time of caregiving increased from 32% in 2020 to 45% in 2023. Additionally, the availability of caregiving policies or benefits increased in every category except unpaid leave. 

“As the backbone of America’s long-term care system, providing $600 billion every year in unpaid labor, family caregivers need and deserve greater support from their own employers,” said Susan Reinhard, Senior Vice President and Director of AARP Public Policy Institute, in a May 16th statement announcing the release of the 21 page report’s findings.  “As our population ages, it’s critical that employers support family caregivers in the workforce with the policies, such as paid leave, that can ease their everyday burdens,” she said.

“Despite the progress observed since 2020, the latest data shows the majority of employees with adult caregiving responsibilities continue to face barriers at balancing work and caregiving obligations and need greater support from employers through enhanced benefits and policies to stay engaged in the workforce,” noted Alexandra Dimitrijevic, Co-chair of S&P Global Research Council. “Employers can help by paying forward-looking attention to employee needs and the demographics shift of the workforce in the coming years,” she added.

Best Practices to support working caregivers

The report’s authors say that employers can do more to support working caregivers and detail best practices that companies can take to support their employees. 

They call on companies to consider offering and support flexible schedules and flexible work locations either hybrid/remote. Employer-supported access to support groups, career coaching and financial advising resources could be offered.  Paid leave specifically for caregivers and/or flexible leave can be used to help with caregiving duties, they suggest.

Yes, information is power.  Companies could host free sessions to highlight how caregiving employees can optimize employer benefits and policies, as a way to address the lack of awareness in using benefits.  Senior leaders could be asked to share their stories as to how they have used the company’s caregiver-supportive benefits and policies, signaling to both people managers and their teams that they are encouraged to use them.

The report’s authors urge companies to train people managers on caregiver-inclusive managerial practices and ensure that they are aware of caregiver-supportive benefits and policies. They must make it clear that it is safe to use them all without incurring career risk.

Finally, companies can start or support an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for parents and caregivers or create a caregiving initiative across all ERGs. 

To view the full 2024 report:

To view the 2020 report:

For details on caregiving:

For further information:

Ilse Zuniga, [email protected], 202-344-9132

Madison Daniels, [email protected], 202-531-9026

Nadja Jiang, [email protected] +44 7974 044522


Herb Weiss

Herb Weiss, LRI -12, is a Pawtucket-based writer who has covered aging, health care and medical issues for over 43 years. To purchase his books, Taking Charge: Collected Stories on Aging Boldly and a sequel, compiling weekly published articles, go to

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