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The Dual Pressures of Family Caregiving and Employment

Six in 10 Family Caregivers Are in the Labor Force

Summary of Publication

Workers with caregiving responsibilities for an adult relative with a serious illness or disability make up an increasing proportion of the labor force.  This Spotlight uses data from the Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 survey to shine a light on the dual responsibilities of employment and family caregiving.  The paper finds that most (60 percent) family caregivers work at a paying job, and are more likely to be male (66 percent) than female (55 percent).  The rate of employment while caregiving is especially high for millennials ages 18 to 34: nearly three in four (73 percent) millennial caregivers report holding a paying job while providing care for an ill or aging family member.

The data show that stress occurs when juggling caregiving and work, with more than one-third (37 percent) of employed caregivers saying their caregiving situation is highly stressful.  Family caregiving responsibilities can also interfere with paid employment.  Nearly one in six (17 percent) caregivers left their jobs because they could not afford to hire paid help for their family member or friend.

Arranging flexible work options, promoting family leave and paid sick days, and prohibiting discrimination against workers with family caregiving responsibilities for an ill or aging relative are important policies and practices for working caregivers, many of whom are in their prime working years.

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