This Week's Herman Trend Alert

HR in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

November 7, 2007

Stresses Corporate America

Just as the childcare issue challenges employers, so now does the growing need for eldercare present companies and their workers with a new reality. Millions of people juggle the demands of aging parents with job responsibilities. This reality presents genuine opportunities for organizations smart enough to be proactive.

Sponsored by MetLife's Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving, the MetLife Caregiving Cost Study details the productivity and financial losses to United States businesses that result from caregiving responsibilities. The total estimated cost to employers for all full-time, employed caregivers is $33.6 billion. The average cost per employee with caregiving responsibilities is $2,110.

In another recent study conducted by MetLife, the data suggest that there are more than 25 million family caregivers in America. According to the National Caregiving Foundation of America, a recent study calculated that American businesses lose between $11-29 Billion each year, due to employees' need to care for loved ones 50 years of age and older. In addition, 56 percent of respondents to their survey said they were less productive at work and 51 percent said they had to take time off during the work day for eldercare. Moreover, 30 percent reported being absent at least one full day to deal with eldercare matters. Plus, the data from a survey conducted in 2004 indicate that six percent of employed caregivers had to give up work entirely.

Corporations are affected in many ways----by lost productivity, by replacement costs for employees who quit due to caregiving responsibilities, by costs due to absenteeism and partial absenteeism and costs due to workday disruptions as well as those additional costs associated with supervising employed caregivers.

There are numerous solutions including flex time, shortened work weeks, modified schedules (based on need), telecommuting, dependent life insurance, and even long-term care insurance covering parents/parents in laws. In the late nineties, we saw long-term care insurance becoming increasingly important. Our forecast is that it will again.

Caregiving will touch everyone's life, sooner than later. Enlightened employers will find ways to help. Expect to see hospitals offering onsite sick eldercare to their caregiving employees.

Special thanks to Dee Taylor, Eldercare Coach, who counsels employers and employees in how to cope.

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