The Cost of Inertia: The Hidden Consequences of Failing to Support Your Caregiving Employees

Do you really need to add another benefit for your employees? Human resources staff are understandably overwhelmed, being on the front lines of helping employees and their companies persevere through the pandemic, adding a whole new layer to work responsibilities.  So why is it critical to be thinking about another benefit for employees right now?

Because your caregiving employees are struggling and it’s having an impact on your business. Unfortunately, these challenges are likely happening ‘under the radar’ and it is easy to believe that employees are OK. Yet, a recent study by Willis Towers Watson shows that two-thirds of employers identified caregiving demands as the top cause of mental health concerns among their employees. Caregivers, anyone who is at least partially responsible for the health, safety, or wellbeing of a loved one, can cost their employers $3,200 – $8,000 each per year in absenteeism, health care costs, and lost productivity. Statistically 30% of your employees are caregivers, so think about the multiplier effect of this cost to the business every year.

Cost to employers among their caregiver population

Employee healthcare costs

Caregiving stress is taking its toll on caregivers’ mental and physical wellbeing. In the U.S., employers spend an extra $13.4 billion on health care because caregivers have less time to devote to their own mental and physical health needs, their relationships, or their careers.


Caregiving employees must make a choice daily when dealing with a crisis, or when a planned respite or care falls through—go to work or take care of my loved one. Extra leave and the use of paid time off are ways that many employers provide support at this tough time. Yet, even with that generous flexibility, caregiving can drain an employee’s productivity when they are in the office. Almost half of caregiving employees arrive to their place of work late, leave early, or take time off, and 15% take a leave of absence. In the aggregate, absenteeism costs the U.S. economy an estimated $25.2 billion in lost productivity.


Six percent of workers give up their jobs because of the burdens of caregiving. SHRM research indicate that replacement costs can be as high as 50%-60%, with overall costs ranging anywhere from 90%-200%. Businesses in the U.S. are losing $1 trillion a year in voluntary turnover. And losing a valued employee is more than just replacement costs—it can be disruptive to the workplace.     A caregiving platform can help limit absenteeism and turnover by providing faster access to resources and to preventative care that can help avert crises.


Employee productivity is a challenge that hides in plain sight, as employees don’t tend to know fully how their caregiving responsibilities impact their productivity or be open about it if they did. Caregiving has been shown to reduce employee work productivity by 18.5%. One study showed a loss of productivity for several caregiver scenarios:

  • $5,243 annual lost productivity per caregiver of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease patient
  • 36% loss of productivity while working, of employed family caregivers of people with dementia
  • $835, monthly lost productivity of caregivers of stroke patients, 72% attributable to presenteeism

Comprehensive caregiver platforms, like Torchlight, are designed to overcome this unique and dire need among your employees, combining a robust digital resource in addition to one-to-one human support. Even though your employees may be struggling in private, their caregiving responsibilities impact their work, and need to be actively addressed.  Investment in a caregiving platform pays dividends in terms of employee retention, increased productivity, and reduced healthcare costs.

Caregivers need to be supported – whether it’s a crisis or just the day-to-day demands of this unpaid job. Supporting them pays dividends for companies. Having a caregiver-specific platform like Torchlight can help reverse the trend. It’s a relatively small investment that can have a significant impact. So, when you ask yourself ‘Does my company need another benefit?’ The short answer is, yes. Just add the one with a big payoff.

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