EBRI Issue Brief

Shining a Spotlight on Caregivers in the Workplace: Findings From the 2023 Workplace Wellness Survey

Dec 7, 2023 24  pages


The 2023 Workplace Wellness Survey (WWS) included an oversample of caregiving workers to better understand their opinions about their employer and how they value their workplace-sponsored benefits, as well as the challenges they face balancing work, life, their finances, and their caregiving responsibilities.

Key findings include:

Demographic and Socioeconomic Differences: Caregivers are more likely to be of Hispanic, Spanish, or Latino descent compared with non-caregivers. They are also more likely to be slightly older, and they are less likely to be single than workers without caregiving responsibilities. Caregivers are more likely to work part time than non-caregivers — perhaps owing to their caregiving responsibilities — although the two groups have similar household incomes and asset levels.

Mental Health and Workplace Wellbeing Challenges in Common: Overall, caregivers are remarkably similar to non-caregivers in their self-rated estimations of their own mental health and workplace wellbeing. However, the two groups differ in two key areas. Caregivers are less likely than non-caregivers to rate their own personal health as excellent, and they are more likely to give a lower rating of their household’s financial wellbeing.

Both Caregivers and Non-Caregivers Agree About the Role of Employers: Caregivers and non-caregivers alike broadly agree that their employer has a responsibility to help employees with their mental, physical, and financial wellbeing, suggesting that employers have a built-in base of individuals who will buy into their wellbeing initiatives.

Caregiving Workers Are Not Particularly Burdened by Debt: Caregivers are only several percentage points more likely to respond that debt is a problem for their household, although this difference is not statistically significant. However, caregivers were actually less likely than non-caregivers to flag certain types of debt, such as student loan debt or payday loan debt, as problematic for their household.

Still, Caregivers — and Their Finances — Are Stressed: Caregivers are less likely to indicate that their financial wellbeing is good or excellent. Similarly, caregivers report being less prepared than non-caregivers to weather a $5,000 emergency expense, and they are particularly apt to flag prescription drugs and medical expenses as financial issues that cause them stress. Lastly, three-quarters of caregivers feel it is challenging to juggle their work and caregiving responsibilities.

Not All Caregivers Are Alike: Caregivers are not a monolithic employee population. For many measures in the 2023 Workplace Wellness Survey, we find differences among caregivers when disaggregating by household income. Lower-income caregivers are, for instance, less likely to have access to and participate in core employee benefits, less likely to be satisfied with their employee benefits package, and more likely to report lower self-rated physical, mental, and financial wellbeing.