NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Men Are Balancing Jobs and Parent Care

June 24, 2003

A new study by MetLife shows that more men are stepping in to care for elderly parents and other relatives while balancing the demands of full-time careers. Men, however, are much less likely than women to tell their bosses or co-workers about their role as family caregiver. Among the findings of the study:

  • An estimated 15 percent of the workforce is actively involved in providing care for an older family member or friend, and perhaps one out of three caregivers is male.
  • Two-thirds of men and women who provide care say their careers have suffered as a result.
  • Only 44 percent of the men surveyed had discussed their family situations with a boss, compared with 56 percent of women.
  • Caring for elderly family members costs companies roughly $11.4 billion a year in lost productivity from absenteeism, turnover and work interruptions.

The findings underscore a need for greater workplace support for employees who care for the elderly, say researchers. However:

  • More companies are helping employees by offering subsidies, in-home care assessments, and in some cases, on-site geriatric care managers.
  • In 2002, 21 percent of companies offered resource and referral services related to caring for elders, up from 15 percent in 1998.

"I call them [men] the hidden caregivers," said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. "This isn't just a woman's issue; it's really a societal issue."

Source: Maggie Jackson, "More Sons Are Juggling Jobs and Care for Parents," New York Times, June 15, 2003; "The Metlife Study of Sons at Work Balancing Employment and Elder Care," June 2003, MetLife Mature Market Institute.


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