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Forty-three million Americans are currently acting as an unpaid caregiver for a family member, according to a report by the U.S.-based business research organization LIMRA.

It also suggested half of these unpaid caregivers work full time outside the home, with the demands of taking care of a loved one impacting their career.

Indeed, it found four in 10 respondents had to take an unpaid leave of absence or decrease the number of hours they worked because of the demands of caring for a family member. Three in 10 said they’ve turned down a promotion and a quarter said they’ve lost benefits, such as medical, retirement and insurance plans because they had to cut back their hours due to their caregiving responsibilities. 

Read: Elder care costs Canadians $27B annually in lost income, vacation

In addition, the research found a significant percentage ultimately had to stop working: 22 per cent voluntarily quit, while 18 per cent had their employment terminated and 13 per cent retired early.

Looking at U.S. employers, the research also found 26 per cent of companies in the private sector offer paid family leave and another 38 per cent plan to introduce the benefit in the next 18 months. When asked what benefits they’re planning to add, paid family leave was the No. 1 answer.

However, LIMRA noted most private-sector paid leave programs are designed for parental and maternity leave, not for family leave, which wouldn’t help this growing number of multi-generational family caregivers in the workforce.

Read: How does Hawaii’s caregiver program compare to Canada’s EI benefit?

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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