July 25th, 2019

40 Million Young People are (Unpaid) Caregivers

(BISMARCK, ND) –  The senior citizen population is set to double over the next generation. The issues of caregiving and paid family leave are only going to become more pervasive. Since taking time off work to care for family members typically isn’t feasible, many young people hold a full-time job, and take care of aging family members. The results are costly, and not just financially.

Data from AARP shows on average, young people dedicate around 21 hours each week to caregiving duties, and almost three-quarters of them do it while working a full-time job. However, young people tend to keep this under wraps, under 20% of them discuss caregiving duties with their coworkers. Fewer than half of them mention these duties to their supervisor, claiming their career prospects have been undesirably affected.

Shockingly, the average respondent reported spending $6,800 per year of their own income on caregiving expenses such as food, and home modifications. This profound financial impact just puts more pressure on these caregivers. Young people, sadly are not holding hope for the future. Additional studies show just 16% of younger adults are very confident that they’ll have the financial resources to deal with their own care needs as they age.

Given the intersection of employment and caregiving, employers must take action, which is what HB 1509
intended to do. With this legislation, both the employee and employer would have contributed to a paid family leave fund, that could be used so one would not have to work over 60 hours a week, balancing career and personal stress. Unfortunately, this bill failed in the House.

“Too many young people are facing severe economic hardships just to care for their family,” said Alison Jones, Communications Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. “They are falling through the cracks of our insufficient policies. The legislature had a chance to fix this for North Dakotans, but they simply chose not to.”