November is National Family Caregivers Month as family or unpaid caregiving is a widespread and growing phenomenon. As people get older, the need for care also goes up, often provided by family members and friends. An estimated 40 million people provides unpaid care in some form or fashion in 2014. Unpaid care added an estimated $470 billion in economic value in 2013. This unpaid care also worsens an already large gender wealth gap as women are more likely to be caregivers and as caregivers tend to save less due to greater labor market risks.
Most caregivers encounter additional and often unexpected demands on their time. Surveys show that a large share of caregivers experience adverse employment outcomes as a result of these unexpected challenges such as not being promoted, ending up with unattractive assignments and even being reprimanded or laid off. Caregivers may have to work fewer hours, end up on a slower career track and have less stable jobs as a result.This article was originally published in Forbes.