On U.S. workers’ wish lists for 2019: Help with caregiving, finances

Series of 2018 polls measured workforce sentiment on finances, caregiving, benefits

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Dec. 13, 2018) — Workers are worried about their finances, their caregiving responsibilities, and their employee benefits — and these feelings are often strongest among women and younger workers. Those are some of the findings in multiple polls of U.S. adults in 2018 by employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE: UNM).

Finances, family, and health top stressors. In a January poll of 1,232 U.S. adults, the top causes of stress among all age groups (18-65+) included finances (49 percent), home life and family relationships (43 percent), personal health (35 percent), job responsibilities (33 percent), and the health of family members (33 percent). Working women of all ages reported more frequent stress than working men: 54 percent of women feel stress daily to weekly compared to 47 percent of men.

Financially fragile. In the same poll, Unum found that nearly half (49 percent) of working adults have less than $1,000 in savings. If they were unable to earn an income, 63 percent of those polled could pay bills for only three months or less before needing additional financial support.

Caregiving responsibilities can also contribute to worker stress, according to “Adult Caregiving: Generational considerations for America’s workforce,” a report released by Unum in June that explored the prevalence of adult caregiving among America’s workforce. This report and other consumer research revealed workers are most interested in benefits that align with their family caregiving needs and support flexibility.

Caregiving impacts work performance and mindset. Caregiving responsibilities result in missed work or tardiness (52 percent) and lower productivity on the job (22 percent). Caring for an adult family member also leads to stress, anxiety and/or depression (61 percent), exhaustion (49 percent) and financial strain (44 percent). [1]

Paid family leave ranks as the most coveted work perk. Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents wanted this benefit from their employer. Paid family leave outranks other popular perks such as flexible and remote working options (55 percent), sabbatical leave (38 percent), student loan repayment assistance (35 percent), pet-friendly offices (15 percent), and pet insurance (15 percent). [2] 

A July survey of 1,227 U.S. adults showed although employees are highly interested in their benefits, they don’t spend much time learning about the choices and resources available to them. Unum found that nearly half (49 percent) of respondents spend 30 minutes or less reviewing their benefit options before enrolling. 

Survey results referenced here, along with other consumer research and industry information, can be found on Unum’s newsroom.

[1] Unum poll of 657 U.S. adults, self-identified as caregivers, March 2018.

[2] Unum poll of 1,227 U.S. adults, July 2018.

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About Unum Group

Unum Group (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for 175 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2022, Unum reported revenues of about $12 billion and paid $8 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®. 

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