The Pulse

What's On U.S. Workers’ Wish Lists for 2019? Help With Caregiving, Finances

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

December 13, 2018 — CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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 TopStressors
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.

Worker Stress
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

Workers are worried about their finances, their caregiving responsibilities, and their employee benefits...

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.
About Unum
Unum Group ( is a leading provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom. Its primary businesses are Unum US, Colonial Life, and Unum UK. Unum’s portfolio includes disability, life, accident and critical illness, dental and vision coverage, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury. Unum also provides stop-loss coverage to help self-insured employers protect against unanticipated medical costs. The company reported revenues of $11.3 billion in 2017 and provided nearly $7 billion in benefits.
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