The hidden costs of unpaid care have significant implications for women’s productivity and financial well-being, according to research conducted by HESTA over 2022 and 2023.  

Individuals – more likely women – spend an average of 28 hours providing unpaid care each week.  

Some 66 per cent of survey respondents under 50 who are not in full-time employment said they would increase their paid work hours if they did not have unpaid caring duties, thereby boosting their income and superannuation, according to the research. 

Juggling the demands of unpaid care affected the mental health of ninety-two per cent of respondents, with 50 per cent stating the impact as quite significant. 

A little over half of HESTA members (51 per cent) bear the sole burden of caring duties, including the personal and financial consequences. 

Additionally, 88 per cent of HESTA members reported unpaid care impacted their family involvement, and 83 per cent said it restricted their ability to engage within society. 

Notably, 69 per cent of respondents said their workplace accommodated their caring needs moderately, very well, or extremely well. 

HESTA’s research is highlighted in a report released yesterday by McKell Institute. It emphasises the importance of quantifying and valuing unpaid work.