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Compassionate hands The “sandwich generation” makes up much of the workforce, and helps to explain why more people have taken time off to care for an ailing family member. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Parental leave has prompted national conversations over the last several years and gotten the attention of big-name companies. However, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, among adults who were employed in the past two years, more time was taken off work to care for a sick family member (11 percent) than following the birth or adoption of a child (7 percent).

The “sandwich generation” — those people caring for both children and aging parents — makes up much of the workforce, and helps to explain why more people have taken time off to care for an ailing family member. This generation is facing the difficulty of being financially responsible for their families while also providing care to a spouse who has become ill, caring for a loved one with a severe cognitive impairment or caring for a child or aging parent with a serious health condition.

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