How Many Hours Can a Caregiver Work in a Day?

Caring for someone in need is more than a job; it’s an act of love and dedication. However, passion alone doesn’t pay the bills or help caregivers balance their work and life responsibilities. If you’re thinking about becoming a caregiver, or you’re already one, it’s essential to know how many hours you can work in a day or a week. This information ensures you provide the best care possible while taking care of yourself.

Meet Emily, a full-time caregiver to an older woman named Mrs. Anderson. Emily’s experience will shed light on what a typical workday and week look like for caregivers and some of the rules and regulations that govern their work schedules.

Understanding Work Hours in Caregiving

In general, caregivers in the United States work an average of 30 to 40 hours a week, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, these numbers can vary widely depending on the care provided, whether an agency employs the caregiver or if they’re self-employed.


  • The average workweek for caregivers is between 30 and 40 hours (BLS).
  • Nearly 25% of caregivers feel “overworked” (National Alliance for Caregiving).
  • 1 in 4 caregivers has been in the profession for over ten years (BLS).

How Many Hours Can a Caregiver Work in a Day?

Most caregivers work 8 to 12-hour shifts, but some situations may require longer hours, especially for in-home care. Federal labor laws generally do not limit the hours an adult can work in one day, but individual states might have specific rules. 

Emily typically works 10-hour days to ensure Mrs. Anderson receives proper care, including meal preparation, medication management, and physical exercise. 

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How Many Hours Can a Caregiver Work in a Week?

Legally, there’s no cap on how many hours caregivers can work a week, but overwork and stress are real concerns. When Emily began caring for Mrs. Anderson, she clocked in around 50 hours a week. As time passed, they settled into a rhythm, and her workweek stabilized at about 40 hours. 

Is It Legal to Work 24-Hour Shifts As a Caregiver?

Working 24-hour shifts is generally frowned upon because it can compromise the quality of care. Yet, there are situations where round-the-clock care is required. In these cases, multiple caregivers are usually employed to ensure everyone gets adequate rest.

Are Caregivers Required to Work Night Shifts?

No law mandates night shifts for caregivers, but flexibility is usually a valuable trait in this profession. For example, Emily sometimes works night shifts. She finds that it allows her to balance her responsibilities better. 

Are Caregivers Required to Work Weekends or Holidays?

In most cases, caregiving is a 24/7 job, which means weekends and holidays are often part of the schedule. Emily, for example, worked last Christmas because Mrs. Anderson needed her. Employers may offer extra pay during these times, but it’s not a legal requirement.

Is Overtime Common in the Caregiving Field?

Overtime is not uncommon in caregiving. According to federal law, non-exempt employees must be paid 1.5 times their regular rate for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. For Emily, overtime became a part of her routine when Mrs. Anderson’s health started to decline.


Being a caregiver is rewarding but also demanding. Knowing how many hours you can work a day or week and what the law allows is crucial for providing the best care possible while maintaining your well-being. Emily’s experience teaches us that while the hours can be long and unpredictable, the fulfillment of making a real difference in someone’s life is priceless.



  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Outlook Handbook, Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  2. National Alliance for Caregiving, “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020,” National Alliance for Caregiving.

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