We are often forced to choose between one and the other: “Do I go to my 3 o’clock meeting or take my mother to the doctor?” Managing both these tasks can often increase stress while decreasing your capabilities on one or both of these.
According to a national study conducted by MetLife and AARP, employees caring for family members aged 50 or older are widespread and increasing. Nearly 25 percent of all households have at least one adult who has provided care for an elderly person in the last 12 months. In addition to their caregiving responsibilities, about 64 percent of these family caregivers are employed, creating a ‘juggling’ act between work and caregiving.
Unfortunately, most family caregivers often underestimate the time required for caregiving and the impact of their obligation on their work. Listed below are some of the effects caregiving can have on employee relations in the workplace, along with suggested solutions:
PROBLEMS EMPLOYED FAMILY CAREGIVERS FACE:
• Career Stands Still
Responsibilities at home can mean missing out on promotions and training at work, opportunities for job transfers or relocation’s, and acquiring and keeping up with necessary job skills.
• Loss in Wages
Income can drastically be cut as a result of caregiving obligations. In the national MetLife and AARP study, nearly two-thirds of respondents said that caregiving had a direct impact on their earnings. As a result of caregiving, the average loss in aggregate lost wages, Social Security and lost pension benefits reported was $659,139 over a lifetime.
• Reductions in Savings and Spending
Caregiving for a loved one can cause significant limitations to personal savings and spending, home improvements, vacations, and/or investments.
• Toll on Health
Caregiving responsibilities can often take a toll on the health of a family caregiver leading to increases in absenteeism in the workplace, early retirement, and job turnover. This can lead to a loss in employee productivity and overall workplace morale.
• Economic Loss for Employers
Employers also lose money due to employees’ caregiving responsibilities. A previous MetLife study estimated that absenteeism, partial absenteeism, workday interruptions, eldercare crises, and costs associated with supervising employed caregivers conservatively averages $11.4 billion per year.
Because of the growing demographics of Baby Boomers who are still working, corporations and companies alike are trying to be proactive in their endeavor to help employee caregivers in the workplace. Being proactive instead of reactive is crucial.
SOLUTIONS FOR WORKING CAREGIVERS:
Taking action immediately starts to increase productivity, lessen direct and indirect financial costs, and enhance
employer/employee work/life relationship – which directly impacts on employee morale, satisfaction and retention.
- Create an open and supportive environment for employee communication
- Offer “Flex Schedule” when possible: Studies indicate that flex scheduling improved job performance, decreased lateness and employee turnover, and increased job satisfaction
- Companies with 50 or more employees must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a seriously ill parent, spouse or child, while protecting job security. Smaller firms can use the FMLA guidelines to provide support for individual employees
To assess your “Caregivers in the Workplace” Issues go to the ELDER CARE CALCULATOR at