Balancing Work and Caregiving: A Guide for Employers

work life word signProviding care for older family members has become a way of life for millions of Americans. In fact, nearly one in ten American workers is a caregiver. .Seventy percent of employers feel that caregiving-related staffing problems have increased over the past ten years, and 92% believe these problems will increase over the next ten years.

Caregiving Costs Businesses

U.S. businesses are highly impacted by caregiving. A study funded by MetLife estimated that each year, businesses suffer a $33 billion loss in productivity due to caregiving.

Employees who are Caregivers:

  • Account for nearly 75% of early departures and late arrivals at the workplace.
  • Caregivers often make long telephone calls while at work to handle caregiving issues.
  • Working caregivers have more stress-related illnesses.
  • They use the company’s health care plan more and add additional cost for the employer.

What Can Employers Do?

Providing in-house support for caregivers may help keep employees on the job longer. This will help reduce the stresses on the employee, his or her co-workers, and you, the employer.

•Know your responsibilities as an employer.

•Offer solutions such as flexible work hours, telecommuting, or job-sharing. This way, you may actually avoid the need for MLA.

Develop an In-House Support Program for Caregivers

Human resource departments routinely deal with personal issues of employees. They handle such concerns as drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, absenteeism, and financial concerns. Yet most do not provide specific support for caregivers of elderly or disabled family members. Employees may come to you with other problems, but after a closer look, the human resource specialist may learn that the problems are related to caregiving. Is your human resource department ready to help employees with caregiving concerns?

The following six steps provide a very simple outline of a program to support family caregivers:

•Assess employee needs for caregiving support.

•Identify a key HR staffer to focus on the issue as part of their duties.

•Develop a caregiving support campaign.

•Provide follow-up.

•Assess results of program.

Let your employees know that you are aware of the realities of caregiving and have services available to support them. Avoid one-shot informational programs. Ask HR staffers to conduct routine follow-up evaluations throughout the caregiving period and beyond.

Support for Employers

AGINGINFOUSA can support your HR through the confidential employee survey to evaluate employee caregiving issues and utilize experts to create custom programs, training and education for both the employees and the management team.

Visit AgingInfoUSA.com  to utilize the ElderCare Calculator and see the effect that caregiving is having on your company.

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About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked in the geriatric healthcare field for over 25 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes" (http://www.AlongComesGrandpa.com). As a Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and enthusiasm to assist corporations in finding solutions to work/life balance challenges and pro-actively educate and empower their employees.
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