|7 Actions working family caregivers can take.|
- 60% of family caregivers work full- or part-time.
- 35% of caregivers are between 18 and 49. It’s not just older workers who are providing unpaid care for family and friends.
- 16% of all adults provided some level of unpaid care for an elderly relative this year. 14% of Americans in their 40s and 50s are juggling their careers along with caring for a parent.
Here are the 7 actions:
Nearly all employers take co-pays into consideration when choosing health insurance policies to offer their employees. Fewer consider whether or not insurance coverage provides adult day care and respite care. Some policies allow employees to add an adult family member to the policy and provide geriatric care management support. Caregivers can benefit from access to counseling and therapy to deal with stress and grief. Take a look at your current health insurance coverage options to see what’s there to support caregivers – and consider adding to it.
Additional paid time off
Five sick days is fine for a healthy worker, but those days quickly vanish for caregivers. Removing the distinction between vacation and sick days to provide a general block of paid time off (PTO) provides additional flexibility. Providing additional paid time off will allow caregivers to take care of their own health.
Giving your workers a flexible schedule is the biggest – and easiest – thing you can do to help working caregivers. Allowing your workers to adjust their hours, compress their work schedule, or work part-time temporary could very well save a staff member from being forced to quit. Allowing someone an exemption to mandatory overtime or providing them enough advance notice so they can make arrangements is also a huge help. These are steps that have been shown to improve employee satisfaction for all workers, not just family caregivers.
Being away from home can be stressful for caregivers, especially for those with a significant commute. Working from home allows caregivers to provide assistance throughout the day while still being productive employees. Allowing caregivers to work from home allows them the peace of mind of knowing they’re there to handle anything that may come up.
Many caregivers are afraid that taking unpaid time off will jeopardize their jobs. In the US, companies with 50 or more employees are bound by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but some employees fear that taking leave will stall their career or even put their future in jeopardy.
Access to experts
Access to experts through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be a huge perk. Some workplaces offer seminars and assistance filling out paperwork for FMLA, retirement planning, long-term care, living wills, estate planning, and other legal services. Others even provide courses on coping with the stress of informal caregiving and the resources available.
Regardless of our titles, we’re all people. Compassion can go a long way toward fostering mutual respect. Company-wide training for supervisors can help them understand and prevent potential conflicts. Work with your employees and HR to find ways that caregivers can take personal calls, attend doctor’s appointments, and manage stress while keeping up with work. Removing the stigma from working from home, setting a flexible schedule, and utilizing company-sponsored counseling will make for a happier, more productive workforce.
Other resources like The CareGiver Partnership can conveniently ship home health care supplies directly to the home of a loved one Learn more.
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