Benefits for Employees that are also Caregivers
It’s estimated over 65 million people, nearly 30% of the U.S. population, cares for a family member. On average, they devote 20 hours per week to caregiving. This can be a problem for employers – or a new way to attract and retain talent.
“Caregiving Benefits”– such as time off for caregiving, flexible or remote work hours, on-site childcare and eldercare consultants – are becoming crucial for workers to have the ability to stay in the workforce. Statistics from a collaboration between the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP show that the majority of employed caregivers have had to make adjustments to their work, including potentially leaving their jobs. The situation will continue to grow, since people in their 80s or older will make up 37% of Americans by 2050.
According to 2013 Pew Research report, 47% of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent over 65 and at least one child under 18 or an adult child still receiving financial assistance from mom and dad. That puts real strain on the “Sandwich Generation”. Luckily, employers are becoming aware of the situation and are starting to provide benefits to workers in order to attract or retain them. The following list (found in this article has some great examples:
Paid time off for caregiving. Half of the companies interviewed have expanded their PTO (paid time off) programs in recent years with at least two (Caring.com and Home Instead®, Inc.,) going so far as to implement unlimited PTO. Deloitte made national headlines in 2016 by allowing employees to take up to 16 weeks of PTO annually for caregiving, including care for aging family members.
Workshops and webinars. At Pfizer, Inc., free webinars provide information and recommendations for caregivers facing different caregiving situations. Emory University offers about a dozen in-person workshops and webinars each year with experts on common caregiving issues such as legal issues, family conversations and managing the care of a loved one living with dementia.
Legal and/or financial advice. Employees at Bank of America take advantage of up to four free legal consultations annually on topics such as preparation of wills, healthcare directives and proxies, and financial power of attorney agreements.
Care consultations. One of the hallmarks of the University of Arizona’s eldercare assistance program is free consultations available to faculty and students that include a gerontologist who develops a caregiving plan for employees.
Emergency back-up care. At CBS, employees benefit from up to 15 days of emergency backup care services with most of the services subsidized by CBS with the exception of a small co-pay asked by the employee. At Home Instead, Inc., employees are eligible for reduced hourly rates when they engage Home Instead professional CAREGiversSM for their loved ones.
As the “Silver Tsunami” approaches, employers will have to react- and the workplace as a whole may change quite a bit.
“My employer’s program to support caregivers was a lifeline,” said Matthew Skahill, 51, an associate director for Astellas, a pharmaceutical company. “To know my employer not only understood what I was going through but provided services to help me through this time in life makes a huge difference in being able to manage it all. I feel like they are sincere in wanting to make a difference in my life.”