Help for Employees Who Are Family Caregivers
Nearly 1 in 6 employees in the US are caregivers, and failure to support them can cost employers $3000 per working caregiver. These selfless individuals sometimes don’t self-identify as family caregivers, said Tricia Sandiego, AARP Sr. Advisor for CSN Programs, Caregiving & Health.
“They are spouses, partners, friends, neighbors, siblings, relatives, or anyone who provides care for a loved one. This care can range from offering a loved one transportation to go to appointments, providing them with supplies and food, managing their finances, and much more,” said Sandiego.
Higher health care costs, productivity losses, more absenteeism and presenteeism, and ultimately, lost workers—all may be consequences as employees struggle to balance the demands of work and caregiving. Most employers recognize the business impact of losing experienced talent and may devote time to figuring out the right mix of benefits to keep that talent in house.
“Employers can support working family caregivers by offering remote work as a way to reduce exposure to the virus. They can also provide paid leave and let workers know how to use it, so employees don’t feel obligated to work while ill,” said Sandiego. “Managers should aim to be as flexible as possible and encourage staff to use benefits, such as employee assistance programs or educational referral resources. Lastly, ask your employees, “what do you need right now?”
Sandiego said that one thing that is helping with the issue is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was passed earlier this year. It is due to expire on December 31, 2020.
“Family’s First Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA is an act that requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. It provides more employee rights that can be helpful to family caregivers during this time,” said Sandiego.
While juggling work and caregiving responsibilities may be challenging, there are free resources available.
“AARP.org/coronavirus has information, articles, and content for people who are working while caring for a loved one. AARP.org/employercaregiving has free tools and resources for employers. If you’re a working family caregiver, this is something you may want to pass along to your employer,” said Sandiego.
The main thing to remember, said Sandiego, is to be kind to yourself and do what you can during this stressful time.
FREE WORKSHOP FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES:
Request your free AARP Prepare to Care Workshop specifically designed for the working caregiver. Participants will learn about ways to create a caregiving plan and resources available. We also have information specifically designed for the employer and why this is important for your company, including ways to be supportive. *VIRTUAL*
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We’d love to help—and hear more about what you are already doing to support your employee caregivers.