There are nearly 40 million family caregivers in the U.S. and, according to the AARP, approximately 6 in 10 are employed. You probably work with the typical sandwich-generation caregiver — you might even be her — a woman in her late 40s who works a full- or part-time job while providing about 20 hours of care for a parent and simultaneously caring for her children and spouse.
It’s not surprising that many of these working caregivers are stressed — and that has an impact not only on their health and the health of the loved ones they care for but also on their productivity and career trajectory.
According to a report by the National Alliance of Caregivers and AARP Public Policy Institute, 61 percent of employee caregivers report having to make a workplace accommodation such as going in late, leaving early, taking a leave of absence, turning down a promotion, or retiring early because of their caregiving responsibilities.
Although the number of employee caregivers is expected to increase significantly over the next several years, not all employers understand the demands on working caregivers and the tangible, bottom-line benefits to supporting them.
Recent research shows a positive return on investment for policies that enable caregivers to balance their jobs with their caregiving responsibilities:
- For every dollar invested in flexible work arrangements, businesses can expect a return ranging from $1.70 to $4.34.
- Telecommuting delivers a return of between $2.46 and $4.45 for each dollar invested.
- More generous benefits were associated with a 10 percent lower inclination to change jobs and a 1.4 to 2.4 percent increase in productivity.
So how can employers support employees’ caregiving responsibilities?
The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, in collaboration with AARP and ReACT (Respect A Caregiver's Time), put together some helpful tips for employers. Here’s a look at seven ways to support working caregivers.
Solutions to Common Caregiving Challenges
Caregiving and the workplace will not only continue to be an issue for employers and employees but will grow in scope as people continue to live longer. For more tips you can share with your employees about how to handle common caregiving challenges, download our Solutions to Common Caregiving Challenges eBook.