In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, I wanted to highlight a key area of support that is critical for family caregivers, yet many suffer in silence.
This AARP blog post is directed at employers and discusses how supporting their employees who are also family caregivers is not charity, but a smart business practice.
Not only is it a smart business practice, but it’s going to be essential over the coming years. As our population ages, more and more people will become family caregivers. 7 in 10 workers currently have some caregiving duties, according to AARP. One in four is a millennial and a growing number are even younger. Family caregiving is not an “older worker” issue but an issue that any employee can face.
One of the few bright spots in the pandemic was that in certain sectors of the workforce, strides were made in workplace and scheduling flexibility. Employees who are also family caregivers appreciated the difference that flexibility made in their quality of life. Now employers are using their fears of an economic downturn to try and force workers back into a rigid schedule and workplace locations. Some employees are rebelling, but many family caregivers have no choice because caregiving is expensive and not covered by insurance.
When family caregivers reach a breaking point, they end up leaving the workforce. That’s a loss for everyone. Employers who are concerned about having enough staffing can take steps to ensure that they are creating a support environment for family caregivers. It’s common sense that workers who have enough support to manage their family caregiving duties will also be more productive at work and more likely to remain with a company that offers such support. That makes it a win-win for all involved.
Here are some steps employers should consider to support family caregivers:
- Offer a flexibile schedule
- Offer remote work
- Offer caregiver support programs as part of the employee health care package
- Paid family leave
- Making sure hiring policies don’t discriminate against older workers or those with caregiving duties