I’m in Florida dealing with elder care issues this week. If you are looking for something to add to your employee offerings, talking to people about the realities of elder care in today’s society and offering some benefits seems like a ripe opportunity.
According to a report by AARP entitled Understanding the Impact of Family Caregiving on Work, the “average” U.S. caregiver is a 49- year-old woman who works outside the home and spends nearly 20 hours per week—the equivalent of another part time job—providing unpaid care to her mother for nearly five years.
Family caregivers are as likely to be employed as non-caregivers. The majority (74 percent) of adults with eldercare responsibilities have worked at a paying job at some point during their caregiving experience.
An estimated 61 percent of family caregivers of adults age 50 and older are currently employed either full-time (50 percent) or part-time (11 percent).
According to Workforce, some six million Canadians – or about 35 percent of the country’s workforce – are balancing their careers with caregiving duties, according to a 2015 report from the federal government. Many are struggling to do both: Forty three percent of employees arrived to work late or had to leave early, 15 percent slashed their weekly hours and 10 per cent passed up a promotion or new job, according to the latest data available from Statistics Canada.
In October 2018, Starbucks launched new caregiver benefits for all of its 180,000 U.S. employees. Each worker is now eligible for 10 subsidized backup care days every year when arrangements with child or adult care providers fall through. The benefits package includes:
Employees can access these benefits, along with professional caregiver background-check tools and the ability to make payments to caregivers, using Care.com’s Care@Work app.
From my own personal perspective, it’s tough dealing with these issues for several reasons. Anything can happen at any time. My mother went missing for several hours this week while I was driving from Atlanta to Bradenton FL to help my parents through some trying times. We found her which was a great relief. Today she is in the hospital after being taken there by ambulance. None of this was planned, including my trip down here. There is no instruction manual. There is not a lot of help readily available. Eventually, we will need to relocate my parents, which is not something they want. Employers who can figure out ways to assist their employees deal with the difficult issues I’m facing this week would earn tremendous gratitude and engagement from those employees for years to come.