support for caregiving employees

Caring for the Caregiver

03/12/2024 Written by: AP Employee Benefits

For many across the United States, the roles of employee and caregiver often intersect. In the United States alone, 100 million adults are caring for either a child, parent or other relative according to Guardian’s 12th Annual Workplace Benefits Study. For many, there is not the option to be one or the other, as many households are dependent on two steady incomes. While taking time away from the workplace may be the most beneficial to the caregiver and those being cared for, the financial burden of not having a stream of income may be too heavy for many to withstand.

According to a recent study from Harvard, 73% of employees have some type of caregiving responsibility, making it the fastest-growing employee demographic today. This can play a large role in the work-life balance for those caring for others, often adding to already heightened stress and oftentimes underappreciated responsibilities. For many, this can even lead to loss of their position, decreased productivity, and increased absenteeism.

The Choice Between Personal or Paid Care

The challenge of providing care to loved ones oftentimes comes down to financial constraints for many caregivers. While it may seem that the easy solution would be to hire professional care, the substantial financial cost is one that many are not able to account for, putting them in a vulnerable financial position. Women are twice as likely as men to leave the workforce to take on caregiving roles, according to a recent report. This lost time in the workforce has real financial implications, with the median lost wages for women caregiving for their aging mothers is reported to sit at $24,500 over two years.

With our aging population, the increased demand for caregiving has also left a wide hole in the job market with over 1.8 million positions in the field currently open, as the number of providers has not kept up with the current demand, which is only expected to grow. This can be seen as a result of these positions being underpaid and overworked, resulting in high turnover rates and understaffed agencies.

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Caregiving or Career

For many caregivers, balancing a full-time job and full-time caregiving can be a daunting task, potentially yielding negative workplace repercussions. Even though these roles often become unmanageable, employees oftentimes avoid having these difficult conversations with their employer out of fear of job security. Research has shown there is a significant connection between career setbacks for those who also take on the caregiver role, with one in five caregivers taking a leave of absence or a demotion to accommodate their caregiving duties.

Supporting Your Caregiving Employees

Employers are beginning to realize the valuable role they play in both the personal and professional success of their caregiving employees. As your organization looks to support your caregiving employees, here are some important things to consider:

  • Start a dialogue. Being part of the conversation and being proactive in your messaging will signal to employees that you understand their dual role and are there to support them. Promoting a psychologically safe workplace culture will encourage your employees to come to management in time of need and seek support.
  • Provide flexible work arrangements when needed. Allowing employees the opportunity to leverage flexible scheduling when needed can alleviate some of the stress that they face when facing the difficult decision to prioritize careers or caregiving.
  • Provide supportive resources. Educational resources or caregiver point solutions (such as concierge services) can provide significant support to those navigating caring for others. Employers can also implement a caregiver Employee Resource Groups (ERG) to allow employees to network and support one another as they tackle the same caregiving challenges.
  • Check in with your employees. Regularly checking in with your employees provides the opportunity for them to be honest about their situations and for the employer to provide resources and develop a strategy with the employees to support their personal and professional success. Periodic employee pulse surveys are a great way to check on employees and track responses throughout the year.

Contact Your AssuredPartners Team for Support

Your AssuredPartners team is armed with resources and solutions that can help your organization better support your caregiving employees. Reach out to the AssuredPartners team today to start the conversation.

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