Research tells us that more than two thirds of caregivers work full or part-time and represent 15 percent of the the entire U.S. workforce. And that’s just today — with an aging population these numbers are expected to grow over the next several decades, creating more strain on companies not adept to meeting the needs of employees who care for an aging parent, spouse or other loved one.
A Huffington Post article by Caregiver Club CEO Sherri Snelling examines this situation in-depth, concluding that the culture at many companies needs to change from the C-Suite down to open up and willingly help employees meet the demands of family life rather than punishing employees by forcing them to live in fear of losing their jobs.
Here are some key takeaways from Snelling’s article:
- Caregiving doesn’t discriminate — Everyone will be affected by it in some capacity during their life. That’s why it’s important for employers to not discriminate against caregiving employees.
- Train HR to accommodate caregivers — While a leave of absence or working from home for a period of time is routine in a situation like child birth, it’s usually not an option for someone in a long-term caregiving situation. Snelling argues it should be.
- C-Suite should be champions (not challengers) of caregiving — Snelling points out that many C-level executives are completely unaware of the struggles many of their employees face when juggling work and caregiving. A good starting point is education. For example, theÂ Alzheimer’s Early Detection AllianceÂ campaign has signed up more than 1,600 companies to receive information and educational materials for employees about the prevalence and impact of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Many employees are reluctant to tell their supervisor about their caregivng duties — Caregiving.org found thatÂ 50 percent of working caregiversÂ areÂ reluctant to tell their supervisor about any caregiving responsibilities. This happens because many companies don’t allow time off for caregiving, forcing employees to choose between elder care and keeping a job. On the other side, because employees don’t want to reveal themselves as caregivers, their employers are a lot less likely to try and understand why some time away from the office might be necessary.
Is your company culture adapting fast enough to the demands of its caregiving employees? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
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