Could eldercare be the next employee benefit?

by Nicola Middlemiss11 Feb 2015
As more and more employers offer attractive perks for employees with kids, one HRD said there’s still a way to set yourself above the rest – offer eldercare support said Andrew Smith.

“Going to work knowing you’ll be leaving your mum or dad to fend for themselves is a stressful process,” said Smith. “Many of us have elderly relatives who demand more of our time than they did 10 or 20 years ago,” said Smith and employers could benefit from providing a little support to their staff members.

A study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and Centre for Productive Aging found that eldercare issues have a serious impact on employee productivity and offering eldercare support is an ideal way to alleviate this.

The study found that:
  • 81% of caregivers routinely take time during the workday to make arrangements for care or check on their loved one.
  • 70% requested days off to attend to their caregiving duties.
  • 64% arrived late or left early.
  • 41% took time at work to discuss caregiver issues with co-workers.

Eldercare is an issue that’s affecting more and more employees and while support might sound novel now, that was once the case for childcare too, said Smith. “Just 20 years ago, the idea of childcare was an ideal, but certainly not commonplace. Now it is high on the list in any human resources policy.”

Financial advisor Nancy Anderson said her employer went out of the way to accommodate her needs when her mother was dying and in turn they have her loyalty.

“My employer not only allowed me to work a flexible time schedule so I could take her to her doctor’s appointments, but I could also telecommute from their home.  I moved into the upstairs bedroom and used my laptop, cell phone, and their wireless internet to work from there,” she said.

“When I needed time my employer provided flex-time and ultimately a short leave of absence. In turn I remained productive on the job, which of course is what the employer wanted, but what they also got from me was loyalty.”
 

COMMENTS

  • by Jane M Hamilton 14/02/2015 6:53:24 AM

    An idea whose time has come!

  • by Pat Lindstadt, Elder Care Specialist 16/02/2015 1:00:51 PM

    In my mind we live in a country that offers remarkable benefits to workers, especially to professionals. I think this woman's story offers a beginning for consideration of benefits for employees caring for an aging relative: flexibility in schedule and opportunity, where possible, of telecommuting, as direct elder care is so often dependent on time and attention and "being there", especially at end of life. I think these two benefits would be very helpful to ee's when elder care becomes a need. In terms of financial compensation for time off, we are talking about a "values" issue in our society. Will these days have to fit into regular "sick" days off, or vacation days, or will US co.'s actually fund days or hours for elder care. Time will tell and the burgeoning group of people affected by the needs of aging parents and relatives may affect our thinking. Maybe employees will be able to use sick days and "caring for the elder" days interchangeably.

  • by Pat Lindstadt, Elder Care Specialist 17/02/2015 11:11:36 AM

    In my mind we live in a country that offers remarkable benefits to worjers, especially to professional people. I think this woman's story offers a beginning of considerations of benefits for any employee caring for an aging relative: flexibility in schedule and opportunity, where possible, of telecommuting, as direct elder care is so often dependent on time and attention and "being there", especially at end of life. I think these two benefits to employees are very important where elder care becomes a need. In terms of financial compensation for time off to give this care, we are talking about a "values" issue in our society. Will these days have to fit into regular "sick" days off, or vacation days, of will US co.'s actually fund days or hours for elder care. Time will tell and the burgeoning group of people affected by the needs of aging parents and relatives may affect our thinking. Maybe employees will be able to use sick days and "caring for the elder" days interchangeably.

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