As the baby-boomer generation continues to age, more and more workers will become caregivers for elderly parents. Many employers are implementing caregiving benefits as a step to alleviate some of the stress caregiving employees face. Offering caregiving benefits at your organization will establish a culture that is supportive of caregivers. You will also be giving your employees the tools they need to effectively manage their dual responsibilities.
The majority of employers surveyed permit employees to use their sick, vacation or personal days for caregiving, but few have leave or benefits programs designed specifically for caregivers.
Why should my organization consider offering caregiver benefits?
According to a survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving a large number of employees may be “closet caregivers” who fear that their boss or organization will think they’re not committed to their job if they also provide care for a loved one. The stress of working while taking care of an ill, elderly or disabled loved one, can lead to chronic stress. Chronic stress is not only bad for your employees, but also for your organization and its bottom line.
Some employees decide they can no longer balance work and caregiving, so they choose to leave their employer to care for a loved one. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it costs an average of six to nine months’ salary to replace a salaried employee, which is a significant cost for any employer.
Caregiving benefits advocates believe that adopting such policies would increase productivity, lower health care costs, and improved recruiting and retention efforts.
How can my organization implement caregiving benefits?
Consider implementing a flexible scheduling policy at your organization and train managers and supervisors on how they can support employees who are caregivers. Be mindful that any caregiving benefits you implement could be subject to federal laws. Please consult with a legal professional for further advice on this topic.
So, to recap please keep in mind, in today’s competitive environment, benefits should not be viewed as a cost center to be minimized. The growing challenge of retaining and recruiting quality, desirable, skilled employees puts benefits in a strategic role in making your company more attractive and successful in the marketplace.