The reality today is that many people in the workforce have increasing caregiving responsibilities. Just as child care services and benefits became popular when women entered the workforce in the ‘60s and ‘70s, senior care benefits are in-demand now that adults in their 40s and 50s are taking care of their aging Baby Boomer parents in addition to their own children. Many employees have the stressful challenge of balancing their full-time job with being a caregiver for their children, spouse, or parents.
This can be extremely stressful and cause employees to miss work and be less productive, costing their company money – unless they are provided with caregiving services and benefits. These benefits can come in the form of paid leave to care for family members, eldercare policies, financial assistance, flexible work hours, telecommuting, long-term care insurance coverage for employees and their dependents, job sharing, counselling, and support groups. Companies need to accommodate their workers’ needs and help them manage having a career and being a caregiver. Here are some ways that providing caregiving benefits works in favor of both the employees and employers.
Without proper caregiving support, an employee might be distracted from while they’re at work or have to miss work altogether. On average, caregivers have to miss six and a half days of work each year due to caregiving responsibilities. They could be absent to care for a family member, or they could stay home because they are physically, mentally, or emotionally fatigued from balancing caregiving with their job. Here’s where caregiving benefits, like access to a geriatric care manager, can be a huge help. A geriatric care manager can offer support and information to employees, helping them create a care plan and take advantage of available services – so they can get back to work.
Increased productivity and performance
Since a loss of productivity can hurt a company’s bottom line, it’s important to keep employees working effectively – and if an employee is absent, stressed out, or exhausted, they won’t be. Providing benefits like flexi-time (working flexible hours) and telecommuting (occasionally working remotely) accommodate caregivers’ schedules, so they can still attend doctor’s appointments without letting productivity or performance suffer. Maybe they’ll have a few hours to work on a report early in the morning, or they can answer emails from the hospital waiting room. Even if they can’t be in the office, with options like these they can still get their work done.
Employees with caregiving benefits are happier, not only because their caregiving needs are taken care of so they have less stress, but also because they feel valued by the company they work for. Companies that provide caregiving benefits send a message that they understand what their employees are going through and want to help. This increases employee loyalty – a huge win for companies that want to retain their employees.
Better for business
Simply put, providing employees with caregiving benefits helps save companies money in the long run. We’ve already covered how caregiving benefits can increase employee productivity and performance, which helps the bottom line. But did you know the stress and burnout faced by employees doing double duty as caregivers without assistance can increase companies’ health care costs? And if the stress gets so bad the employee quits, it’s even pricier. The cost of losing replacing an employee can range from 50% to 150% of their salary, once you account for recruiting and training a new employee, plus losing the knowledge and skills of the previous one. However, according to the Family Caregivers’ Network Society, staff turnover falls by 50% when employees are provided with benefits. Even though there are upfront costs, it pays off for companies to offer caregiving benefits to employees.