The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers found that one in five employees, most of whom work full-time, is also an unpaid caregiver. Caring for a loved one can greatly impact an employee’s health and wellness, regardless of condition or age. Arizent research found that caregiving employees lacking overall support experienced stress, fatigue, and anxiety to the point of them leaving their job.
Arizent surveyed 500 participants, of which 62% were women. The study found that 42% of respondents care for a child/children, 37% care for a parent, and 29% care for a spouse or partner. Many of these employees are a part of the “sandwich generation,” meaning they find themselves caring simultaneously for their children and an adult loved one.
Participants reported spending between 10-50 hours per week and $100-500 per month on unpaid caregiving.
How employers can support caregivers
There are a variety of ways in which employers can offer caregiving employees support. This support can include:
- Remote work options – the ability to work remotely, after salary and benefits, is the most important job factor for caregivers.
- Flexible schedules – caregiving does not work seamlessly in conjunction with a typical 9 to 5 job, so flexible scheduling is desirable.
- PTO – grouping paid time off (PTO) into a single category of leave can allow employees the ability to take off for a larger variety of reasons, including caring for a loved one.
- Inclusive policies – employers should clearly communicate protected leave options, especially those covered under FLMA and state-specific family leave laws.
- Virtual health services – employers can offer benefits featuring virtual health services and encourage the organization to take advantage.
- EAPs – offering an employee assistance program (EAP) allows employees to access counseling, coaching, caregiving resources, and more.
- Employee resource groups – many employees are caregivers, and allowing the formation of a resource group can provide a helpful network of knowledge. Shared resources can include adult care, daycare facilities, in-home care, and more.
Employers who provide caregiving support are more likely to attract and retain employees, especially those a part of the “sandwich generation.”