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31 Mar

Tips for Supporting Employee Caregivers

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The last couple of years has taught us that a healthy work-life balance is more important than ever. This doesn’t just apply to those who want to experience what the world has to offer, it also applies to the 73% of U.S. employees that care for a child, parent, friend, or other individuals.

On top of a traditional 40-hour workweek, employee caregivers spend an average of 24 hours weekly on caregiving responsibilities. The time and effort that goes into working and providing care can be difficult to manage, and as an employer, you need to find effective methods to help.

If you don’t provide your employee caregivers with the proper support, your business could face negative impacts. Caregiving represents a risk for depression, chronic illness, loneliness, and social isolation. This could lead to absenteeism or presenteeism (working while sick), resulting in $34 billion in annual losses to U.S. employers.

Here are some tips to help support your employee caregivers.

Provide Childcare Resources

Approximately 40% of female employees have felt a negative impact on their careers due to childcare responsibilities. It goes without saying that no one’s career should suffer in an effort to care for a child. So, you should provide all possible resources to deter the stress of this situation.

If your company has childcare services such as daycare centers or assistance programs, all employee caregivers should be informed. If not, consider implementing a more autonomous workplace policy.

Present options to employees for when they start and finish their workday in addition to where they work. If an employee’s job allows, give permission to work from home.

Educate Your Employees

If your business is stretched thin for resources, be sure to educate your employees on their legal rights to care for a loved one. More specifically, it’s important that they have a full understanding of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Per the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

It is also recommended that you teach your caregiver employees about the impact of burnout, which is considered a medical phenomenon. To help, provide employees with a burnout handbook that can be just as useful for them as it is for you.

Check-In

A simple check-in can go a long way for your employee caregivers. Acting as a caregiver can be a stressful and tiring job. It’s your duty as an employer to ensure your employees are set for success and provide them with the necessary tools to be productive.

Empathy shows your employees that you care, not to mention it is a necessary leadership skill that you must master. A study showed that when people felt their leaders were more empathetic, 86% reported they are able to navigate the demands of their work and life—successfully juggling their personal, family, and work obligations.

However, check-ins aren’t always simple and they must be uniform for all employees. Consider using an evaluation template for your check-ins. They don’t always need to be business-focus, but they will help you decide what changes may need to be made in an effort to create a happier, healthier workplace.

Offer a Well-Structured Benefits Package

Not only does a great benefits package help your business attract and retain employees, but it will also provide peace of mind to employee caregivers. This is critical as 32% of employees who took part in a recent survey said they had to leave their job because of caregiving responsibilities.

In addition to medical, dental, and vision insurance, which could save thousands of dollars, employees can also gain access to telehealth. With telehealth, an employee caregiver can get access to healthcare professionals anywhere, virtually, which will save time and resources. An effective way to gain access to the most impactful benefits packages is by partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO). As experts in the HR field, a PEO can provide great value when it comes to making backend decisions for your business and providing Fortune 500-level benefits at unbeatable rates.

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