Monday, June 20, 2016

It’s Time for Enlightened Corporations to Meet the Needs of Employee Caregivers

The National Alliance for Caregiving reports that caregivers who don’t receive support from employers experience a negative impact on their careers. 

In fact:
·         66% of caregiver employees have gone into work late, left early or taken time off during the day to deal with caregiving issues
·         20% of caregivers were forced to take a leave of absence from work
·         10% of caregiver employees quit or take early retirement
·         9% of caregivers reduce hours or take less demanding jobs
·         5% of caregiver employees turn down a promotion

The negative impact on the corporation itself is more staggering. “Absenteeism” and “Presenteeism” (when I am at work but not really working- I am caring) is costing corporations millions. Furthermore, unhealthy stress on caregivers trying to balance the demands of care giving and job responsibilities ultimately adds more expense to an employer’s health costs. The day is fast arriving when employee care giving support via an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) will be the rule. Unless corporations move swiftly to craft and adopt enlightened practices and policies we will see government mandated employee caregiver support laws emerge. The numbers of employee care givers are dramatically expanding as the ‘Boomer’ population ages and retires. Caregivers will become a yet another protected class by necessity and by law.

Technology can play a vital role in lowering costs, lessening stress and reducing hospital admissions by connecting care givers and their families so that everyone can be informed of the health status of their isolated or remote ‘parents’ on any given day. If Ian employee had this technology as a benefit option as care giver they could then can more easily decide whether they need to go to ’Mom’s home’ or can actually go on into work. Or, if an employee is on a business trip, having such connectivity would allow me to concentrate on the task at hand by knowing what is happening and if a pro-active care intervention is needed.

If you are considering ‘care giver technology’ as a corporate benefit (EAP) I would like to know your thoughts.