How to reduce costs for employers of caregiver employees?
Right off the bat, let’s make it clear that the idea behind this is not for employers to find ways to cut corners as it pertains their caregiver employees, but to devise methods through which the working environment can be made receptive and encouraging of caregiver employees so that they remain productive members of a workplace without neglecting their duties to their aged, sick, and disabled relatives. According to MetLife’s Sons at Work: Balancing Employment and Eldercare study, 62% of caregivers make a workplace adjustment (coming in late or leaving early, taking a leave of absence, switching to part-time, &c), 3% opt for early retirement, and 6% become full time caregivers. As we can see, this is a two way street; care giving can affect employment in the same degree that employment can affect care giving.
- Corporate care. The idea of providing geriatric care management services is not new, and is in fact a spin-off of childcare programs. However, only 25% of corporations offer some sort of paid family leave, and only 11% provide unpaid leave for more than the 12 weeks required by FMLA law. Corporate care should be the norm rather than the exceptions, and it should also be complemented with other benefits such as fairs, seminars, and training courses like ‘Powerful Tools for Caregivers,’ offered by companies like Nike and Intel.
- Time flexibility. Some industries have to accommodate to their customers’ schedules; others, however, can work around their employees’ schedules. This can be achieved to some extent through paid time off programs, which eschew conventional programs such as vacation, and sick and personal days, in order to favor single blocks of time that encourage efficient time management and allow employees to take time off when they really need to as opposed to when they are told to.
- Telecommuting. If you telecommuted, you’d be home now. That can save both transportation time and money, and it would also mean that the employee would be able to tend to their care recipients almost immediately after getting off work.
- Other resources. Human resources departments can bridge the gap between employees and care giving resources like the federally-funded Eldercare Locator, and the Area Agency on Aging. Other initiatives that can be implemented include stress reduction classes (on-site yoga, massage therapy), decision support systems, encompassing on-site medical tests and screening, conflict mediation services, free legal and financial advice, online support groups, and health coaching service.
Related Read: The Role of a Caregiver