New Report Spotlights Workplace Practices to Support the Nation's 21 Million Employed Caregivers

By: Mary Ellen Nessmith

August 2017

 

The Respect A Caregiver’s Time Coalition (ReACT) and AARP released a new report, “Supporting Working Caregivers: Case Studies of Promising Practices,” which points to the provision of caregiver-friendly policies and practices as a potential new weapon in the war for talent. Fourteen case studies, including Emory University, in the report highlight organizations leading the way by providing a broad array of information resources and referrals, flexible work arrangements, paid time off for caregiving, emergency backup care, and, in some cases, high-touch counseling and care management advice.

 

“ReACT is proud to see so many of our members rightfully recognized as leaders in providing support for employee caregivers. For all our members, this report will be more than a collection of ‘promising practices’; we look forward to seeing it used as a tool to advocate for greater support of employee caregivers,” said Drew Holzapfel, convener of ReACT.

 

Interviews with business and human resources executives from the profiled organizations indicated that time and flexibility are what matter most to employees when it comes to balancing work and caregiving. Close to half of the employers interviewed provide paid time off for caregiving as well as emergency backup care and flexible work arrangements. 

 

All offer employee caregivers a combination of information resources, referral services and advice by phone. Most provide resources online, typically through an employee assistance program (EAP) or an intranet portal. More than half offer phone consultations or 24/7 expert hotlines. Several interviewees stressed the value of providing on-site, independent eldercare consultants, noting that employees appreciate both the convenience and the respect for their privacy.


The 14 case studies in the new report include well-known organizations from both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and both large and small employers. They represent a broad set of industries, including financial services, health care, higher education, home care, management consulting, media, and technology.

 

It is estimated that of the 40 million unpaid family caregivers in the U.S., 60 percent are employed. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP Public Policy Institute, 25% of all family caregivers are millennials, and 50% are under the age of 50.  This means that the growing number of family caregivers in the workforce is an issue that all employers will face. The NAC/AARP research also revealed that 61% percent of working caregivers must make workplace accommodations including modifying hours, taking a leave of absence, choosing early retirement or turning down a promotion.

 

“ReACT represents a cross-sector employer effort to raise awareness of and spur action to meet the challenges millions face every day while taking care of an older loved one,” said Drew Holzapfel, convener of ReACT. “It’s exciting to see how leading organizations are showcasing the value of employee caregivers’ dual roles at home and in the office.”

 

To read the full report, click here.