Caregiver-Friendly Workplaces Are Good For Caregivers and Their Employers, Too
Your company may be unaware that many of its employees are also caregivers for a family member or friend, and that’s not unusual. Employees are often hesitant to share their story, and employers typically don’t ask. But the impact is now too great to be ignored. By advocating for a caregiver-friendly workplace, you can help your employer develop policies that will increase productivity, improve employee retention and reduce healthcare costs — and make life immeasurably better for you and other caregivers. Here’s a guide to get you started.
1 in 5
Working Americans are caregivers
Of caregivers spend 9+ hours each week providing unpaid care
Average time spent on unpaid care per week per caregiver
Of employees report impacts on work, including leaving early
Why Do Caregivers Need Workplace Support?
Employee caregivers carry an especially heavy personal burden, setting them apart with regard to work-life balance policies.
Assess the Current Level of Caregiver-Friendliness & Available Resources at Your Company
As you start your advocacy, take an honest assessment of what benefits your company already offers, and how well your company understands employee caregiver needs.
How Caregiver-Friendly Is Your Workplace?
Take this quiz to learn to what extent your company currently supports caregivers. At the end, you’ll receive a score and a free report detailing what your company is doing right and how it can improve.
Know Your Rights and What Programs and Resources Are Already Available
At the beginning of your advocacy journey, be sure to study your own company’s benefits to understand every source of support already available to you. Additionally, there are state and federal protected rights, programs and resources that may be accessible to you. Knowing about them before you approach your employer will make you a more effective advocate at work.
Know the Business Case for Being a Caregiver-Friendly Workplace
The “business case” is the set of reasons that will motivate a company to make a change to culture or policies. “Because it’s the right thing to do” is rarely good enough — there must be compelling impacts to a company’s bottom line. For caregiving-friendly policies, there are many. When caregiving employees feel supported by their employers, they are more productive, loyal and healthy, and companies can better compete for new talent and reduce costs related to turnover and healthcare claims.
Increase employee engagement
Increase retention, reduce turnover, and attract top talent
Reduce healthcare claims and costs
Improve diversity, equity and inclusion
Of caregivers have left a job because of caregiving stress
Of employees worry caregiving will negatively impact their job performance
Annual cost to employers due to productivity loss, turnover and healthcare claims
Employee Caregiving Fact Sheet
Explore data from the second annual Employee Caregiving Survey of 200 adults in the U.S. who work while also providing support for loved ones. Conducted by Homethrive via a third-party survey provider in August 2022, respondents were asked how their caregiving responsibilities impact their employment, well-being and lives.
Six Reasons to Support Caregivers at Work
In the years to come, more employees — not fewer — will be caregivers, likely to an aging parent. With the Baby Boomer generation just now entering the age of decline, more of their children will be stepping into the role of caregiver. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age in the U.S. is now 38.9, up from 35 in 2000 and 30 in 1980. Americans are getting older, and with age comes the need for assistance. Sooner or later, companies will need to adjust to the needs of these workers. Here are six reasons to get started now.
How Companies Benefit from Supporting Caregivers
When implemented properly, companies can benefit in numerous ways from caregiver-friendly policies. Hear from a worker rights attorney as she explains the connection between caregiver support and company success.
Identify Other Caregivers, Potential Advocates and Executive Sponsors
To increase the power of your advocacy effort, find the caregivers who work for your company and those who sympathize with employee caregivers. By forming an employee resource group, you can brainstorm ideas, better understand the needs of your members and pull more weight with regard to influencing company policies.
Caregivers often don’t identify with the term.
There is some confusion about what defines a caregiver — even among caregivers themselves. Caregivers often view their role as simply that of a daughter/son, spouse, parent, etc. who is “just doing their job” or “helping out.” A critical component of supporting caregivers is first understanding what the role entails. As you’re looking for allies within your organization, be sure to include all types of caregivers.
Who is a caregiver?
A caregiver is a person who provides care and assistance to another person with limitations related to illness, injury or disability. The care recipient may have mobility limitations, dementia, behavioral or mental health conditions, developmental disabilities or any situation (permanent or temporary) that means they need some level of assistance with daily living activities and other aspects of life.
What does a caregiver do?
Caregivers may provide many different types of support, such as:
- Bathing, personal hygiene, dressing and toileting
- Getting in and out of bed or a chair and walking
- Meal preparation and feeding
- Organizing and giving medication
- Managing and attending appointments and maintaining medical records and information
- Managing therapies and treatments
- Arranging nursing and other medical supports
- Performing basic medical tasks
Other life management tasks:
- Shopping for food, clothing and other essentials
- Providing transportation or organizing transport
- Managing finances, paying bills, planning for the future
- Housekeeping and home maintenance
- Managing communication with others
- Arranging respite care providers
Who do caregivers care for?
Caregivers may be caring for:
- An aging parent, spouse or senior adult
- A minor child or adult child with disabilities or complex medical needs
- A spouse, sibling, family member or another individual with a temporary or chronic health condition or disability
How to Create an Employee Resource Group for Caregivers
Employee Resource Groups help workers connect and raise awareness about issues facing their workplace, and empower them to collectively advocate for company policy improvements. In this article, learn how to start one for caregivers at your organization.
Policies and Practices That Support Employee Caregivers
There are many policies and practices that can contribute to a caregiver-friendly workplace, and four main areas where caregiving support should appear loud and clear for companies committed to supporting their employee caregivers. Read these articles to understand how the pillars uphold a strong caregiving support program, and share them with your company’s leadership team or human resources director.
A culture that is understanding of employee caregiver needs must start at the top. Given that half of employees regularly do not share their status as a caregiver with their supervisor out of fear of being seen as less valuable, company leaders need to set the pace. Read Creating a Culture of Care in the Workplace to get started.
As with other benefits that concern family, flexibility is critical to a caregiver-friendly workplace. Employee caregivers are not asking to be paid for not working; they’re asking to be able to work in a way that allows them to get their job done while accommodating their caregiving responsibilities. Read Flexibility: The Heart of a Caregiver-Friendly Workplace for more insights.
Well-designed caregiver benefits can reduce the stress employees are experiencing when they try to balance work and caregiving. These benefits can help them be more productive at work and a more effective caregiver while also delivering measurable company improvements. Learn what works in our article, Build a Program That Helps Employees and Companies.
Caregiver support programs, policies and benefits, especially new ones, must be communicated extensively in order for them to be effective and appreciated — and for your company to reap the potential rewards. Read Communication: Critical for a Successful Caregiver Workplace Support Programs for best practices.
Quick Reference Sheet
Four Pillars of a Caregiver-Friendly Workplace
The best human resource programs and policies are those that make life better for employees while also improving one or more aspects of the company’s profitability, resiliency, stability or risk profile. A properly designed caregiver support program will be held up by four pillars.
Use the Power of Your Experience to Drive Change
The biggest challenge when it comes to policy changes for employee caregivers is a lack of awareness. Out of fear of being seen as less committed to their jobs, caregivers often suffer in silence and avoid sharing their challenges with supervisors or even co-workers. Being vocal about your experience is the first step toward change.
Best Practices When You Need to Advocate for Yourself
If your situation as an employee caregiver has come to a head and it’s time to speak with your employer about your personal challenges, there are ways to achieve change. In this article, we’ll talk about best practices for making your case, winning over hearts and minds to your situation and ultimately getting the change you seek.
Start the Conversation at Your Organization with a Screening of the “Unseen” Documentary
The “Unseen” documentary gives an unfiltered, honest glimpse into the lives of caregivers and their families. Host a virtual or in-person screening event at your company that will jumpstart the conversation about improving support for caregivers in the workplace.
Homethrive is transforming the way we care, making it smarter, easier, and more rewarding for everyone.
Whether caring for a loved one due to age, disability, or a medical condition, our intuitive online platform provides personalized advice and expert assistance, however and whenever it’s needed. We help caregivers discover a better way forward that prioritizes their loved one’s care and their own wellbeing, so they can thrive at home and at work