Tips for Meeting With Your Boss

You’re at the point where something’s got to give. There are just not enough hours in the week to effectively do your job and take care of your loved one. If there are no options regarding alternative caregiving, then you’re faced with either quitting or asking your supervisor for a change at work. If you love your job or can’t live without the income, here’s how to ask for help.

Do your homework.

In advance of meeting with your supervisor to request a change, decide on a thoughtful plan that you believe will allow you to stay in your job and fulfill your caregiving responsibilities.

That plan might be taking some leave, a temporary shift to part-time, working remotely for a portion of your work week or shifting your standard work day to start earlier or later.

Then, scour your company benefits and check federal and state regulations, like FMLA, to see what parts of your plan may already align with existing benefits and policies.

Finally, draw up a list of the ways that your plan will help you focus on work, avoid unplanned absences and have more energy for your job.

Start with your personal story.

Bring your plan and supporting rationale to the meeting in a form you can leave behind. Open the meeting by explaining and describing your responsibilities as a caregiver; your personal story can be more compelling than any amount of data.

It’s highly likely that your story will not be the first like it your supervisor has heard — in fact, there’s a 1 in 5 chance your supervisor is a caregiver too, or close to someone who is. Opening up about your struggle will forge a personal connection and the beginning of helping your supervisor understand your perspective.

Present your plan as a win-win scenario.

Walk through your plan, step by step, with your perspective on how the changes will make you a more productive employee. Be positive and improvement-oriented, focused on how your proposal has just as much benefit to the company as it does to you. Offer to try it for a limited amount of time so that both your supervisor only has to commit to a trial period.

What if your employer says…?

“We can’t make this change for you because then we would have to make it for everybody.”

Agree that the company should make this kind of change available to everybody, because likely there are others in your boat who represent opportunities for similar organizational improvement.

“This is unlike the kind of benefits we provide.”

If your company has any sort of parental leave plan or policies that help employees care for new babies or young children, then the sort of accommodation you’re requesting is no different. You’re just asking for flexibility in order to take care of a different family member.

“We could consider changing policy if we knew there was a group of employees with similar challenges.”

Offer to help identify other employee caregivers with a survey, by speaking at a lunch-and-learn on the topic of caregiving or by hosting a screening of the “Unseen” documentary, an unfiltered look at what it’s like to be a caregiver for a child who is severely disabled or medically complex.

What do you do if you don’t get support?

Allow a fair amount of time to get a response, and follow up if you haven’t heard anything after a week has passed. If you’re disappointed by the response from your company, either because they won’t address your request or their response is negative, it may be time to find other caregiving co-workers and start an Employee Resource Group for caregivers.

Ready to create a more caregiver-friendly workplace?

Here are three ways you can get started:

Explore the Caregiver-Friendly Workplaces Toolkit

Learn how companies with effective caregiver-friendly programs and policies can be better places to work and more profitable, too.

Go to Toolkit

Host a Screening of the “Unseen” Documentary

The “Unseen” documentary gives an unfiltered, honest glimpse into the lives of caregivers and their families.


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.