Emergency Care Now a Priority as more Employees Juggle Work and Caregiving

Emergency Care Now a Priority as more Employees Juggle Work and Care

Being both a caregiver and a member of the workforce is nothing new, particularly due to the increase in women now working full or part-time while raising young children. However, with millennials now also starting to become parents and the general population living longer than ever, the number of people in the workforce who also have caring responsibilities is on the rise.

As a result, many companies now offer flexible hours, remote working arrangements, paid parental leave and other caregiving perks; however, in many instances, this still may not be enough. Sometimes the professional care that people have in place for children or other family members falls through and they’re left with no option but to take on the responsibility themselves.

The caregiving cost to employers, and their staff

It’s estimated that employers lose more than $25 billion a year in productivity due to absenteeism among full-time working caregivers, and this increases to $28 billion when you factor in the caregivers who work part-time as well. A Merrill Lynch report also tells us that caregivers spend $1 billion a year on healthcare and services for their loved ones – expenses which can be financially draining.

Not surprisingly, it’s female workers who are most impacted by the responsibility of caregiving and statistics from Australia and countries across the OECD show that more than two-thirds of primary caregivers, and more than half of all caregivers, are women. The vast majority of these females are also working either full or part-time. When it comes to time off related to caregiving duties though, it’s not just maternity leave or child care responsibilities that is pulling them away.

According to a study by Sean Fahle of the State University in Buffalo and Kathleen McGarry of UCLA, companies are fast losing high quality female staff over the age of 50 who need to provide care for elderly or ill family members. Around one third of working women this age currently devote eight to 30 hours per week caring for an elderly parent in addition to their time at work, and if they’re not supported or accommodated by their employers for this they often leave their jobs.

In addition to the loss of income and emotional and physical strain associated with caregiving, the study shows that when people leave the workforce it’s very difficult for them to re-enter after their caregiving responsibilities reduce or end. Promotions and pay increases may also be compromised or reduced.

Other findings from the study showed that:

  • The average income lost by caregivers each year is a whopping 33 per cent.
  • Caregivers pay for many caregiving expenses out of their own pockets, around $10,000 a year.
  • Overall, 11 per cent of caregivers end up having to resign from their job to fulfil their caring responsibilities.
  • If a woman does have to leave her job due to caregiving needs, the lost wages, pensions and other benefits over her lifetime total more than $300,000.

Interestingly, it’s not just women over 50 who are taking care of adult family members, millennials spend 21 hours a week in caregiving duties with 73 per cent balancing their carer responsibilities with paid work. The majority of these people don’t inform their employer about these responsibilities and foot the bill for expenses incurred.

Additionally, the ‘sandwich generation’ of people taking care of both their children and older parents (usually while working) is also growing in size.

Emergency care can help tip the balance

It’s imperative that businesses not only recognise the caregiving responsibilities of their staff but help them meet them. One way organisations can achieve this is by providing staff members with emergency or back-up care when they need it.

When child care or professional care is unavailable for some reason it is very disruptive for employees and can cause a reduction in productivity, absenteeism and added stress. An emergency care program can alleviate this stress by providing quick access to a network of qualified and security screened back-up care providers at short notice.

The benefits of this type of support are vast and include:

  • Reduced stress and boosted productivity, helping employers to reach business goals.
  • Significant cost savings from a reduction in the number of sick days used.
  • Improved retention rates, with studies showing that workers who have access to back-up care feeling more positive towards their company.
  • A higher rate of staff returning to work from parental leave associated with the assurance that comes from the knowledge there’s emergency care available if child care falls through

Providing back-up care for your employees delivers a great return on investment and doesn’t have to be costly or complicated.  To learn more about the CareCorporate.com.au Emergency Care Program contact us today.