How companies can expand benefits for employed caregivers
Companies need to offer caregiving benefits. Over the last decade, worker’s unpaid caregiving responsibilities have been steadily increasing; and, with 35% of the workforce (6.1 million Canadians) caring for a loved one in 2022, these responsibilities are becoming a serious factor in their employment choice.
Remote work positions, or hybrid work schedules where employees spent half their time in the office and the other half at home, quickly became the standard under the COVID pandemic measures. This provided most employees with a work-life balance that was without precedent.
And they aren’t willing to give it up.
In fact, employed caregivers are 50% more likely to seek out other jobs for flexible schedule opportunities. Employees expect this flexibility much like health benefits, so much so that, when lockdowns and many government mandates were lifted, employers maintained these schedules as a way to entice workers and bolster employee retention.
As the caregiving demands of an ageing population increases and employed caregivers are unable to keep up, options like flexible schedules will become as much of a cornerstone in employment benefits as dental and eye care. Part of the future of this expanded benefits package will include caregiving services.
Essentially, employees want peace of mind –and they’ll go wherever they need to get it.
Companies and employees need to work together to achieve peace of mind.
How to approach your boss about your caregiving responsibilities
Currently, the Government of Canada recommends that the burden of broaching the work-life-caregiving subject should be on the employee. Given the stigmatisation of caregiving priorities, this may be an uncomfortable conversation (and not our first choice of how things should be done).
When having this conversation, make sure to set an appointment with your employer or manager for some privacy. Be clear about how your caregiving responsibilities affect work and what steps have already been taken to mitigate their effects. Try to be open about your situation, only as far as it can help your employer support you. Ask for accommodations, but be open to other arrangements and willing to work together to make a mutually beneficial plan. Finally, once you agree on a plan, revisit it often to ensure it’s still viable, and remain open to modifications.
Overworked caregivers shouldn’t be anxious about having this conversation. Ideally, employers should already have a plan in place for such requests.
How companies can support and retain employees with caregiver benefits
In this economic climate, companies must offer competitive employment packages, not only to attract talent, but also for employee retention. Financial viability in such a tight labour market, and in such volatile times, becomes a challenge – there is only so much money you can throw at the problem.
However, there’s a silver lining to every problem.
Employees are looking for support and cooperation more than financial compensation. In such uncertain times, people want to feel safe. If caregiving for a loved one is a top priority for employees, then it should be a top priority for employers. Take advantage of the current climate to offer that ever-sought peace of mind through a range of caregiving benefits. Data shows that by alleviating the daily, hourly stresses of caregiving, employees would feel more productive and more likely to keep /stay in their job.
Be flexible and open. Make sure that caregiving won’t hinder careers. Contrary to Canada’s recommendations, your workers should feel at ease asking for caregiving accommodations; better yet would be to include them as part of their employment. To that end, companies currently include local caregiving support groups and services within their network.
You need Gold Squad.
What makes us different is our commitment to — not just our position in — the private sector. We provide customised, flexible in-home senior care services in the Greater Montreal Area. Learn about your options and get a quote by calling 438-700-9107 or booking a consultation with Heather Parnell, founder and owner of Gold Squad.