According to new research, over forty percent of Americans are caring for their elderly family members, and most are doing so in addition to managing their careers. Cartoonist Roz Chast illustrated these difficulties in her memoir detailing the care of her parents in their final years. However, more employers are realizing the need to help their employees who are similarly struggling with balancing elder care in addition to their jobs, and as a result elder care benefits in the workplace are on the rise.
The Families and Work Institute recently published a new report, the 2014 National Study of Employers, which detailed the growing trends in elder care support and benefits in the workplace from 2008 to 2014. Some of the key findings of this report include:
· 75% of employers surveyed provide time off for employees to provide elder care without jeopardizing their jobs · Employers are now more likely to report that they offer elder care resource and referral programs · More employers are offering DCAPs (Dependent Care Assistance Programs) and access to respite care
It is interesting to note that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not expressly provide for the care of the elderly; however, more employers are still incorporating elder care into their workplace benefits. Some of the leading causes for the increase in elder care benefits includes an aging upper management that are more likely to personally experience elder care issues, an overall aging workforce, an increase in the number of employees dealing with managing elder care, and an immediate expectation in the next five years of needing elder care benefits for those who are not already providing care for a loved one.
Not all employers are equal when it comes to providing elder care benefits to its employees. When predicting whether or not an employer is likely to provide elder care benefits, the report stated that those most likely to provide care are typically characterized as:
· Large companies · Nonprofits · Operating in multiple locations · Having fewer hourly employees · Having more women employees · Having more women and minorities that are in or report directly to executive leadership
…however, many other employers that do not fit the characterizations of this list are also providing elder care benefits for their employees. The simplest way to figure out whether or not an employer is providing elder care benefits is to ask.
Roz Chast has an illustration in her memoir with the caption, “You are Here, Suck it Up.” However, with increasing elder care benefits in the workplace, fewer employees are being forced to “suck it up” when it comes to balancing their jobs and the care of their loved ones.
For a more detailed analysis about workplace elder care benefits, see the Families and Work Institute website for more information. For legal help with elder law issues, be sure to contact an attorney experienced with these matters.