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Caregivers in the Workplace: Issues for Consideration

A great article by Barbara Falkenrath

Caregivers may Feel Alone without Employer Support -It is estimated that approximately 21% of today’s workers care for an elderly or chronically ill loved one. This has a profound effect in the workplace.

Care giving has traditionally been a function of the family. In today’s economy, there are more multi-generational households than ever before, creating an even greater potential for eldercare issues to intrude into the workplace. Women, historically the designated family caregivers, have joined the workforce in great numbers over the last several decades, but have not abandoned their caring roles at home. Increasingly, working men are taking on the role of caregiver as well. Both male and female caregivers must find ways to meet their work responsibilities while still ensuring proper care for the loved ones who depend upon them.

Juggling Work and Care

Modifications to work schedules are one of the most common ways caregivers balance the demands of work and care giving. It may be necessary for the caregiver to begin work later than normal or to leave the job early. They may take unpaid leaves of absence or take vacation, personal or sick days to care for their dependent. In many cases, relocation and work-related travel is declined or curtailed. The caregiver may find it necessary to refuse working overtime or to take on new assignments that would demand a greater commitment of time. Each of these modifications may take a toll on the individual’s career progression if the employer culture does not support caregivers.


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