Being a caregiver is difficult enough but add a 40+ hour work-week and you will definitely be in need of some extra help. Did you know that some workplaces offer Caregiving resources to their employees? Below are some important workplace resources that your employer may be offering.
Workplace Caregiving Resources
The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) outlines best practices for employers to ensure that there are no violations against workers who are also caregivers. These examples of resources illustrate the growing demand on caregivers at work, impacting both the employee and employer. In addition, the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does provide certain employees with up-to 12-weeks of unpaid leave, which includes caring for a spouse or parent with a serious health condition.
To learn more about what your company can do for you as a Caregiver, start by having a discussion with your supervisor and asking about the following questions:
- Does your office allow for flextime: this could include the option of working 40 hours during the week but not during the standard 9 am – 5 pm (i.e. working long hours one day and less the next).
- Does your office offer advanced annual or sick leave: this could help in preparing for any time off needed for caring for someone after surgery or other needs.
- Does your office allow for telework: offices are becoming mobile now and working from home or other remote locations is becoming easier and easier with new technology.
- Does your office allow for a leave of absence (or leave without pay): this could be helpful if you need a specific amount of time (6-9 months as an example) to care for a loved one or to assist your family during bereavement enabling you to keep your position available when you return.
- Does your office have an employee assistance program (EAP): depending on the size of your organization there may be a dedicated office that helps employees during challenges faced at work or at home from a supportive role.
- What state-specific laws exist to help caregivers at work: each state may have specific legislation protecting caregivers.
This important subject has both the Federal government and private sector employers working towards solutions. One such coalition is ReACT (Respect A Caregiver’s Time), which is made up of 75+ employers from corporations, colleges, non-profits and government entities. The mission of ReACT is to create a supportive business environment where the challenges faced by caregivers, juggling the demands of both work and caregiving for an adult with a chronic age-related disease, are understood and recognized by employers so that employees can better meet their personal and professional responsibilities.
If you’re a Caregiver, it’s important to learn about all of the resources available to you. These are just a few questions to discuss with your supervisor or Human Resources department directly. The suggestions above are to help you prepare for the conversation and know your rights as an employee and as a Caregiver. Be willing to compromise and find what will work best for you, your employer, and your family. Do your research and be open-minded when discussing this sensitive subject with your employer.