Supporting Working Caregivers
Published by: LifeWorks,
It may not be obvious to you in your role as a manager but, as millions of people provide care to an older or dependent adult relative, it’s likely that many members of your team are caring for a loved one. Caregiving can be quite costly and demand significant energy from employees in your workforce. Here are some ways to offer support to the working caregivers on your team:
Be open to discussion about an employee’s caregiving needs. Encourage employees to discuss situations that may impact their job. Let them know it helps you understand what they’re dealing with, so you can be supportive at work.
Allow for flexible work options whenever possible. Familiarize yourself with flexible work arrangements—such as remote work, flexible hours, a compressed workweek, and job sharing—that are available at your organization.
Provide the employee with information on available benefits. Does someone you manage feel overwhelmed by caregiving demands or need help finding local resources? Suggest contacting the assistance program. Does the person need to take extended time off to help a spouse, child, or parent through a serious medical crisis? There are laws that differ based on province and territory, that ensure eligible employees to take job-protected leave in specific circumstances. For example, in Ontario, the Employment Standards Act (ESA) ensures that eligible employees can get up to 28 weeks of family medical leave. If in doubt, consult with your human resources (HR) representative. They will be able to provide you guidance about both company and government policies around extended periods of leave.
Promote a team culture that is caregiver-friendly. If caregivers are perceived as getting unfair advantages, the result can be stigmatization and resentment. To avoid that, talk about the value that the caregiving experience can bring to your team. Participate in caregiving awareness programs, such as those associated with the Canadian Home Care Association (CHCA), which provides support, guidance, and education to caregivers and brings awareness to their essential role. And be consistent about setting clear, fair performance expectations for all team members, caregivers or not.