How Employers Can Support Caregivers

Only a few years ago, it may have been considered career-limiting for a parent to leave at a set time to collect a child from daycare. Today, most workplaces accept and support this situation without question. Another issue is now at hand — the responsibilities of working, and providing unpaid care to a family member or friend are colliding.

Many Canadians are juggling the demands of full or part-time employment with the need to provide regular informal care to family and friends. Caregiving can affect the well-being of employee caregivers, and lead to increased costs for their employers by impacting job performance, absenteeism and productivity. This was outlined in the federal government’s recently released Employer Panel for Caregivers’ report, “When Work and Caregiving Collide – How Employers Can Support their Employees Who Are Caregivers.”

The report states that more than six million people — 35% of our workforce — provide unpaid, informal care while balancing job responsibilities. Most employee caregivers spend nine hours or less per week caring, but many (24%) are spending up to 30 hours — and some even more. The recipients of care are primarily seniors, and most caregivers are 45 and older, often talented and experienced employees possessing deep company or industry knowledge. These are key contributors to an organization — people we don’t want to see exit the workforce.

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