Employed Caregivers: When Work & Caregiving Collide

Caregiving and Work is not a new issue. Caregivers have been juggling work and care for some time. This has been a common refrain from those who consider themselves part of the Sandwich Generation.

The Caregiving and Work project heralded by the Vanier Institute for the Family has been gathering research for several years. Following the 2014 Budget, “the Government of Canada launched the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan (CECP) to explore ways to help employee caregivers participate as fully as possible in the workforce. The CECP is one of a range of activities that the Government of Canada and others are currently undertaking to support caregivers. These include tax measures, income replacement through employment insurance, and the provision of targeted programs for caregivers in populations under federal jurisdiction” (Employment and Social Development Canada).”
The Panel consulted over 100 employers from across Canada before releasing its findings and insights contained in the report.

On January 20, 2015, to the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), announced the release of the Employer Panel for Caregivers’ report called – When Work and Caregiving Collide: How Employers Can Support Their Employees Who Are Caregivers. The Employer Panel for Caregivers (the panel) is comprised of industry leaders from small, medium and large-sized businesses, as well as expert advisors on caregiving.

The Panel reported on Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey GSS, 2012 profile of Canadian Caregivers who stated that 35% of the Canadian workforce reported that they were providing unpaid care to a family member or friend.

The Employer Panel findings showed: ‘The majority (74%) of caregivers provide nine or less hours of care per week. However, 16% provided 10-29 hours of care, while 10% provided a very intensive level of 30 hours or more. Not surprisingly, the more care a person provides, the greater impact it has on their ability to work. The survey showed, for example, that 38% of caregivers who provided 20 or more hours of care per week reduced their regular working hours, compared to 25% of those who were providing less than 20 hours.”

The Employer Panel’s conclusions are worthy of comment here as we close.
“Caregiving is an issue that will affect most Canadians at some point in their lives. As our population ages and labour force growth declines, the need to support employees with caregiving responsibilities will grow.”

”Helping employees balance work with their caregiving responsibilities will have a positive impact on the Canadian economy by decreasing costs, such as impact on job performance, absenteeism and productivity, for their employers”.

There is much to be done and this is a topic important to many of us. The full report can be accessed on the government website.
In my work with the RBC Advice Centre, we produced a video on Balancing Work and Care, which I invite you to visit for some practical tips.

Lesson Learned: Finally, employers are coming to the table to support their employees. Reach out and ask for assistance.

 

Audrey Miller

Audrey Miller

Audrey Miller, MSW, RSW, CCLCP is the founder and Managing Director of Elder Caring Inc. She has spent the last 30 years working with disabled individuals and their families, focusing on rehabilitation issues to improve function at home, in the community and at the work place.