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Employee Benefits and Paid Leave for Caregivers

By Kimberly FowlerSeptember 22, 2016
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Competition is on the rise for companies to attract, secure and retain the industry’s top talent, especially in blue chip industries like financial services and technology. High salaries are one way to attract the brightest talent, but salaries alone aren’t enough to keep employees happy and productive.

Learn more about how companies are using employee benefits, like paid leave for caregivers, to appeal to candidates and employees.

Is Corporate America Feeling the Caregiving Pinch?

A recent LinkedIn study showed that to most employees (and Millennials in particular), benefit packages are a major consideration. In fact, benefit packages were important to:

  • 64% of Millennials
  • 54% of Gen X’ers
  • 51% of Baby Boomers

It’s no wonder, then, that companies like Deloitte and Nike are trying to make their benefit packages more appealing by offering enhanced coverage for caregivers.

Deloitte recently announced that they’ll be offering employees paid leave for all types of caregiving, including eldercare. The benefit offers “up to 16 weeks of fully paid leave for a wide range of caregiving, including maternity and paternity leave, eldercare and aid for other sick family members or partners,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

The American Workforce Caring for a Family Member

Forbes Magazine reports that more than 15% of the American workforce is comprised of family caregivers, while The Wall Street Journal reports that “nearly 17% of Americans over age 18 — about 40 million people — provide unpaid care to an adult.”

Either way, there’s no doubt that Deloitte’s new benefit plan will offer much needed support for their caregiver employees who need help to balance their caregiving and work responsibilities.

A Deloitte spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Emma Silverman, that “the policy is a recognition that caregiving isn’t limited to new parents, but affects a far broader class of employees.”

The decision was based on a recent Deloitte survey which indicated that “88% of respondents wanted a broader leave policy beyond parental leave.”

The High Cost of Caregiving

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, caregivers who don’t receive support from employers experience a negative impact on their careers. The Alliance’s MetLife Study of Caregiving reports that caregivers who leave work lose an average of $304,000 in benefits and wages over their lifetime.

Working family caregivers are at an increased risk of lost productivity, increased mental and physical health issues and stress, if they don’t have support from their employer. Ultimately, paid leave for caregivers helps employers ensure their top talent have the support they need to remain creative, efficient and productive while caregivers receive the support and time they need to provide proper care for their family members.

Despite the win-win benefits, paid caregiving leave isn’t commonly provided by corporate America. In fact, “the U.S. is the only industrialized country that doesn’t mandate some form of paid parental leave,” Rachel Emma Silverman of The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Only a handful of states and municipalities, including California, require some form of paid family leave, and just a small but growing number of employers are beginning to offer broader paid caregiving leave.”

The hope amongst those in the senior care industry is that other companies will follow Deloitte’s lead and consider including paid caregiving leave and other eldercare support in their benefit plans.

Does your workplace offer paid leave for caregivers? What do you think about adding caregiving support to employee benefit plans? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Kimberly Fowler