The needs of families balancing their employment and senior care have now been recognized by Starbucks. The multi-billion dollar company is unveiling a new perk to help employees care for their senior parents. While this move is one that is greatly needed by many, and will hopefully encourage other companies to follow suit, some worry that increased benefits may draw labor away from senior living communities themselves, contributing to the industry’s staffing problems.
Read more about Starbucks’ new senior care benefits and its impact on senior care.
If an employee’s regular caregiver is unavailable to care for their parent, Starbucks will fund the cost of a replacement. The end cost to the employee is only a dollar per hour for the caregiver, with Starbucks covering the rest. Starbucks believes this will help employees better cope with managing their caregiving responsibilities.
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“This is giving our partners resources for things that happen in regular life,” Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks, says in a statement. “We wanted to give them something to help fill the gaps.”
The support is much-needed. Research demonstrates that it costs more money and time to support aging parents than it does to raise children.
To provide this benefit, Starbucks is partnering with Care.com to give a premium membership which allows them to post their caregiver needs for free, for long-term or short-term care.
While it’s critical to recognize the stress that caregivers are under and that employer support is greatly needed, some senior living communities have expressed concern that benefits and higher wages in the foodservice industry will increase their own staffing problems. When benefits and incentives increase in coffee shops, restaurants and other foodservice companies across the country, senior care communities may struggle to compete for skilled workers.
Starbucks’ increased benefits are part of an industry-wide trend, with Apple and Home Depot recently offering employees more senior care benefits as well. These companies all compete for the same labor pool, the pool which senior living communities draw from as well.
Record-low unemployment is making that competition fierce. Skilled Nursing News notes that caregiving positions are already seen as less desirable than other food service and retail positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the senior living industry will need to attract an additional 1.1 million workers by 2024 to meet demands.
While employees at Starbucks and other companies receive increased senior care benefits, other families without such benefits will likely need more support.
Are you a proponent of employee-offered senior care benefits? Why or why not? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.