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10 Jun 2024

6 strategies for employers to support caregiving employees

Employers can help ease the burden for those staff looking after ageing relatives and children at home while balancing output at work

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With the ageing population set to experience a massive increase over the next two decades, the care demands on employees are more complex than ever, with more and more employees simultaneously caring for both young children and elderly parents.

Recognising and supporting these unique challenges is essential for employers who want to not only attract top talent but keep star employees who may otherwise find themselves choosing between care responsibilities and their work.

Flexible working

Traditional ways of working are giving way to more flexible and empathetic approaches that cater to the needs of caregiver employees. One of the most significant steps an employer can take is to offer flexible working arrangements. Flexibility in work hours and the option to work remotely allow employees to manage their time more effectively, reducing the stress that comes with balancing professional and personal caregiving responsibilities. This autonomy not only enhances productivity but also promotes a healthier work-life balance.

Mental health support

The emotional toll of caregiving on a person’s mental health shouldn’t be overlooked. In 2023, according to Ben’s Benefits Benchmarking survey, there was a 14% uplift in employers offering mental health benefits, highlighting renewed effort on the part of employers to prioritise mental health support and stress management.

Comprehensive employee assistance programmes (EAPs), access to counselling and therapy services, and stress management workshops are invaluable resources. Promoting a culture that encourages seeking help and normalises mental health support can significantly improve the well-being of caregiver employees.

Leave policies

Beyond standard paid time off, employers can provide specific types of leave such as family and medical leave, caregiving leave, and emergency leave. By ensuring that employees have the flexibility to take time off without fear of losing their job or income, employers can alleviate much of the anxiety associated with caregiving. 

Childcare and eldercare benefits

Childcare and eldercare benefits are another vital area where employers can make a significant impact. The Office for National Statistics predicts that by 2025 there will be more employees with elderly dependants than children, highlighting a real opportunity for employers to step up in providing care benefits.

These benefits might include digital resources for planning care, assistance with finding in-home support or care centres, and financial assistance for eldercare expenses. Offering these benefits not only provides practical support employees need, but also demonstrates a company’s commitment to addressing the diverse needs of its workforce.

Flexible benefit allowances

Flexible allowances give your employees the chance to find the best support for them and their loved ones, instead of the more prescriptivist support to which they might otherwise have access. Employers can provide a specific allowance for care-related expenses, or a more general flexible allowance for anything they might need, whether that’s directly related to care costs, or a budget the employee can spend on self-care while caring for others. This flexibility can include recurring monthly allowances or a one-time budget to cover the upfront costs of care, ensuring ongoing and adaptive support for caregiver employees.

Creating a carers network

Finally, establishing a carers network within the company can create a robust support system. These networks enable caregivers to connect, share resources, and support one another, providing them with a sense of community and solidarity. This not only helps caregiving employees feel less isolated, but also provides a platform for advocating for additional resources and support.

Final thoughts

As the number of employees with caregiving responsibilities continues to grow, employers must adapt to these changing needs. By implementing these strategies, employers not only support the well-being of their caregiver employees but also invest in the overall success and productivity of their organisation. Recognising and addressing the unique challenges faced by caregivers is not just a compassionate approach; it is a strategic imperative for any forward-thinking company.

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