Caregivers assist family members or friends who have challenges resulting from a disability, illness or aging. Supporting your caregiving employees can make a sustainable, positive impact for your organization! As the Canadian population ages, a greater proportion of the workforce will have significant responsibilities for providing care. In the current economic environment it is important to retain skilled employees rather than recruiting and training new staff.
The majority of employed caregivers are aged 30 plus – employees in their prime employment years. The peak age for caring is 45-64 years, when many employees will have gained valuable skills and experience. With fewer young people entering the job market – and in the current economic climate - there has never been a more important time to focus on the benefits of retaining skilled workers rather than incurring the costs of recruiting and retraining new staff.
Did you know 30-35% of your workforce are caregivers?
& Sick Leave
Attract & Retain Staff
Produce Cost Savings
Improve Job Satisfaction
Be An Employer of Choice
Improve Service Delivery
Economic Costs of Care to Employers
What can you do to support your caregiving employees?
The Benefits of Supporting Caregivers
There are three domains of economic costs for employers of caregivers - direct costs, indirect costs, and discretionary costs. The extent of these costs will depend on a variety of factors, including organizational characteristics (firm size, industry, and sector), and workplace culture (flexibility and leave options, available resources, and employee wellness programs).
Direct costs are associated with employee turnover, absenteeism, and health-related benefit costs. In 2007, employee turnover alone cost Canadian employers $3.8 billion with over 557, 698 caregiver employees leaving the paid labour force to provide care.. Absenteeism and reducing regular work hours are also common - over 520,000 employed caregivers aged 45 and older missed, on average, three full days of work per months in 2007. Collectively, this is nearly 1.48 million work days per month missed. in 2012, 15% of employed caregivers reduced their paid work hours to provide care, cutting back their hours by 9-10 hours per week on average. On a aggregate level, this equates to 9.7 million days of absenteeism and 256 million fewer hours of paid work. Health-related benefit costs also have the potential to affect an employer's bottom line. 40% of workplaces surveyed had one or more employees take stress leave or disability leave at least in part as a result of their caregiving responsibilities.
Indirect costs reduce productivity and are costly, but are less quantifiable than direct costs. These costs relate to lower return on investment in employees, lost productivity, reduced organizational effectiveness, impact on co-workers and supervisors, and impact on clients and customers. Impacts have the potential to "spill over" to other employees when caregiving employees leave their job, retire, reduce their work hours, are absent from work, or distracted while at work. These costs can be even more detrimental and more financially costly to employers than direct costs.
Discretionary costs are associated with the provision of flexibility, support, services or financial assistance to employees with caregivign responsibilities. Organizations that provide the most flexibility are those that are more likely to provide generous leave options for caregivers and more information and resources for employees with caregiving responsibilities.
Sources: The economic costs of care to employers: A synthesis of findings. By: Fast, Lero,Keating, Eales, & Duncan, 2014.
Combining care work and paid work: Is it sustainable? By: Research on Aging, Policies, and Practice, 2014.
Be An Employer of Choice
In 2012, caregiving resulted in over 9.7 million days of absenteeism, an aggregate reduction in work hours of 256 million hours, and a loss of 559,000 employees from the paid labour force. There is growing evidence that supporting caregivers at work makes good business sense! Flexible working arrangements and family-friendly employment practicies benefit businesses by increasing productivity, reducing recruitment and retention costs, reducing sick leave, and lowering staff turnover while meeting clients needs.
In general, employees of 'carer-friendly' organizations tend to be happier and have a high level of trust in relationships at work. Research has shown that employers can deliver effective support for caregivers without compromising their business objectives. Flexible work schedules and leave options are effective at easing work-care conflict and reducing the incidence of absenteeism and reduced labour force engagment.
All employers, from small business to large corporations, can provide a supportive environment for caregivers. Supporting caregivers in the workforce can yield impressive gains, including the retention of valuable employees, promoting employees' health and wellness, increasing employee productivity and commitment, and enhancing morale.
Source: Assessing the needs of employed caregivers and employers. By: Eales, Keating, Donalds, & Fast, 2015.
Learn more about employed caregivers and being an employer of choice here.