Firms Urged to Accommodate Workers Engaged in Family Care
"Canada’s population is getting older, forcing a number of employees to perform eldercare, increasingly on top of childcare, which often conflicts with their work demands. In this new environment, many are urging employers to show flexibility and accommodate workers engaged in family care.
The accommodation of employee demands doesn’t have to be complete, though, said Jennifer Fantini, a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), speaking at a Toronto seminar on family status. “Employees are not entitled to request perfect accommodation—what they are entitled to request is reasonable accommodation,” Fantini explained.
As Canada’s population ages, many employees find themselves saddled with eldercare duties that require accommodation from their workplaces. Twenty percent of employed Canadians care for one elderly dependent, while 22% are responsible for two elderly dependents, according to a national work/life balance study conducted in 2011 and 2012 by professors at Carleton University and Western University. Thirty-one percent care for three or more elderly dependents, according to the survey.
Many Canadians are also engaged in childcare. Two-thirds of respondents in the work/life study are parents. Of those, 25% have kids under five, 34% have children between five and 12, and 30% have teenagers who still live at home.
And one in three respondents in that study balance both childcare and eldercare. The number of these “sandwich” workers is expected to increase in the next decade given that many Canadians wait until their 30s to have children and lifetimes are increasing, according to the survey, which polled more than 25,000 workers across the country."
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