Written by:Audrey Adelson, MSW, WLCP
December 06, 2013
ReACT (Respect a Caregiver’s Time) is an employer-focused coalition dedicated to addressing the challenges faced by employee caregivers as well as reducing the impact on the companies that employ them. The coalition and its members are dedicated to increasing awareness, understanding and action around issues faced by employee caregivers by developing data and research to improve understanding and quantifying impact; identify and share best practices; and showcase employer successes. Emory University was invited to join ReACT in recognition of the work being done at the university to support employee caregivers and the implementation of the Emory Caregiver Support Program.
Over the past year, ReACT, with help from member organizations (over 40 major employers from all sectors) and AARP, has developed the online Employer Resource Guide: Four Steps for Supporting Employees with Caregiving Responsibilities, a free resource for front-line managers and human resource professionals to help provide support for the increasing number of employees with elder caregiving responsibilities. The virtual “tool kit” launched in November in honor of National Family Caregiver Month.
As Emory discovered in its 2011 working group, which explored the increasing need to support employee caregivers, the population in the United States is aging at unprecedented rates and the demands placed on family caregivers will only continue to increase. According to Gallup research, one in six American workers acts as a caregiver, and over 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day. As these trends continue, it will require employers adapt to employee caregiving as they had to do with working parents years ago.
A recent poll from Gallup shows that unpaid caregiving responsibilities keep 24 percent of employees from working more (not to mention the impact it has on their own well-being and family life). The National Alliance for Caregiving estimates that the cost of employee caregivers to employers due to lost productivity, including replacing employees, workday interruptions, absenteeism and shifts from full-time to part-time work, is estimated as high $34 billion annually.
Employers including Emory University are enhancing support for working caregivers to be proactive in addressing these productivity issues and the impact that they will have on the organization and employee well-being. The Emory Caregiver Support Program addresses policy changes, program and benefit enhancements as well as addressing cultural issues to support a more flexible work environment.
The ReACT-led Employer Resource Guide is designed to help employers get started and provide resources to support their working caregivers and proactively impact their bottom line. The website not only contains content and tips to provide immediate support to working caregivers, but also includes research and best practices for employers looking to build a program of their own.
To learn more:
ReACT Employer Resource Guide
Emory WorkLife Resource Center