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Caregivers in the Workforce

Caregiving is a story of love, commitment, strength, endurance, determination and courage. It is a job no one is trained to do until they have to do it. It is a cherished American value.

  • The number of people who become caregivers is on the rise. About one in three people provide some formal care to a friend or relative, and the number is expected to grow to 39 million households by 2007.
  • The majority of caregivers provide care for a period of one to five years.
  • Along with their caregiving duties, 64 % of caregivers work as full or part-time employees.

Caregiving has an impact on careers. To respond to the demands of caregiving, employees need time, money and information. Balancing work and family is never easy. Each caregiver's job is different at work; different managers may be more supportive than others.

To live a balanced healthy life one needs
to keep a balance between ones physical health,
emotional health, and spiritual health.

It benefits both employer and employee to work together to provide support and solutions to the working caregiver.

There are many things you can do as an employee and caregiver to attain a balance between caregiving and work to make it a win-win situation. It is important to locate all resources available to you to maintain this balance.

Finding Balance

As a caregiver, one must first learn to take care of him or herself. It only stands to reason that a person cannot help if they are sick, too busy or unable to cope.

As a working caregiver, achieving a balance between home, work, and caregiving may require careful planning and cooperation from family and friends. Here are a few steps to help you achieve that balance:

Set Priorities

  • Decide what is important.
  • Do not forget your personal needs.
  • Separate time for family and for self.
  • Inform your supervisor or employer of your situation.
  • Make a plan that includes respite breaks for you. Include scheduled time where other family members or friends help out.
  • Quality not Quantity - Make the most of the time you do spend with your loved one. Consider home services to help with cooking, cleaning or bathing so that your time with your loved one can be quality time.

Family Meeting

  • Involve your children in planning for change.
  • Create a list of courtesies for family.
  • Encourage family to help with everyday tasks.
  • Keep a sense of humor



Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides a way for employees to balance their work and family responsibilities by taking unpaid leave for certain reasons. The Act is intended to promote the stability and economic security of families as well as the nation's interest in preserving the integrity of families.


Synopsis of Law:

Employers with 50 or more employees must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee;

  • for placement with the employee of a son or daughter from adoption or foster care;

  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or

  • to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

(Source: U.S. Department of Labor)


Talk to Your Employer

  • Learn company policy about caregiving.
  • Take advantage of flextime policies.Consider job sharing or part-time work.
  • Talk to you supervisor about caregiving issues.
  • Keep your work and caregiving responsibilities separated.