It's not only women who are struggling with career issues. Men and Millennials are also facing the challenges of working a full-time job while caring for a loved one at home.
Today, there are more individuals leaving the workforce to care for a loved one than those who are leaving it to have children. Typically, when individuals leave the workforce to have children (including adoptions) will eventually return to after several months. However, those who are caring for an elderly parent may be removed from the workforce for years.
It possible to maintain a full-time job while caring for an elderly loved one by becoming a better informed Employee and by educating our employers.
Are you running you business or having thoughts about starting your own business? Have you thought about how it would operate if you have to step away from it to care for your parent- even if it is short term?
These are all very real issues that you need to be aware of and thinking about.
Understanding your Employer's Policies
It is important to begin reviewing your Employers Handbook and set up a meeting with your supervisor as soon as you become aware of your loved ones discharge plans. In the next section, we will step you through some of the sections you should be looking at in your Employers Handbook.
There are time requirements with certain benefits your employer may offer, therefore it is important to start this process as soon as possible. Once you know what you are entitle to, then set up a meeting with your supervisor to make them aware of your new personal responsibilities and you will require some time off.
Vacation and Personal Time
When considering to take any time off to care for a loved one, your employer may permit you to take all of the time off benefits to which you are entitled.
Review your Employee Handbook about how the "time" may be used:
accrued vs. un-accrued time
Family Medical Leave Act is an extended leave benefit available to employers with more than 50 employees. It provides for up to 13 weeks of un-paid time off. During this time, your employer may retain a position for you within the company. There are guidelines on how to request this type of leave. You will need to provide at least 30 days advance notice. Reach out to your Human Resources Department to get more information on this benefit.
Family Medical Leave Act
Understanding the Benefit Policies in your Employer's Handbook
Some companies may allow employees to take Unpaid Leave. Visit with your HR Department to understand the guidelines about this Policy: limits in the amount of time permitted, is your position protected. Get a clear understanding if retaining a position with the company is a possibility upon your return - not every company guarantees a position.
Get an understanding of your Health Care Benefits. Some employers may require employees to sign up for COBRA. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act is a health insurance program that allows eligible employees and their dependents the continued benefits of health insurance coverage in the case that an employee loses their job or experiences a reduction of work hours.
Working from home may be a possibility for your position. Review your Employer's Handbook regarding this topic.
Discuss with your supervisor if you may be able to work from home, even if it is partially. There are many new technologies available today that make this a viable option - Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Share, etc.
Out of the Box Options
Maybe there is the possibility of being temporarily furloughed. Depending on your employer's situation, there may be some slow down due to economic conditions or seasonality. It does not hurt to ask your employer if being laid-off "to be recalled" could be an option.
This would give you the time you need to manage the situation with your loved one as they are recovering and still provide you with an income stream. Once their situation has become more stable, you will be able to return to work.
Workplace issues are not just affecting us as employees. It is a problem Employers are facing as well. For them, the challenge is will be replacing these talented employees who are leaving to become Caregivers full time. It has been estimated that it will cost an employer $5000 to replace each employee who leaves the workplace.
These costs are an incentive for employers to re-evaluate their Human Resource Policies in order to create a mutually beneficial working arrangement to accommodate the needs of their valuable employees.
Maybe your employer is not prepared to deal with the New Employee-Caregiver. Its not too late to get them on board with this need as an Employee.
Through programs specifically designed to support the Employee - Caregiver Workforce from CareWise, businesses can learn how to update Human Resource policies, offer EAP programs and educate team leaders in order to keep valuable full-time employees from having to give up their jobs in order to be a full-time Caregiver.
Like A Boss
Caring for an aging loved one does not come with a job description or manual. What may work for your friend and their parents, may not work for you. You have unique challenges - your relationship with them, their cultural background, their personality, your lifestyle, etc. are all contributing to your frustrations. You know you need help but you just do not how to go about it.
We were there too. Until we took a different approach, we were frustrated for years. Once we overcame the misconceptions of care giving - "it has always been done this way", "one size-fits all", "sacrifices are necessary", "this works for my friend"; we were able to take better control through implementing alternative solutions in unconventional ways and the results surprised us.
It is called the Formula Success. The way it works is by bringing all of the tools and resources necessary to support you in the role as The Caregiver.
The Caregiver role is no different than any other job. True the major difference is that the it involves your loved one, but it does not mean that you have to feel like every day is your first day at a new job. By having access to information and a variety of solutions will lead to a better experience for you and the one you are caring for.
Making A Point
Data we found on Wikipedia, helps us make a point.
A recent study says that "26.5% of all American adults today are family caregivers.
A 2012 report by the Alzheimer’s Association states that 15 million of those family caregivers are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
The value of the voluntary, "unpaid" caregiving service provided by caregivers was estimated at $310 billion in 2006 — almost twice as much as was actually spent on home care and nursing services combined.
By 2009, about 61.6 million caregivers were providing "unpaid" care at a value that had increased to an estimated $450 billion.
The most frequently asked question can I get paid to be my loved one's Caregiver? The technical answer is YES! Please note that what is being offered is not any kind of legal or tax advice. It is only to raise awareness of options that are available.
The way for a Caregiver to be paid by their parent or loved one is by creating a Long-Term Care plan with the help of an Estate Planning Attorney.
This arrangement is created through a contractual agreement. It is an actual contract between you as the Caregiver and your parent detailing how this relationship will work. This formal arrangement will permit you to be paid by your parent as if you are a Home Care Service Provider.
The agreement will outline an hourly rate, when and how the person is paid. The Caregiver will be obligated to keep official time tracking reports and then "turn them in" on a weekly basis to receive payment.
This is income you are earning for caring for your parent. Therefore when tax time comes, this income will be reported by the Caregiver and your parent will claim it as an expense.
Another way for a Long-Term Caregiver to be paid is from a Long-Term Care Insurance Policy. This one is a little more complex, therefore it is important to work with a qualified Financial Advisor
There are different strategies that with the help of an Estate Planning Attorney or Financial planner could become part of your aging parents Long-Term Care Plan that will benefit the financial well-being of the Caregiver.
Can I get paid to be my loved one's Caregiver?
The Value of the Caregiver's Time
Meet Mike Profit, Financial Planner
"Let me help you reach your financial goals."
Mike Profit, MBA. Financial Professional
"As a financial services professional, I help my clients make informed and meaningful financial decisions based on their unique values, needs and priorities."
"Together, my clients and I build a financial strategy that encourages them to think about where they've come from, where they're going, and what they'll leave behind."
Mike Profit, MPA
MassMutual Greater Philadelphia
Anastasia, Aging Parents Management
I was fortunate to have an employer who was willing to work with me. Aside from my job, I wished that I was more aware of the other impacts being my Dad's Caregiver would have on my life.
Now is the time to dig out out your Employer's handbook to review their leave policies.
Before sitting down with your employer's HR Department or your supervisor, visit CareWise Solutions.
This is also the time to have a conversation with your spouse or life partner about your relationship and how it may be impacted by these new Caregiver responsibilities. Everyone's Scenario is different. Which one best fits you? Find out here.
Make it a priority to understanding what it means to "Make Me A Priority". You cannot pour from an empty cup!
There is a way to start this process more effectively and that is by becoming more educated. Sign Up for the Aging Parents Academy