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4 ways HR can support caregivers

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 crisis has increased the demand for employee support and resources across the globe. One group in particular who requires extra support from their employers at this time are caregivers. And, you may have...


Without a doubt, the COVID-19 crisis has increased the demand for employee support and resources across the globe. One group in particular who requires extra support from their employers at this time are caregivers. And, you may have more caregivers in your workforce than you realize. In fact, it’s estimated that 47% of all middle-age Americans are supporting parents over the age of 65 in addition to children under the age of 18. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new set of challenges for everyone, especially caregivers. As in-home care and adult day care become less attainable, caregivers are in turn forced to take on more responsibilities. So, we’ve compiled some of the biggest ways employers can help support caregivers during this time.

Let caregivers know you have their back

According to a study from Harvard Business School, approximately half of caregivers worry that their responsibilities could have a negative impact on their career growth. To counteract this misperception, consider sharing a company-wide communication acknowledging the added stress COVID-19 is placing on caregivers and make it clear that they have your support.

Share information with employees regarding relevant internal benefits that are available, as well as external resources and community services that caregivers may use for assistance. You may also want to consider adding caregiver resources like navigation support for eldercare or financial support for informal care to your current benefits program. Resources like this can assist caregivers in finding recommendations, assistance with care plans, and emotional support when they need it most.

Consider loosening leave policies or providing flexible work arrangements

Social distancing guidelines have resulted in the temporary closings of adult day care centers as well as put a temporary pause on in-home care. This adds a considerable amount of extra responsibilities on caregivers. Taking this into account, you may want to add caregiver leave if your organization does not already. 

If extra paid time off isn’t an option for your employees, then a predictable schedule may help. When employees are able to easily predict their working hours they can more easily assess needs and secure assistance as needed. 

Explore ways to provide financial support

We have seen a number of organizations implementing creative ways to provide financial support to their employees to help them through this stressful time. Some examples have included a benefit top up in their Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA), to help employees pay for informal in-home eldercare services. This can also be a way to assist employees in need of in-home childcare or financial assistance to purchase tools for virtual schooling.

Provide mental health resources

During this unprecedented time, HR teams worldwide are taking a closer look at the mental health resources available to employees. These resources can prove to be especially useful to caregivers who are experiencing added stress and anxiety. Don’t count on your employees to remember the benefits available to them, even if you’ve communicated them in the past. Sending out a reminder of your mental health program could result in higher engagement rates at this time.

If you’re not already, consider offering digital mental health resources to your benefits program. Virtual mental health resources like Inkblot and eMindful make mental health care easily accessible, even during a worldwide pandemic.

We’re all in this together

During this difficult time HR teams have been experiencing heightened demands from leadership teams and employees. In an effort to lift some of the burden on HR, we’ve created a COVID-19 resource center where we’ve shared resource guides, a COVID-19 benefits checklist, and much more.

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