April 14, 2011; By: Audrey Miller
All About Estates
“More than 2.3 million Canadian employees currently have caregiving responsibilities. Many experience work-life conflict serious enough to affect their job performance. Population aging guarantees that most of us will combine work and caregiving.” These quotes were taken from a wonderful round table discussion that I had the pleasure of attending last week, presented by WorkLifeHarmony; University of Guelph and the Centre for Families, Work & Wellbeing. This issue affects all us as we are working longer, living longer and as a result, providing care for longer.
“An aging population, a shrinking labour force, and limited resources and supports for family caregivers affect individuals and organizations across Canada. Employees caring for adults (disabled adult children, siblings, spouses, parents, grandparents, extended family members and friends) face considerable challenges fulfilling their multiple responsibilities, commitments and obligations at home and work. More than one in four Canadian employees who are caregivers experience high levels of financial, physical and/or emotional stress that can affect their health, their effectiveness as a caregiver, and their labour force participation. Many caregivers quit their jobs, reduce their hours, experience high absenteeism and forfeit career ambitions and aspirations. Their income drops, their health suffers and their stress levels rise. Economic and non-economic costs associated with caregiving are shared with employers. Surveys conducted by the Conference Board of Canada and others believe the costs to be significant. A small, but growing number of studies conducted in the U.S. and the UK, suggest that workplace flexibility leaves and career breaks, and information, resources and referrals programs that are targeted at employees with caregiving responsibilities can reduce individual and organizational costs. The extent to which Canadian employers are providing or working towards the development of policies, programs, and practices that can support employed caregivers and reduce the negative consequences of balancing caregiving and work is not yet fully understood.” (Briefing notes from “An Introduction to a Centre for Families Work & Well-being Research Study” by Donna S. Lero, Ph.D., University of Guelph & Nora Spinks, President of Work-Life Harmony Enterprises).
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Remember, you can influence change- supporting your employees and the various jobs that they have, either paid or not-is a good thing!