Eldercare Benefits & Relocation Policy
It is not often that a company’s relocation policy includes benefits such as caregiving services (a.k.a. eldercare benefits). It’s time to consider updating your policy. Relocation policy can be used to address many employee needs, including important needs that fall outside of the immediate family.
The Need for Eldercare Benefits
Seventeen percent (17%) of the workforce today provides care for an elderly person, usually a parent, according to AARP. The retiring of the baby boomers in the next ten plus years will cause this number to grow. These caregivers do not generally have enough money saved to be able to stop working. The net results is that caregivers have to take on additional burdens while continuing to perform on-the-job.
Middle-aged workers can find themselves in an extreme situation. Employees in their 40s and 50s are typically reaching the peak of their careers and earning power. This tends to coincide with higher stress levels and longer hours at work. On the other hand, demands made by a growing elderly population and children struggling to achieve financial independence can pull employees away from their work. According to the Pew Research Center, Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a child or financially supporting a grown one. This is the so-called sandwich generation.
Often a company’s highest-potential employees are middle-aged and also a natural target for employee development initiatives, such as international assignments. Learning the ins and outs of a second subsidiary or better understanding the culture of an important offshore team is invaluable experience that gives employees a leg up for their next promotion. Relocation policy development has always focused on the needs of the employee and immediate family members (i.e. spouse and children), but caregiving, for an employee’s aging parents for example, is not normally something that is addressed. Changing demographics require changes in approach. Now more than ever and certainly in the near future, eldercare benefits has the potential to improve offer acceptance rates among high-potential employees.
The Impact of Caregiving
The impact that caregiving responsibilities have on employees, when no assistance is offered, is well documented. According to AARP, 19% of retirees left the workforce early in order to be a caregiver. Nearly seven out of ten caregivers have made changes to their work routine because of caregiving. These adjustments include arriving late or leaving early, taking unpaid leave, working fewer hours, changing jobs or stopping work entirely. For employees in their 40s or 50s, these sacrifices can be a dead-end for their career.
As the labor market continues to tighten, competition for top talent will continue to increase. Caring for more than just the needs of an employee is critical, whether the context is recruiting or selecting candidates for international assignments. Those companies that include voluntary benefits, such as eldercare services, and who in general do a better job at anticipating all of a family’s needs are sure to have an advantage. Click here to learn more.