ReACT Launches Employer Resources to Enhance Caregivers’ Productivity in the Workplace
Cross-sector Coalition Leads Business Response to Exploding Elder Caregiving Needs
Washington, DC (November 20, 2013) – Today, in recognition of National Caregiver’s Month, ReACT (Respect A Caregiver’s Time) announces the launch of its Employer Resource Guide: Four Steps for Supporting Employees with Caregiving Responsibilities, a free resource for front-line managers and human resource professionals to help provide support for the increasing number of those with elder caregiving responsibilities in the workplace – a trend with potentially detrimental personal, social and economic consequences.
“For employers of all shapes and sizes, the greatest opportunity for talent recruitment, retention and employee satisfaction is to provide for the growing needs of Americans serving in the dual role of employee and caregiver,” said Drew Holzapfel, convener of ReACT. “ReACT’s new tools will give employers guidance as they strive to maximize productivity and manage costs in today’s aging society.”
Across the United States, there are approximately 42 million unpaid family caregivers caring for older adults, and of those, nearly three quarters also maintain employment. As the population ages at unprecedented rates, the demand for informal elder care will only increase. Currently, one in six American workers acts as a caregiver, and over 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day. These trends will require employers to adapt to employee caregiving as the “new normal.”
A recent poll from Gallup shows that unpaid caregiving responsibilities keep 24 percent of employees from working more. The National Alliance for Caregiving estimates that the cost of employee caregivers to employers due to lost productivity, including replacing employees, workday interruptions, absenteeism and shifts from full-time to part-time work, is estimated as high $34 billion annually.
“Family caregivers are this invisible army that employers are slowly starting to appreciate,” said Debra Whitman, Executive Vice President Policy, Strategy and International Affairs, AARP. “Too many times the biggest issue for caregivers isn’t just taking care of a loved one, but it’s how to do that and juggle their job.”
In an effort to celebrate and support working caregivers, the ReACT’s new resource, Employer Resource Guide: Four Steps for Supporting Employees with Caregiving Responsibilities and new website (www.aarp.org/react), which is part of AARP’s online Caregiver Resource Center, will provide employers with the tools they need to open channels of communication about caregiving in the workplace, embrace caregiving as the new normal and find ways to address employees’ needs for flexibility.
ReACT will launch these tools today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during a roundtable event titled “Supporting Working Caregivers: An Employer Imperative.” The event begins at 11:30 a.m. EST and is open to the media.