Organizations are supporting employees through COVID-19 and beyond 

A record number of women left their careers – voluntarily and otherwise – during the pandemic. The  number quoted by the Census Bureau is roughly 3.5 million. And, despite hiring nearing an all-time high,  some women still struggle to reenter the workforce as caregiving duties continue to pull them away. The  pandemic is shedding light on many issues – one of them being the need for caregiving policies for  workers.  

Gen Xers, often dubbed the sandwich generation, are hardest hit as they’re in their peak caregiving years.  More than half of Gen X workers are caregivers and the number is expected to grow, according to a  recent MetLife study. They still have children living under their roof and increasingly find themselves  caring for aging parents. In fact, according to a report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP,  an estimated 42 million people in the U.S. provide unpaid care to those 50 and older, a 14% increase since  2015.  

Mental wellness has taken a big hit, as caregivers report anxiety, depression and PTSD at rates much  higher than those without caregiving roles. The financial impact on the caregiver is significant as well.  According to a study by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, 78% of family caregivers incur  out-of-pocket costs caring for a loved one.  

While it has been more widely discussed over the past year, action still needs to be taken to alleviate the  issues. Employers can, in part, reduce the stressors placed on caregivers trying to balance it all. 


There are many policies companies can implement to support caregivers, like unlimited or increased paid  time off or the opportunity to work remotely, and companies are adopting these types of benefits. In fact,  the talent market is demanding it. Workers know they have employment options, and they are prioritizing  

time with their families over their household’s bottom line. According to a study by Joblist, 30% of  workers would be willing to give up income for a better work-life balance. Especially for those with  caregiving duties, eliminating stress is of utmost importance.  

Employers who need experienced, loyal talent should heed the market’s demands and make these  benefits accessible to all workers. Current employees will not only appreciate it, but the benefits will give  organizations a boost to their employment brand. Word travels fast when a company truly stands behind  its employees – and in a candidate-driven market, it might be the difference between successfully filling a  position or not.  

But only a culture of care at work will make employees feel comfortable using the benefits. It’s not just the  ability to work from anywhere or the opportunity to condense the workweek, but also an understanding  that using these options won’t make co-workers or senior executives look at you any differently. This can  be engrained in an organization through leading by example – from the top down. Modeling behaviors  that set boundaries (like out-of-office notifications when you’re away from your desk or scheduling work related social events during lunch hour instead of after-hours) shows employees respect for their work-life  balance and caregiving commitments.  

Another way employers may offer support is by providing resources for employees who don’t know where  to go for help. This might mean giving employees access to eldercare planning and advisory services or  

providing lactation support or adoption benefits. Having an employee resource group for caregivers  and/or parents can help employees feel like they’re not alone. It provides a safe space at work for  employees to come together around a common experience to effect change in the workplace and create  a compassionate environment.  

Supporting career transitions that caregivers might have to make will put current employees at ease and  attract new talent to an organization. If you’re job hunting, look for phased return-to-work plans or  returnships that provide the opportunity for talent to get reacquainted with work again and adjust at their  own pace. Additionally, mentorship programs that pair workers who are in similar situations create an  openness around the issue and provide comfort to those who are struggling.  


If you’re not a caregiver yourself yet, you may still be in a position to effect change on their behalf.  Companies will find their employees have unique needs. Encourage management to add caregiving  questions to regular employee engagement or pulse surveys to gain further insight into what the  workforce feels would be helpful. The caregivers in your organization should guide what caregiving  policies to put in place. Encourage them to come to the table with ideas that would support their  situation. Candidness in discussing the matter will ensure you’re on the right track to supporting valuable  talent.  

But there is still a stigma felt by employees regarding openly talking about responsibilities that take their  attention away from work (especially by millennials, who are less likely to report their caregiving  commitments to a supervisor). According to The Caring Company report, only 24% of employers surveyed  said caregiving influenced their performance, while more than 80% of employees with caregiving  responsibilities said caregiving did, in fact, affect their ability to perform at their best. To boot, a third of  employees surveyed said they’ve left a job due to caregiving obligations.  

Honest dialogue in the workplace is a starting point that will help move caregiver – and employee –  wellness in the right direction.  


If you’re struggling to balance working and caregiving, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Here’s how:  

  • Tell your direct supervisor and HR business partner what your caregiving responsibilities entail so they  can offer support, like flexible schedules or remote working.  
  • If your company has employee resource groups for caregivers or parents, join up! You’ll build  relationships with others in your position.  
  • If you’re able, consider hiring help to take some of the responsibilities off your plate. Could you  outsource grocery shopping or cleaning every week to free up time for yourself?  



Material created by Raymond James for use by its advisors. The information contained herein has been obtained from  sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Raymond  James is not affiliated with any other entity listed herein.  

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