Back in 2014, Employee Benefits released an article debating the demand to introduce Eldercare as a workplace benefit. So 3 years on, how much progression have we made?
According to research by My Family Care and Hydrogen, less than one in ten (9%) employer respondents offer emergency adult and eldercare support. The Childcare and family friendly benefits: employer survey and parental leave benchmark report, which surveyed 300 HR professionals, also found that 12% of respondents provide back up care for childcare emergencies.
So why 3 years on are we still naive in belief that we should be implementing eldercare as a statutory benefit more efficiently? Well an article from HR magazine from 2015 by Andrew Smith, operations director at relocation specialist HCR has some thoughts:
We as employers and HR professionals are fully aware of this. We have a growing number of colleagues facing the rigours of caring for an elderly loved one while doing their utmost to make it into work and look like there’s nothing amiss.
Finding yourself in a situation where your elderly parent(s) can no longer cope independently in their own home is not something people like to think or talk about, so planning for these circumstances is quite rare.
When it does happen, asking for help is difficult and awkward. Many feel they could be dispensable and are wary of showing any signs of weakness. But as employers, we know our businesses need these workers the most because they’re good at juggling, determined to meet their obligations, both at work and at home. And because they’re resilient, they don’t give up easily.
So how do you help those who don’t ask for it? Communicating is a good start – and introducing an open culture where the availability of eldercare is almost a given. Just 20 years ago, the idea of childcare was an ideal, but certainly not commonplace. Now it is high on the list in any UK human resources policy.
Introducing eldercare as an employee benefit is relatively straightforward – give workers access to helplines and specialists who can advise on and manage the needs of elderly relatives. These schemes are comprehensive and look after everything, from talking through the possibility of extra care at home, to discussing the stressful fact that parents can no longer cope independently, and may need to move into residential care.
Eldercare services also provide access to qualified financial advisers, specialising in care fees planning and the financial affairs of older people, as well as hands-on support when dealing with property and personal possessions. Solicitors for the elderly are used to ensure all legal safeguards are met.
Making sure everyone within your organisation – not just those you suspect need help – know about what’s on offer is crucial. Educate your entire staff about your eldercare offering.
With an ageing workforce and longer life expectancy of the UK population as a whole, eldercare will soon become a more sought after and valuable benefit.