According to the 2010 MetLife Study of Working Caregiver and Employer Health Costs report, sixty percent of family caregivers provide care for a loved one while also working outside the home. These responsibilities take a toll on health, emotions and family life.
Many caregivers are unfamiliar with protections afforded them by the government and organizations that can assist them in providing care for their loved one.
Federal Workplace protection is available in several forms:
- Caregivers can find protection under provisions set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If a woman is treated differently than her peers because of her caregiving responsibilities or a man is denied leave for the same responsibilities, protection may be afforded.
- The Family Medical Leave Act of 1994 provides employees the right to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave over a 12-month period. Those caring for Veterans are allowed up to 26 weeks under the Support for Injured Servicemen Act of 2007. Certain qualifications must be met which can be found on the Department of Labor’s site.
- While on extended leave a caregiver’s employer must continue to provide existing health benefits and hold their job if all qualifications are met.
Not all caregivers need workplace protection. Many simply need support services and resources to help make their job a little less daunting. Many organizations provide classes and training online or at a specified location.
- American Red Cross Family Caregiver Classes; The purpose of Family Caregiver Support Classes is to help participants gain an understanding of what is involved in caring for a loved one and know how to provide that care through eight one-hour class modules covering topics such as personal care, nutrition, home safety and others.
- National Association of Area Agencies on Aging; Provides information and helps older persons and persons with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
- The National Adult Day Services Association; The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) is the leading voice of the rapidly growing adult day service industry in the United States, and the national focal point for adult day services providers.
More Caregiving Support Groups can be found on our Support Groups page.
When it comes to providing this much-needed care, remember to take care of yourself and seek help as needed. There is no shame in admitting you need assistance whether it be a result of workplace discrimination or simply finding someone to give advice or provide respite care in your absence.