Employer Programs for Caregivers

Bless you, Doctor Marion for all you do.  I hope you can help give me some information.  How can I find out what my employer offers for caregivers without making a big stink about it?

Verne in Florida, 57

Employer programs to help working caregivers can cover a wide range of topics.  To take advantage of what your employer offers, start by honestly assessing your needs. 

* Do you need more time off to care for an elder loved one?

* Do you just need someone to talk to about your challenges?

* Would an extended period of paid leave alleviate your current situation?

Once you think about what you need, read your employee handbook or union guidebook to get a broad view of what your company offers.  Don’t be afraid to inquire about benefits and programs that aren’t currently in place.  Many employers today are expanding their offerings since millions of American workers are now facing various caregiving challenges. 

Here are some starter thoughts to help:

* Is there a matching component for your retirement fund, IRA, or Roth? 

* Is there a loan or educational clause in your employee/union contract so that you can learn more and advance more quickly?  These usually fall under the category of tuition reimbursement/incentives.

* Do they offer free seminars or certificate programs? 

* Does your employer off a discounted or group rate for:

Long term care insurance

Health insurance

Life insurance

Disability insurance

Eyeglasses

Local entertainment such as theaters and restaurants

Gym memberships

 

* Determine exactly what you are due:

Personal days

Sick days

Holidays

Elder care leave

Maturity leave

New baby leave

Adoption  leave

 

* Are there Lunch and Learn seminars available?  Some topics include:

Legal help

Financial help

Retirement

Healthy living

Exercise classes (tai chi, yoga,e tc.)

 

If a need is not being met and you think it’s important, be sure to bring it to your supervisor’s attention.  You never know when you might be responsible for helping introduce a new, value-added employment benefit for the rest of the company.

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