For employers, investments in caregivers pay for themselves

The “Sandwich Generation” has it tough. Not only are these Baby Boom parents raising kids, they’re also caring for aging relatives who demand more of their time: dressing, feeding or transporting them to doctor’s appointments.

All of this while trying to work in an office – often full-time.

Sandwichers got some good news with the release of a report claiming that employers who offer flextime and telecommuting for caregivers actually experience higher productivity along with a hefty return on investment for creating these programs.

Authored by AARP and ReACT (Respect a Caregiver’s Time), the report claims that for every dollar spent to create policies that benefit caregivers, companies saw a return on investment between $1.70 and $4.45.

In 2013, there were 40 million family caregivers in the country who provided a whopping $470 billion in unpaid care – 37 billion hours of care.

Besides flexible hours and working at home, these caregiver-friendly programs spanned an impressive array of options: adoption benefits, family leave, dependent care accounts, bereavement policies, counseling programs, domestic partner benefits, tuition reimbursement, even on-site car repair.

By quantifying the return on investment for caregiver-friendly programs, the authors claim the report, titled Determining the return on Investment: Supportive Policies for Employee Caregivers, is the first of its kind.

By 2020 the United States will need more caregivers than teachers, according to the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

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