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Disparity: Employers Favor Parents Over Caregivers

Your company may be family-friendly, but are you providing all your employees with equal benefits? Most employers are not.


A S&P Global study concluded that workplaces are more supportive of parents than other family caregivers. The study examined corporate America’s family-leave policies and found:

  • Overwhelmingly, family-friendly policies favor parents over those caring for an adult.

  • Companies are not as familiar with the issue of family caregiving for adults, yet the time commitment for at-home responsibilities are comparable.

  • Employers often do not have a formal written policy focused on employees providing care to aging relatives, family friends, or loved ones. Instead they handle it on a case-by-case basis; thereby creating inequalities.

  • The more generous the family-friendly policies are at a company, the stronger the returns and the lower the turnover rate. Companies considered to have generous policies have both child care and elder care.


Lack of Awareness, Not Lack of Need

Not only are employers less knowledgeable about the needs of family caregivers of adults as compared to the needs of parents, they often do not even know how many employees are caring for an adult.

According to the Caregiving in the US 2020 study, only 53% of caregivers said their employer is aware of their caregiving role, and yet over 1 in 5 employees provide care and support to an older adult.



The Caregiving Stigma

It is not surprising that employees are more likely to discuss their child care needs with their employer rather than their elder care needs. When discussing their children, employees share both challenges and accomplishments - there is often a sense of pride as their children achieve benchmarks. This is very different from how we view the challenges our aging loved ones are facing and the resulting emotions that we have.

Employees feel support from their employers as it relates to their children, but they do not sense the same support in caring for an adult, especially if the adult is not a parent but another relative or friend. This divide between the two groups enforces the need for greater education on the issue of family caregiving and the necessity to remove the stigma by communicating its importance.


What You Can Do

It’s time to take action. According to the US Census Bureau, older adults will outnumber children by 2034. You are already committed to being a family-friendly employer so make sure that you are including all or your employee caregivers.

  1. Review your current family policies and make them inclusive to all family caregivers.

  2. Educate yourself and your management team on the needs of family caregivers, and extend learning opportunities to your employees - many of whom may be in caregiving roles yet do not identify themselves as such. Companies like Mellie can provide personalized training on caregiving and elder care topics.

  3. Expand your offerings - add elder care benefits to compliment your existing child care benefits. Learn more about Mellie’s comprehensive solution for family caregivers.


Contact us to explore how we can support you in creating a workplace that is more supportive of family caregivers and create more equity among your employees.

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