- Managers generally lack training on workplace benefits and resources available for caregivers, according the July 16 results of a Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) survey.
- Of the 300 employers polled, 58% said supervisors had not received such training; the rest were split between having trained managers and being unsure whether such training took place. Respondents most commonly ranked their caregiving supports such as leave, counseling and subsidized benefits as "fair," saying other initiatives were more pressing.
- When asked what percentage of their workforces were affected by family caregiving responsibilities, those polled most commonly selected "26-50%." Elder caregiving responsibilities affect "6-15%" of their workforces, respondents most often estimated.
Nearly three-quarters of employees may have caregiving responsibilities, according to recent research from Harvard Business School cited by DMEC. "American companies are facing a caregiving crisis — they just refuse to acknowledge it," the researchers said. Employers tend to underestimate the costs of caregiving, namely attrition, according to the report.
The situation may be worsening during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Women, in particular, are shouldering a greater share of childcare responsibilities created by pandemic-related closures, according to Boston Consulting Group research. Those shifts are expected to take a toll on women's labor force participation, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
Some employers have responded with new offerings targeted toward caregivers, including Verizon and online education company Chegg, which announced in April a childcare reimbursement of $500 per family.
But as the DMEC research concluded, there may be a communication gap with respect to such offerings. "We all get our benefits when we walk in the door and every year when we renew our benefits," Ivor Horn, then-chief medical officer at healthcare tech solutions firm Accolade, previously told HR Dive. "But how many of us really know and understand that list? How many of us know at the right time what the information is?"
HR professionals can work to ensure benefits are communicated year-round, not only during open enrollment, sources say; and they can train managers not only to communicate those benefits as well, but to spot caregiving issues and open conversations about needs and resources.