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Caregiving and the workplace

Did you know that only five states offer paid family leave? 

What does this mean for the roughly 1 in 6 caregivers that are still in the workforce

Oftentimes caregivers can feel like they’re between a rock and a hard place- they can either focus on being a good caregiver or a good employee, but not both at the same time. This leads to feelings of guilt and the potential to lose promotions and raises at work.  

While not paid, you might be able to apply for the Family Medical Leave (FMLA), but there are some restrictions. Click here to learn more about FMLA

So, if you know you need accommodations at work, what are the next steps? 

  • Explain that you’re a family caregiver and what that entails. 
  • Explain that you want to talk about options in advance, before there’s a change in your caregiving responsibilities. 
  • Emphasize your commitment to your job and what you’ve done so far to balance work and caregiving (e.g., how much of your vacation time has been spend at doctor appointments?) 
  • Come to the table with ideas and brainstorm with your boss to find reasonable accommodations (remember to be realistic) 
  • Does your job offer a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? 
  • Does the company insurance offer any services or wellness programs? 
  • Can you work remotely from home one day a week or move to part time? 
  • Can you reach an understanding that you will sometimes need to make caregiving-related calls at work? 
  • Thank your boss for having this conversation with you 
  • Another option is to find other caregivers in your office and approach the boss together 

Hopefully your boss is open to brainstorming but prepare for the possibility that you might need to start looking for another job down the line if they aren’t supportive. Hopefully Michigan can join the ranks of states with paid leave and make life that much easier for parents- and caregivers.  

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