Did you know 30 to 35% of your employees are caregivers?

Why support working caregivers:

Caregivers assist family members or friends who have challenges resulting from a disability, illness or aging. Supporting your caregiving employees can make a sustainable, positive impact for your organisation. And, as the Canadian population ages, a greater proportion of the workforce will have significant responsibilities for providing care. There are benefits to retaining skilled employees rather than recruiting and training new staff.

Benefits of supporting caregivers at work

Four in five employed caregivers report missing paid work for up to 5 consecutive days off. In fact, $1.3 billion in workplace productivity is lost annually due to caregiving. Imagine if we supported our employee-caregivers.

The business case for supporting working caregivers:

  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce stress and sick leave
  • Attract and retain staff
  • Cost savings
  • Foster creativity and innovation
  • Improve job satisfaction and morale
  • Improve service delivery

Creating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has developed a Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace standard. Launched in 2013, this voluntary standard specifies requirements for a documented and systemic approach to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.

Download the Assessment and Control of Psychological Hazards in the Workplace
Download the Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace standard
Download the Implementation Guide

Caregiving without jeopardizing work status is a human right

Section 7 of the Alberta Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination due to family status. This means employers have a legal obligation to accommodate employees, if possible. Family status protection includes those who are obligated to care for disabled, severely ill or or elderly family members. The Canadian Human Rights Act covers this as well.

Download the “Human Rights, Family Status, Caregiver Responsibilities and the Workplace” (Vanier Institute)
Download A guide to Balancing Work and Caregiving Obligations

Work & Care in Action

The below organizations have implemented carer-friendly policies to create inclusive and supportive work environments for their team members.

Workers’ Compensation Board

Flexible work options to balance home and work life. 24-hour access to an Employee & Family Assistance Program.

HP Advanced Solutions

Employees have 10 paid personal days and start with 3 weeks of paid vacation.

Sas Institute North Carolina

Credits its low employee turnover rate (less than 4 percent) to its work/life programming and support.

McGraw-Hill Education

Allows employees to enroll one other adult family member, such as a parent, in their health insurance plan at regular family rates.

First Tennessee Bank

Found that implementing workplace flexibility created a 50% higher retention rate. Bank determined that as “employee satisfaction increased, customer retention increased by 7%.


Offers a “Personal Care” program that provides employees with up to 50 hours of paid time off annually to help with a range of personal matters, such as family emergencies and personal appointments.

Ivanhoe Cambridge

Full-time employees receive compassionate leave top-up payments when called upon to care for a loved one (to 80% of salary for 8 weeks).

Pricewaterhouse Coopers

“Sick days” can be used not just for one’s own illness, but also to care for a sick child, parent or spouse. Also provides a “Special Needs Caregivers Circle” to help employees find the resources they need to balance work/life responsibilities.

Aetna Insurance

Cut attrition in half after implementing a part-time return-to-work program after family leave, saving more than $1 million annually.

Chicago Children’s Memorial Hospital

Offers employees 20 days of backup care annually for each elderly dependent.

Ernst & Young

Reported a significant decrease in turnover rates after adopting family-friendly policies and benefits and estimate their savings in turnover costs at $17 million.

Baptist Health South Florida

Offers backup care for employees caring for family members. In the first nine months of the program, the company realized $65,000 in savings related to reduced absenteeism.

Supports for employees can extend beyond caregivers — numerous organizations will allow employees to use sick-leave donations for additional time off. This works by letting employees donate sick-leave time to general accounts that other employees can access as needed.

Some employers will also provide a range of alternative work arrangements to their employees which can include working from home, flex hours, shortened work weeks, earned days off, job sharing and more.