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Tips for Balancing Work and Caregiving

Tips for Balancing Work and Caregiving
Tips for Balancing Work and Caregiving

Your loved one is in need, and you’ve decided to take the step to become his or her caregiver. What are your options? Maybe you’re considering taking a leave of absence, adjusting your work schedule, or working remotely to help out. Below are some useful tips that may help.

Ways to Adjust Your Schedule

Tips for Requesting a Leave of Absence
Tips for Requesting a Leave of Absence

Flexible work schedule

A flexible work schedule is an alternative to a traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour work week that allows employees to vary the times they arrive at and leave work.

This practice is becoming more popular. A 2016 surveya showed that over half of employees who responded said their employer offers the option of a flexible schedule. Of those employers, participation in the flexible schedule program has remained steady, while also showing increases over the past 5 years.
aSource: Society for Human Resource Management 2016 Strategic Benefits Survey.

Working Remotely

Another option to consider discussing with your employer is working remotely. A 2016 Gallup poll showed that 43% of employees work remotely at least sometimes, which is up from 39% in 2012.

Other Things to Consider

Your rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA is a federal law that requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for people who need time off to provide care for a seriously ill child, parent, or spouse.

Who’s eligible?

The FMLA requires that the employer have 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of the employee's worksite.

An employee must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours during the last 12 months. The 12 months of work do not need to be consecutive.

Health benefits

While on leave, the employer must continue to provide health insurance benefits to the employee and his or her covered family members. An employer cannot place the employee on COBRA during the leave period.

Notice

An employee is required to give the employer reasonable notice of the need to take time off. If the need for leave is foreseeable, then the employee must give the employer 30 days' notice. If the leave is unforeseeable, then the employee must give the employer notice as soon as it is practical to do so.

Covering lost wages

While taking unpaid medical leave, disability insurance can help replace some lost wages. There are different types of disability insurance, including private disability insurance, insurance that you get through an employee benefit, state disability insurance (eg, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island), and federal long-term disability insurance.

Some states (eg, California and New Jersey) and some cities provide paid medical leave for caregivers. Check with your state's employment agency for more information.