Life can throw us some unexpected curveballs, and one of the biggest obstacles you might have to face is becoming a caregiver for your loved one. Whether it’s from an illness, accident, or simply old age, you might be pressed into the line of duty as a caregiver. However, it’s not likely that you can quit your job and take care of your senior full-time, and that’s where paid leave comes in. Paid leave as a caregiver will give you the opportunity to take care of your loved one without having to stress over the financial burden. While not all companies offer this, it’s still something that should be explored. It’s normal to take time off to care for yourself, but what about when we need to care for others? Before you can make this commitment, there are a few people you should discuss things with.
Paid Leave As a Caregiver- What You Need to Know
Discuss With Your Senior
Before you can start on the journey towards paid leave as a caregiver, the most important discussion you can have is with the loved one you’ll be taking care of. While you may think that you need to take care of them, the feeling might not be reciprocated. This doesn’t mean that your loved one doesn’t want you around, it might be because they do not want to put that burden on you or they would feel more comfortable receiving care from a professional caregiver or they may prefer to live in a senior living community. If your senior is able to afford a professional caregiving service, that may be the best option. The most important thing to remember is to make your loved one as comfortable as possible.
However, if your senior is okay with you becoming his or her caregiver, make sure you set boundaries as early as possible. While you will be taking paid leave as a caregiver, it’s still important that you have some privacy and “me” time. Communication will be vital as you begin to work on this new aspect of your relationship with your senior.
Discuss With Your Employer
Almost as important as talking things over with your senior is discussing paid leave as a caregiver with your employer. Currently, most states do not have any regulations that call for mandatory paid leave. However, a few states, like California, offer up to 6 weeks of paid leave to care for a loved one, so before you approach your employer, make sure to do some research to find out exactly what you’re entitled.
A recent LinkedIn study showed that to most employees (and Millennials in particular), benefit packages are a major consideration. In fact, according to the study, benefit packages were important to:
- 64% of Millennials
- 54% of Gen X’ers
- 51% of Baby Boomers
This is exactly why many employers are offering paid leave a caregiver to their employees. Make sure you ask them how much paid leave is available and what the application process is like. Communicating with your job will make the transition into the caregiver role easier for both you and your company.
Forbes Magazine reports that more than 15% of the American workforce is comprised of family caregivers, while The Wall Street Journal reports that “nearly 17% of Americans over age 18 — about 40 million people — provide unpaid care to an adult.”
As your loved one ages, it’s important for you to figure out the best way to care for them and sometimes paid leave as a caregiver is the best option.