How to Talk to Your Employer About Caregiving

How to Talk to Your Employer About Caregiving

Time spent in the office, commuting, and even staying connected after-hours can all add up to a very long day. So, where exactly does caregiving fit into that schedule?

In order to get the support you need from your employer, you may need to speak up.

For the 75 per cent of working caregivers they find the time, often, at the expense of their own well-being.

As the percentage of family caregivers in the workforce grows, so does the need for employers to recognize and support this contingent of the workforce. In order to get the support you need from your employer, you may need to speak up.

We know that conversation can be tricky to navigate — 44 per cent of working caregivers feel uncomfortable speaking to a manager and fear negative job implications as a result. As part of a healthy workplace it’s important that you and your employer have an open conversation about your caregiving situation and work together to come up with a mutually beneficial solution.

Speaking with your employer has several benefits:

  • Demonstrates that you are committed to your responsibilities at work and clarifies expectations
  • Gives your employer a better understanding of your caregiving responsibilities
  • Reduces stress related to balancing work with caregiving
  • Creates a strategy that fits both your needs

The goal of this conversation is to help you make balancing family caregiving and paid employment more manageable.

Your employer may be able to offer:

  • Flexible hours, telecommute options
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Leaves of absence (such as family caregiver or compassionate care)
  • Job sharing
  • Vacation or personal days
  • Internal support groups
  • HR policy information
  • Employee wellness programs
  • Educational programs

In addition to employer support, you may also want to look into some other caregiver relief options such as:

  • Home care
  • Respite
  • Community programs and services

Remember, you don’t have to do everything alone. Identify people around you who can help provide care or take on different responsibilities. Our article about Balancing Work and Caregiving Duties can also provide additional tips on seeking out help to find that balance.

It’s understandable to feel nervous, stressed, or concerned about revealing your caregiving role to your employer. Here are some tips to make that discussion easier and more productive:

  • Think about what you want to say and hope to get out of the conversation ahead of time. Bring notes if you need to.
  • Clearly and realistically explain your current caregiving role and how you find it impacts your work-life balance.
  • Explain ways you’ve already tried to balance work and caregiving. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t worked?
  • Be as open as you are comfortable with. The more your employer knows, the better they will understand your needs.
  • Remain flexible. The hope is that your employer will find ways to accommodate you, but you need to be open to their suggestions.
  • Come up with a plan on how to proceed. Continue the conversation with your employer, especially as needs change.

Without adequate support from employers, caregivers are prone to a number of stress-related illnesses and employers are at risk of losing good employees as caregivers leave the workforce. Read our blog post about managing work-life balance as a caregiver to learn more.

This shouldn’t be a one-time conversation. Your role as a caregiver is likely to change over time, and with that the support you need from your employer may change. Need help navigating your role as a caregiver? Contact a Caregiver Coach today — we can help by creating a personalized caregiving plan that’s just for you.




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