Employer Programs

  • Talk to your HR department to learn about assistance programs before you need to take time off to provide care.
  • The Family Medical Leave Act enables working caregivers to take up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave to provide care.
  • Your employer’s Employee Assistance Program may provide counseling and referrals to help with caregiving and personal issues.

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Many employers offer programs to ease the personal, practical, and financial strains of caregiving. If possible, talk to your supervisor or HR department about these programs before you urgently need to take time off. A sudden change in your loved one’s condition might require you to make arrangements quickly, so the sooner you learn about available support, the better.

Companies with 50 or more employees must adhere to the Family Medical Leave Act, a federal program that allows working caregivers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. To qualify, you must have worked for the employer for at least 1,250 hours over the course of at least 12 months.

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Some states, including California, provide paid family leave for caregivers. Contact your state’s health department for details. For short-term caregiving needs, some employers may allow you to use your own accumulated sick time.

Many employers have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides free, confidential referrals to services that can help with personal challenges, including eldercare, that can interfere with productivity. EAP counselors are increasingly attuned to the challenges faced by working caregivers, as well as services that can help.

Also ask your employer about Flexible Spending Account arrangements, in which you set aside part of your pay to fund services for dependents such as adult day care, resulting in tax advantages. Be sure to confirm that your expenses are eligible for reimbursement before setting up the annual deduction amounts.

Some employers provide caregiver training, educational fairs, and even caregiving support groups. Your employer’s long-term care insurance benefit may help you provide for your family’s future care needs.

A variety of community programs can also help. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging by searching our government agency listings, visiting the Eldercare Locator, or looking in the phone book under “Senior.”

Content shown was developed in collaboration between AGIS and Family Caregiver Alliance.