Good news working daughters! Deloitte, one of the largest professional services firm in the world, today announced the company will offer up to 16 weeks of fully paid family leave to eligible employees to support not just parenting, but eldercare, spousal care and other family issues too. In a press release, CEO Cathy Engelbert said, “By adding support for eldercare, spousal care, and children beyond the birth stage, Deloitte’s family leave program provides our people with the time they need to focus on their families in important times of need.”
Earlier this year Deloitte conducted an online poll of 1,000 employed adults across America with access to employer benefits, and found that nearly nine in ten respondents (88 percent) would value their organizations expanding leave policies to include family care beyond parental leave.
Of course they would. As I wrote in The Atlantic earlier this year, “There are very few support programs, formal or informal, in place to support family caregivers, many of whom are struggling at work and at home. Working daughters often find they need to switch to a less demanding job, take time off, or quit work altogether in order to make time for their caregiving duties. As a result, they suffer loss of wages and risk losing job-related benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings, and Social Security benefits.” That’s just not sustainable for caregivers, nor for our elderly who rely on family, nor for businesses that lose an estimated $3.3 billion replacing caregivers who quit their jobs.
Deloitte’s announcement is a strong acknowledgement that family-friendly workplace policies must extend past parenting needs. It is an important reminder that supporting elder caregivers is a business imperative. And, hopefully, it is the start of a trend among employers everywhere.
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