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Caregiver leave aids retention

Tuesday October 28, 2014 Written by 
As the population ages and more Canadians find themselves caring for dying family members, workplaces are helping to "care for the caregivers."

Many employers are implementing compassionate care leave policies that provide comfort to employees, while boosting engagement and retention at work.

A recent survey by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), in partnership with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, found that 59 per cent of 692 organizations polled had formal compassionate care leave policies. These policies recognize and accommodate employees' family and dependent care responsibilities for providing end-of-life care to loved ones.

As one respondent put it, "being there for your employees when they need it the most speaks volumes about your culture."

Business benefits

Providing compassionate care benefits is also good business practice according to the survey. A majority found there were clear business benefits to providing these policies, including increased employee engagement (61 per cent) and retention (56 per cent).

Almost half of all professionals polled (49 per cent) said having a policy makes it easier for employees to return to work and re-integrate in the work team after caring for a loved one.

"These numbers speak to the fact that not only do compassionate care policies help employees through very difficult times, they also make good business sense," said Bill Greenhalgh, CEO of HRPA. "Providing accommodations for employees caring for family members at end of life is one of the ways to reduce caregiver stress and avoid burnout. Workers who are supported through situations like this are more loyal and are more likely to stay with the company."

"With the exponentially aging baby boomer population, compassionate care benefits are quickly becoming an essential aspect of organizational policy," agreed Sharon Baxter, executive director of CHPCA. "Employees need the reassurance that they will be secure should they need to take a temporary leave to care for and support a gravely ill family member."

The compassionate care leave survey polled 692 HRPA members in June and July.

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