Why Workplace Policies Need to Keep Up with Realities of Family Care

Jun 20, 2013

By Lily Jamaludin

Imagine having to choose between caring for a loved one and trying to pay the bills. That’s the decision millions of workers in middle- and lower-income families face as more and more Americans must provide care for an older relative.

This week, the AARP released a report entitled “Keeping Up with the Times: Supporting Family Caregivers with Workplace Leave Policies.” The report highlights the necessity for public policies to address the needs of an increasing number of working caregivers. “Keeping Up with the Times” examines three public policy solutions: unpaid family and medical leave; paid family and medical leave insurance; and, earned sick time.

The AARP reports that:

-          More than 60 percent of workers aged 45-74 years old have caregiving responsibilities for an aging or other adult relative

-          17 percent of workers aged 45-74 have taken leave from a job in the past 5 years to care for an adult family member

-          Of those workers who took family or medical leave in 2012, 34 percent received no pay

-          48 percent of family caregivers who took time off for eldercare responsibilities lost income

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