BY MARTI CARDI, VP-PRODUCT COMPLIANCE
It is not often that trends in life, legal issues, and employment practices coincide, but we are in that situation now. Increasing numbers of employees have caregiver responsibilities for family members – children, elderly parents, family members with health needs, and others. The legal protections for caregiver employees are broad and numerous, and growing every year. Some employers are trying to get ahead of these issues by implementing family-friendly policies and benefits to assist employees dealing with caregiver responsibilities. With approximately 1 in 6 American workers concurrently serving as caregivers for family members, we are seeing:
- An increase in state laws that provide workplace protections and benefits – think state paid family and
medical leaves like California, New York, and others. Washington State, District of Columbia, and
Massachusetts have passed PFML laws and are on the horizon. Watch this blog for reports on developments.
- An increase in family caregiver benefits offered voluntarily by employers – partly to be competitive in this
tight hiring market but also because it is the right thing to do. You can take look at what leading companies
are doing regarding voluntary paid maternity, parental, and caregiver leave benefits in this resource from the
National Partnership for Women and Families:
Leading on Leave: Companies With New or Expanded Paid Leave Policies (2015-2018).
- Increased employee success in lawsuits and EEOC charges based on caregiver responsibilities. For an excellent
summary, check out Caregivers in the Workplace – Family Responsibilities Discrimination Litigation Update 2016.
The Work/Life Squeeze: Policies and Protections for Caregiver Employees. The DMEC’s Annual Conference is being held in Austin August 6-9. I will have the pleasure of presenting on workplace caregiver issues during the conference. My share of the presentation will focus on the legal protections (FMLA, ADA, Title VII, state laws, etc.). My co-presenter is Jim Tierney, Sr. Program Manager, Total Absence Management, Corporate Benefits from Medtronic. He will discuss Medtronic’s new industry-leading caregiver paid leave program – providing not just paid maternity and bonding leave, but also paid leave for many other caregiver reasons, such as caring for an ill family member.
Please join Jim and me at the DMEC conference if you will be there – 1:30-2:30 Wednesday, August 8.
Medtronic, based in Minneapolis, is a global leader in medical technology, services, and solutions.
Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) is a national association dedicated to providing focused education, knowledge, and networking for absence and disability professionals. Visit their website at http://dmec.org/.
We previously wrote about caregiver workplace protections in this blog post. It is still up to date except for the expansion of states that now or in the near future will provide paid family and medical leave benefits.
MATRIX CAN HELP! Matrix provides leave, disability, and accommodation management services to employers seeking a comprehensive and compliant solution to these complex employer obligations. We monitor the many leave laws being passed around the country and specialize in understanding how they work together. For leave management and accommodation assistance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.