More and more workers are fighting back against employers who are unsympathetic when they need time off to care for family members. “In the past 10 years, the number of such suits [against employers] has quadrupled and many have been successful,” according to the Center for WorkLife Law. NPR reports, “More people have elderly parents that they need to care for,” says Cynthia Calvert of the Center for WorkLife Law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says they have received a noticable uptick in the number of workplace complaints by people who need to provide care for family members. As a result, they have developed new rules and guidelines for employers who wish to avoid a lawsuit.
For employees, the Princeton Daily Clarion offers a few tips for making sure that your arrangements with your employer meet both of your needs:
Talk to your supervisor at work about your caregiving responsibilities, so he or she knows what difficulties you may experience. Offer to make up any work time you take off for caregiving.
Find out your company’s policy on caregivers. It may offer benefits or services that can help. Take advantage of flex time policies at work. Consider working part-time or job sharing.
Ask your human resources department for information on the Family and Medical Leave Act. This allows up to 12 weeks a year unpaid leave for family caregivers who meet certain requirements.
Always thank your coworkers, friends and family for their help and consideration. Offer to help them with heavy family responsibilities.