U.S. employees want back-up child and elder care

Majority of employees miss work due to breakdown in care arrangements

More than half of American employees missed three to 10 days of work last year due to a lack of back-up child- or elder-care options, according to a new survey.

A national survey of working adults commissioned by employee assistance program provider Workplace Options, found that 59 per cent of employees or their spouses missed at least one day of work in the past year and 56 per cent missed three to ten days of work because their primary care arrangements fell through.

Back-up care is needed when illness, vacation or other unexpected circumstances disrupt primary child-care or elder-care arrangements.

"With increasing numbers of working parents also having to care for elderly relatives, the need for back-up care services is rising," said Alan King, president of Workplace Options.

"For a reasonable investment, companies that invest in back-up care support services realize huge savings as a result of reduced absenteeism and higher employee productivity and retention."

When asked how valuable back-up care would be, 93 per cent of respondents said "clearly valuable" or "extremely valuable."

The demand for back-up care was equal amongst men and women, with 90 per cent of both women and men stating they were "nearly certain" or "extremely certain" they would use back-up care if it were available at their company.

When asked how comfortable they would be about using a back-up care program, 85 per cent said they would be comfortable using such programs, with little difference between men and women.

Demand for back-up care services was also strong across all income brackets. Eighty-six percent of households earning less than $30,000 US and 75 per cent earning more than $100,000 US a year said back-up care is "extremely valuable."

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