5 Ways to Support Employees with Sick Family Members

a mother smiles at her daughter holding a teddy bear on the hospital bed

In a survey done by Pew Research Center, 48% of the American respondents admitted that they have either taken leave before to care for a sick family member or are likely to do so in the coming months for the same reason. This number shows that many employees struggle to balance work and take care of a sick family member.

Your employees are likely to experience the same thing, which is why it’s crucial for you, as their employer, to be understanding and supportive. Here are five ways you can offer resources and assistance to your employees who have sick family members:

1. Offer flexible work arrangements.

If your employees need to take time off to care for a sick family member, consider offering them flexible work arrangements. This could include working from home, modified hours, or taking leave in increments rather than all at once.

Allowing your employees to have a bit of flexibility can go a long way in helping them balance their work and their family responsibilities. If an employee needs to take their child to doctor’s appointments, you could allow them to work from home in the morning and make up the hours later in the day.

In essence, offering flexible work arrangements shows your employees that you understand their situation and are willing to work with them to find a solution that works for both parties.

2. Provide paid leave.

Another way you can support employees with sick family members is by providing paid leave. This ensures that your employees won’t have to choose between caring for their loved ones and making ends meet. Paid leave also shows that you value your employees’ well-being and that you’re willing to invest in their health and happiness.

It also helps to make sure your employees are aware of all their leave options. Your employees might not be aware of all the different types of leave they can take care of a sick family member, so it’s essential to educate them on their options.

For example, the Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA ensures that employees eligible for the program can redeem up to a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for certain family-related and medical reasons. If your employees are covered by the FMLA, ensure they know they can take advantage of this leave.

3. Offer resources and assistance.

You can also support employees with sick family members by offering resources and assistance. This could include providing information about local resources, setting up appointments with specialists, or covering the cost of transportation to and from doctor’s appointments.

For example, you can recommend reliable home health aide services to employees who need help caring for an elderly family member. Or, you could provide a list of reputable pediatricians in the area to employees who have sick children.

Offering resources and assistance shows your employees that you want to help them in any way you can. Whatever you can do to ease the burden on your employees will be appreciated.

a female home health aide talks to an elderly patient

4. Make accommodations as needed.

If an employee needs to take extended time off for caregiving, consider making accommodations as needed. This might mean hiring a temporary replacement or rearranging workloads so that the employee can take the time they need without falling behind.

Making accommodations shows that you’re willing to work with your employees to make sure their needs are met. It also shows that you understand the importance of family and that you’re eager to do what it takes to help employees care for their loved ones.

Keep in mind that not all accommodations will be possible in every situation. But, if you’re able to make even a slight adjustment, it can go a long way in supporting your employees.

5. Check-in regularly.

Finally, make sure to check in with your employees who are caring for sick family members on a regular basis. Ask how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can do to help them out. Showing genuine concern for your employees’ welfare will let them know that you care about them and their families.

Not only that, but taking care of an ill loved one takes a toll on both the body and the mind. So, checking in with your employees will also give you a chance to see if they’re struggling and offer any additional support they might need.

Offering support to employees with sick family members is vital for both the employees and the company. Showing your employees that you’re willing to help them through tough times can help improve morale and increase productivity in the long run.

Caring for a sick family member is no easy task—but it’s even harder when you’re trying to balance work and family responsibilities. As an employer, you can support your employees who are in this situation by offering flexible work arrangements, providing paid leave, and offering resources and assistance. By helping your employees during this challenging time, you show that you value them personally and are committed to investing in their health and happiness.

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