In Quebec, over half of caregivers of seniors hold a job, and most of them have to work over 30 hours a week. For many caregivers, finding and maintaining the balance between work, caring for a senior and sometimes caring for their own children too can be difficult. Here is some practical information for caregivers with jobs.
What the law says
In Quebec, labour standards protect workers under this legislation by allowing them, in certain circumstances, to take time off work due to the health of a loved one. These absences are unpaid and a medical certificate may be necessary for extended absences. The educaloi.com website has a valuable information sheet on this topic.
Statistics show that 70% of caregivers feel stress or fatigue “some or all of the time” because of their role, and 60% admit to feeling sad1. When it comes to their career, 10% of caregivers have turned down or not sought a new job or promotion because of their caregiving duties2. If this describes you, the following resources might help.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
Many organizations offer an EAP, which is designed to support employees facing personal challenges or physical or psychological health problems. Various services may be available, for example: telephone, legal or financial consultation, psychotherapy, etc. Don't hesitate to find out if your organization has such a program.
Organizations specializing in employability
Employability organizations provide services that promote job retention and integration or re-integration into the workplace, for example: guidance, counseling, individual support, group activities, etc. Some of these centres have developed expertise and special services for women and caregivers. To help you find a resource in your region, Emploi-Québec has created a directory of organizations that specialize in employability [in French].
Other community resources
Although not specifically for caregivers with jobs, community organizations offer a range of services to make your task easier and help you find balance, including help with household chores, volunteer transportation and respite services. You can find resources in your area easily by consulting the directory of resources [in French] or calling Caregiver Support at 1-855-852-7784.
Policies within your company
Many studies have shown that the challenges associated with work-caregiving balance affect not only the caregiver but also the employer. In view of this, some organizations have implemented measures and policies on work-family balance that benefit both parties, for example: flexible hours, shared time, paid leave, telework, etc.
Although awareness still needs to be raised, work-family-caregiving balance is an issue that is making strides in the public arena. Moreover, we are seeing an increasing number of businesses adopting measures conducive to balance, even among SMBs. Against this backdrop, we can now hope that caregivers will have an easier time achieving some balance between their various responsibilities.