Companies Expanding Family Care Leave Due To COVID-19, According to S&P Global/AARP Report

Nearly 60% of employees working for large U.S. companies are spending increased time on childcare and family caregiving since the outbreak of COVID-19, according to a new joint study commissioned by S&P Global and AARP.

The report, entitled Something’s Gotta Give, analyzes the U.S. private sector’s adoption of family leave and flexible policies in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Survey data from 1,600 employees of companies with more than 1,000 employees was used to compile the report.

According to the findings, while COVID-19 could drastically accelerate expansion of family care leave and flexible work policies in corporate America, it could also set women back significantly in the labor force as a disproportionate amount of caregiving responsibilities still falls to them.

The research includes interviews with 12 key executives who personally leveraged care leave and provided perspectives about how companies can most effectively embrace these policies.

Several executives voiced fears that the pandemic will significantly set back women’s advancement in the workforce.

In addition to formal parental and family caregiving leave, interviewees stressed flexibility as key to recruiting and retaining women.

The report found that companies offering flexibility or subsidized/back-up elder or childcare tend to see lower turnover rates for women, which is critical as women leave the workforce in record numbers in the wake of the pandemic.

Half of family caregivers surveyed said their responsibilities have increased since the pandemic started.

According to the National Alliance for Caregivers and AARP’s “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020” study, approximately 48 million people provide unpaid care to an adult loved one, which could include a parent, spouse, partner or friend with a chronic, disabling or serious health condition.

As the U.S. population continues to age, the number of people needing care is only expected to rise.

“One in six Americans were already juggling work and family caregiving responsibilities prior to COVID-19, and their unique challenges have only expanded as they try to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “Supporting these dedicated employees with caregiver-friendly workplace policies will help foster a stable and healthy workforce, throughout the pandemic and beyond.”

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