Study: Impacts of caregiver-friendly workplace policies

Intervention Study Webpage Information

Who Are CEs? Impacts on CEs Impacts Employers

Impacts Workforce Strategies Our Research Current Studies

Who are caregiver-employees?

  • * Caregiver-employees (CEs): employees who are working while providing unpaid care to adult family members or friends with age-related needs or disabilities
  • * 5.6 million Canadians provide unpaid care to a family member or friend while also engaged in paid employment
  • * 50% of caregiver-employees are between the ages of 45-65, representing the most experienced population of employees in the labour market

How does this potentially impact the caregiver-employee?

  • * Increased stress from work-life imbalance
  • * Negative impacts on physical & mental health
  • * Lost time from work
  • * Lost career opportunities
  • * Early retirement
  • * Decreased lifetime earnings

How does this potentially affect the employer?

  • * Decreased productivity

  • * Decreased employee retention

  • * Loss of skilled employees

  • * Increased absenteeism

  • * Increased employee turnover

How does this potentially impact the workforce?

  • * Negative impact on work culture from perceptions of unsupportive organization
  • * Work overload for colleagues of caregiver-employees
  • * Lower job satisfaction and level of engagement
  • * Higher employee turnover

One strategy to address this is through Caregiver-Friendly Workplace Policies

What are Caregiver-Friendly Workplace Policies (CFWPs)?

  • * Organizational changes in the workplace (either through policy or practice) that reduce work-family conflict and support caregiver-employees in the workplace
  • * Examples of CFWPs include: 1) Support Services, 2) Work Arrangements,
    3) Paid/unpaid leave, and 4) Workplace Culture Change Initiatives

Caregiver-Friendly Workplace Policies:

  • * Reduce absenteeism
  • * Increase productivity
  • * Lost time from work
  • * Engage employees
  • * Increase retention of skilled staff
  • * Increase your company's competitive advantage

Our Research

New research by McMaster University is exploring how workplaces can support employees providing unpaid care to family or friends with age-related needs or disabilities. The project is a 3-phase study that will help employers implement caregiver-friendly policies and practices in the workplace.

The goal of this research project is to apply caregiver-friendly interventions in a workplace and identify the impact that these interventions canhave upon employee health and wellness and a company's operational success.

How can your company get involved?

1) Reach out to us! For more information, contact our research assistant, Alix MacLean ( who will be happy to help determine if your company can participate in this research

2) Meet with us at your workplace - Dr. Allison Williams ( is an expert in the field of caregiver-employees and holds the CIHR Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health. Invite her to come to your workplace to introduce the project and outline the beneficial impacts of caregiver-friendly policies!

3) Participate in the full study! The study would run, beginning in the Fall of 2016 and continue for 12 months.

In participating your company will gain...

1. An online decision-making tool, tailored specifically to your company's services, policies and accommodations for caregiver-employees

2. Three educational workshops offered to company supervisors / managers to increase knowledge of good practice in supporting caregiver-employees

3. Increased understanding of caregiver employees in your workplace through information collected across the study

The study will involve 3 phases:

Phase A)

  • * Involves recruiting 40 company employees who are working full-time while also providing care to an adult relative or friend with age-relate needs or disabilities

  • * Each participant will complete a survey on their care recipient, the care they provide, the supports/accomodations that they have made use of in the workplace and the community, and their overall health & well-being

  • * They will then participate in an educational session, where we would provide them with a company-specific Web-based Decision Making Tool; it would not only cover information on supports/leaves available by the state and the community, but also specific accomodations offered by your workplace

  • * Employees will be able to fill in information about themselves and their care recipient and the tool would generate information on potential leaves, supports, and services for which they may be eligible

  • * The participants would complete two follow-up surveys

Phase B)

  • * Involves a voluntary educational workship provided to company supervisors

  • * The workshop involves a presentation to 75 supervisors on good supportive practices for supervisors of caregiver-employees

  • * All supervisors who attend will be invited to participate in a voluntary follow-up self-monitoring exercise in which they can track their interactions with caregiver-employees

Phase C)

  • * Involves a survey, sent out via e-mail, to all the employees of the company. All responses will be voluntary & anonymous

  • * The survey will look at workplace culture

Information & Resources

Get the facts to help you make the case for a CFWP program in your workplace!

  • * For more information on caregiver-friendly policies, click here
  • * For information on some of our other past & current research, click here
  • * Check out this article from The Globe & Mail on caregiver-friendly employers