Mary Alexander: Hi, I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. And today I am talking about how to balance work and in-home care. Now we are going to talk about some employer offered programs and alternative work options that might give you more time for your care giving responsibilities.
First, let's talk about the Family Medical Leave Act. This program is managed by the US Department of Labor and is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. If you work for a public agency, any public or private elementary or secondary school or a company with 50 or more employees, you may be entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protected leave per year, including leave to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. Other stipulations are that you must have worked for your employer at least 12 months. And have worked at least 1250 hours. The Family Medical Leave Act also requires that your group health benefits be maintained during your leave. You should visit your employer's Human Resource's office to determine if you are eligible for this program.
Another employer's sponsored program that you should check into is an Employee Assistance Program or EAP. EAPs are offered by many employers. Typically in conjunction with the Health Insurance Plan or Wellness Benefit. EAPs are intended to help employees deal with personal problems, such as caring for aging parents that might adversely impact their work performance, health and wellbeing. EAP Councilors typically provide assessment, support and if needed referrals to additional resources. EAP services are usually free and confidential. Truly these services can be very beneficial in finding some help to ease your care giving stress.
Other than time off and assistance programs, other ways you can work with your employer to create more balance between your work and care giving needs are through alternative work schedules. Let's talk about some of those.
Instead of going into the office everyday some employers allow employees to Telecommute. Basically to Telecommute means to work from home or some other remote location. For instance, you could setup shop with a laptop and cellphone from your parent's kitchen. And still work while also attending to your care giving needs. Another alternative work option is Job Sharing. Job Sharing is when two people share the same position in a company, with each working a part of the week. Job sharing allows two or more individuals to share a single full time job, creating flexibility and freedom while still maintaining the benefits and salary on a prorated basis.
Compressed work weeks are helpful to those generally who need about one day off a week. In many cases compressed work weeks has you working 40 hours in fewer than 5 days. The most widely used schedule is 10 hour days for four days a week. Another arrangement is called 549. This is a week of 5 nine hour days, followed by a week of 4 nine hour days, and would give you a day off every other week. The last program I want to talk about is called Shared Leave. This is different from alternative work schedules or employer's sponsored programs. And it's starting to grow in popularity, especially in the Health, Government and Non-profit sectors. Basically a Shared Leave Program allows an employee to receive donations of annual leave, sick leave or personal holiday hours from other employees. This most often happens when an employee will need to take leave without pay for a prolonged period of time, resulting in a possible loss of income. A common situation for such leave includes caring for an elderly parent.
Certainly there are some good options for creating a balance between your work and care giving needs. But it's still important to remember to take care of you. We'll talk about how to do this in the next video.