Negotiating Time Off for Caregiving

Written by Meghan, Healthy Living Expert on Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Caring for a loved one can have an impact on many aspects of your life – including your work. If you’ve taken precious vacation time to take an elderly family member to a doctor’s appointment or to tend to her needs, you are not alone. In fact, more than one in six Americans who work also spend time caring for sick or aging loved ones. These workers sacrifice an average of nearly seven workdays per year, costing them vacation time, money, and productive hours.

If you work and also care for a loved one, you know the challenges of navigating your job and your family responsibilities. At some point, the burden of caregiving may begin to interfere with your work so much that you need to talk to your boss about making changes to your schedule. If that time comes, these tips can help you negotiate the time off that you need.


Approach Your Boss

The first step in negotiating time off from work is to plan how you will approach your boss. Decide what you hope to get out of the conversation, but remain as flexible as you can be. Try to appreciate the situation from your boss’s point of view and be understanding if she can’t grant you everything you request. Try these strategies to make the conversation go more smoothly:

  • Be willing to negotiate and compromise.
  • Have a plan to make up lost hours or productivity.
  • Be honest and specific about what you need.
  • Express your gratitude for your employer’s flexibility and understanding.

Consider Your Options

Both before and after you talk to your boss, take time to consider your options. You may be able to telecommute, shift your schedule, or temporarily transition to part-time work. If necessary, you can ask to take a temporary leave from your job.

If, after you talk with your employer, you find that you can’t shift your work schedule around caregiving, consider other options for care. Check your loved one’s insurance policy to find out whether in-home caregiving or adult daycare services may be covered. Even if you can’t afford elder care services, you may be able to afford nonmedical services such as housekeeping or pet care.

Gather All the Information

Before you make any big decisions about work or caregiving, make sure you have all the necessary information. In addition to talking to your employer, also check your loved one’s insurance coverage to find out whether any caregiving or in-home medical services may be covered. This information can be helpful when you’re making decisions and when you approach your employer to discuss time off.

If you think you may have to take leave from work to care for an aging or ailing family member, look into whether the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – which guarantees certain workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year to care for loved ones – applies to your situation. This may also be an option you want to consider.

One other option is to consider long-term care for your loved one. If you are considering long-term care, remember that Paying for Senior Care can answer any questions you have about your family’s options. Reach out to our expert today with your questions!