In our workplace today, money and salary no longer reigns. Instead, employers are delving into more innovative benefits and perks to boost productivity levels amongst other reasons. And most of us are no doubt familiar that tech giants the likes of Google and LinkedIn tend to be the forerunners when it comes to truly “innovative” employee perks.
Naturally, it would come as no surprise that yet another tech giant has now come under the public’s eye. Microsoft has recently extended its paid leave benefits to employees who need to take care of a sick family member. This tech giant is now offering four weeks of paid leave with an additional eight weeks of unpaid leave to its employees who are family caregivers as well. Previously, the company offered 12 weeks of unpaid leave to such employees.
While focusing on employees needs by providing exceptional perks is a common trend amongst employers these days, employees who serve as caregivers at home are not getting sufficient attention. This could in turn take a toll on their productivity levels when it comes to work. Being a caregiver could force an employee to cut back on their work hours, take long leave of absence or in a worst case scenario, even quit.
Related reading: Going Beyond Basic Compliance with Family-Friendly Leave Policies
Several other companies such as Netflix offer unlimited paid time off or discretionary time off whereby employees can use them for family care. Likewise, a common benefit offered by most companies include paid family care leave or extending such leave beyond immediate family members to include grandparents or in-laws. Similarly in Singapore, certain government bodies such as the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) provide their employees with eldercare leave whereby employees are allowed to take leave to look after their parents or parents-in-law when they fall sick or to accompany them for medical appointments.
Given that rapid aging is a currently a pressing issue in Singapore, there is certainly a strong argument to suggest the need for such leave benefits for these caregiver employees.
However, at the same time, employers are mindful that mandating more benefits for these caregiver employees can have a detrimental impact on business operations. While it would no doubt help employees ease the burden of caring for their family members, it could in turn create several disruptions to daily work processes.
Ultimately, it all boils down to the individual company culture. Some companies are already providing some form of flexible work arrangements, whereby employees make use of such arrangements to take care of their sick relative. Likewise, providing discretionary time-off could also allow employees to attend to their personal matters, which includes looking after their elderly parents or sick relatives. As such, implementing a specific caregiver leave benefit might not be necessary in this case. Nonetheless, managers and HR have to work closely together to create an effective work plan to manage absences that might be brought on by any unexpected caregivers situations.
This a guest post by RenQun Huang of Gpayroll. The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Zegal may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view. Learn more about guest blogging for Zegal here.
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