LifeCare® Poll Reveals How Caregiving Duties Interrupt the Workday

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One quarter of workers caring for children and elders make calls and caregiving arrangements during work. Nearly as many leave work early.

But employers can reduce their absenteeism and productivity losses by providing employees with support tools such as resource and referral services and backup care programs.

It's well known that workers who care for children or aging loved ones have to make occasional adjustments to their work schedules but a new poll by LifeCare®, Inc., provider of comprehensive specialty care services and a longtime leader in the work/life industry, shows specifically what the most frequent adjustments are. Topping the list are making phone calls and arrangements, leaving work early, and taking the day off.

Following are the full results of the poll, which was posted on LifeCare's private web site during the month of October and open to employees of its 1,500 client organizations:

If you care for a child or older loved one, what is the one adjustment you make to your work schedule most often?

  • Make phone calls/arrangements during the work day – 24%
  • Leave work early – 22%
  • Take the day off – 16%
  • Arrive at work late – 14%
  • Ask spouse to adjust his/her schedule – 5%
  • Other – 19%

Responses making up the "other" category (each representing one percent or less) include changing from full-time work to part-time work, changing work shifts, waking up earlier and leaving work at lunch.

"Obviously, people who care for children and older adults are going to need to make adjustments to their work schedules from time to time," said LifeCare CEO, Peter G. Burki. "But employers can reduce their absenteeism and productivity losses by providing employees with support tools such as resource and referral services and backup care programs."

Burki cites a 2004 study by Cornell University in which the majority of employers reported that child care services alone had a markedly positive impact on employee absenteeism -— reducing missed workdays by as much as 20% to 30%. The same study also stated that a child care program can reduce turnover by as much as 60%.

"One of the services that a growing number of employers are consulting LifeCare about is our Backup Care Connection program. It helps employees make backup care arrangements in advance so that when a crisis does arise or regular care arrangements fall through employees aren't forced to arrive late, leave early or take the day off," said Burki. The Backup Care Connection program offers solutions for both child and elder care, provides direct placement in a facility or with an in-home caregiver, and features a nationwide network of nearly 2,000 certified child care facilities and 75,000 credentialed in-home caregivers.

Each month, LifeCare posts a poll on its private web site, asking individuals to share their thoughts and opinions on the latest issues and work/life trends. Past polls have addressed topics such as stress, health and wellness, aging, flexible work arrangements, and barriers to on-the-job productivity.

About LifeCare®, Inc.
LifeCare offers cost-saving benefits that help clients reduce their most pervasive absenteeism and productivity drains, including child and elder care, caregiving support, health and wellness issues, and more. For more than two decades, LifeCare has led the work/life industry in the creation of high-quality, results-oriented programs designed to improve organizations' bottom lines. LifeCare serves 1,500 client companies with 4.5 million individuals within corporations, health plans, government agencies and unions. For more information, visit

Notes to Editors

Peter G. Burki is available for interview

Media contact: Michael Civiello; 203-291-4170

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: on behalf of the company listed above.


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Michael Civiello
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