ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Faculty Caregiver Support: We Need More Data

In the corporate world, employers are finding ways to support employees who are caregivers because they realize it provides a competitive advantage to attract and retain employees. The need for robust resources, benefits, and policies is apparent: a Harvard Business School study found that “73% of all employees have some type of current caregiving responsibility.”

Similarly, during the COVID-19 shutdown, faculty’s family responsibilities became literally visible as they carried out their academic work online. Since then, caregiving has remained a critical issue in the academy’s “new normal,” including at Michigan Tech. Last year, a Childcare Committee was formed and drafted recommendations for expanding support for caregivers (internal report not yet publicly available).  

Because the majority of employers don’t track caregiving status, supportive measures are often insufficient, leading to poor retention of caregivers. This Harvard Business Review article offers four strategies for “closing the data gap” on caregiving, including working with employees to identify and measure caregiver needs. The key takeaway is that there is a need to expand caregiver support beyond daycares and flextime to acknowledge the value of such responsibilities to work-life health and professional advancement.

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