Employee Eldercare Responsibilities: Should Organizations Care?

Carol F. Shoptaugh, Missouri State University
Jeanne A. Phelps, Missouri State University
Michelle E. Visio, Missouri State University


The question "Should organizations be concerned with the eldercare responsibilities of their employees?" was addressed from several perspectives: (1) prevalence of need, (2) the relationships among eldercare responsibilities, satisfaction with eldercare arrangements, and workplace attitudes and outcomes, and (3) support for organizational eldercare programs. Our sample was predominately female and we defined eldercare responsibilities broadly; however, only 5 of 885 employees reported eldercare responsibilities. The majority relied on family arrangements and reported dissatisfaction with these arrangements. Dissatisfaction was related to interruptions at work, leaving early, and intent to quit. Eldercare-givers did not differ from other groups on job satisfaction and organizational commitment, but were absent from work significantly more often. There was strong employee support for employer-sponsored eldercare programs.