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Increase Productivity, Reduce Absenteeism and Turnovers. Can Employee Benefits do all that?

There’s no question about it—providing a high-quality benefit package is a terrific way to attract and retain quality employees.

But in this challenging world of tight budgets, elusive profits, and skyrocketing health insurance premiums, adding a new employee benefit is probably not at the top of your to-do list.

However, there is one powerful employee benefit that deserves your immediate consideration. For one thing, it doesn’t have to cost your company a penny—it’s voluntary. For another, this amazing benefit can actually make your employees more productive, while saving you thousands of dollars in lost workdays, poor performance, and employee turnover.

What is this superhero of benefits? Long Term Care Insurance, of course!

LTCI—Not Just For Employees and Spouses
Most of us are used to thinking that benefits are limited to employees and their dependents. Unlike most health-related benefits, Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) isn’t so restricted. It may also be offered to an employee’s parents and in-laws—and it makes good sense to do so.

Consider the odds: 50% of Americans will require long term care at some point over the age of 50. LTCI provides coverage for nursing facility care, at-home care—even adult day care. If your employees have aging parents, LTCI can make an enormous improvement in the quality of their family life…and that, of course, improves their work life.

Eldercare: A Growing Problem
America’s 70 million baby boomers (1946-1966) are now middle-aged adults. As they age, they run an increased risk of requiring long term care. Think then of their parents—now in their 70s and 80s. Who’s taking care of them?

Does your employee population include workers over age 40? If so, there’s a terribly good chance that some of them are already struggling to care for elderly family members. And as your group ages, more employees will carry this heavy burden.

Today one in four families are in the position of providing care for a senior family member, as reported by the Harvard Public Health Review. More than 40 percent are simultaneously raising children under 18—making them part of the beleaguered “sandwich generation.” Does this affect their work life? You bet!

Employee + Caregiver = Decreased Productivity
Caregiving employees are under enormous stress as they labor to juggle work and family—stress that can compromise both their mental and physical health. Studies have found that caregivers are at greater risk for suffering from depression.

At the very least, your caregiving employees are quite likely less productive employees. Understandably, caregivers are absent more often and subject to more frequent workday interruptions. Torn by demands at home, they are more likely to arrive to work late, leave early, and suffer from poor concentration.

Unable to balance the dual demands of career and family, 11% of these workers will ultimately take a leave of absence. 10% will go so far as to quit their jobs, according to a study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. For employers, that results in the loss of good people, plus increased replacement and training costs.

Billions of Dollars Lost
Lost time, lost productivity, lost workers…ultimately, these translate to lost dollars for both employees and employers.

Caregivers who scale back on work—or leave work altogether—lose an average of $550,000 in lifetime wages, plus more than $2,000 in annual Social Security benefits, according to findings presented at the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

The news only gets worse for employers. According to one Metlife study, eldercare costs companies between $11.4 to $29 billion per year in lost work time, turnover, and decreased productivity. But your company doesn’t have to be one of them!

The Solution: LTCI and Eldercare Benefits
The good news is, by offering eldercare benefits, you can lessen the impact of this growing problem on both your company and its employees.

Eldercare benefits include many components, including referral/resource programs, flexible work schedules, caregiver respite services, and even assistance with financial planning. But before those are in place, you can begin by offering Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) to your employees and their extended families.

When offered on a voluntary basis, LTCI costs the employer nothing. LTCI specialists provide the materials, educate employees, and handle enrollment. And LTCI can be offered not only to employees and spouses, but parents, in-laws and retirees—those who need it most.

LTCI not only covers all forms long term care, it generally includes care coordination services to help employees find appropriate care for loved ones. LTCI can offer your employees peace of mind—and that translates to greater productivity in the workplace. Unlike health insurance, LTCI is portable and so are the group discounts.

Why Wait?
In 2002, the U.S. government, the nation’s largest employer, added voluntary LTCI to its employee benefits package. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management envisions the program to be a “national model”—and rightly so.

LTCI is a valuable benefit for employees. For employers, it’s better than “free”—it’s a budget booster, because LTCI has the power to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity. Don’t put it off for another year. The sooner you put an LTCI plan in place, the sooner you and your employees will reap the benefits.

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