Special Needs: Are Your Employees Struggling?
Special Needs: A Second Job for Working ParentsIn the years following Kevin's diagnosis, life changed for Joe and, unfortunately, for his employer. Take a look at Kevin's typical docket of supports during the workweek, a veritable second full-time job for Joe and Meg:
Mon: ABA 3 PM; OT 5 PM; Independent evaluation report review with Meg 8 PM
Tue: ABA 3 PM; Speech 5 PM; insurance claims paperwork 7 PM
Wed: IEP team meeting 10 AM; ABA 3 PM, OT 5 PM; Sped PAC meeting 7 PM
Thu: Call from Principal 11 AM; Early pick-up 12 PM; ABA 3 PM; Speech 5 PM
Fri: Meeting with Advocate 9 AM; ABA 3 PM, OT 5 PM; Review of IEP with Meg 7 PM
(ABA: Applied Behavior Analysis; OT: Occupational Therapy; Speech: Speech/Language Therapy; IEP: Individualized Education Program; Sped PAC: Special Education Parent Advisory Council)
The Bad News for Joe and Meg?Joe and Meg are completely exhausted at the end of each day, challenged to give equitable attention to their other two children, let alone to find any quality time for themselves or each other. Marriages like Joe and Meg's are almost 10% more likely to end in divorce.1 It should, therefore, come as no surprise that parents like Joe lose at least 5 hours of work each week2, or more than 250 hours per year. The lost productivity cost to his employer, at his $90,000 base salary, exceeds $10,000! If you then add the opportunity cost of lost sales, it paints a picture of an ill-fated, costly, and heartbreaking conundrum for all.
The Bad News for Joe's Employer?Joe is not alone. Statistically another 1,800 working parents in his company of 18,000 employees3 struggle with similar challenges. For an organization of this size, that means a hidden cost of over $7MM/year4!
The Good News for All!There are solutions. BUT, employer beware! A traditional "hotline" approach only scratches the surface, often leading to frustrated employees and wasted money for you, their employer. As we suggested in our initial story about Kevin, it's time for a different type of intervention, one that goes deeper in supporting hardworking parents like Joe and Meg while still protecting your bottom line.
1Hartley et al (J Fam Psychol. 2010 Aug; 24(4):449-57) 2,4 Powers ET. Children's health & maternal work activity: estimates under alternative disability definitions. J Hum Resour.; 38(3):522-556, 2004 3CDC, 2013, Labor Project for Working Families, 2000