BOOMER BENEFITS FOR THE SANDWICH GENERATION
Baby Boomers are now in the position of being the "sandwich generation," often having responsibilities for both their children and their aging parents. Concerned that both professionals and staff with demanding jobs are often called upon for family emergencies, a few law firms, as well as probably a greater number of accounting and consulting firms, have expanded their family benefits to include back-up care for their parents.
New York Lawyer reported that among them are Bryan Cave, Hunton & Williams and Paul Hastings, Janofsky & Walker. For example, Bryan Cave is allowing for up to 20 days per year of adult in-home care, and their employee assistance program will research nursing homes on behalf of the employee. These firms realize that they can't expect people to be optimally productive when they have serious distractions and worry about ill or disabled parents.
One of the reasons more firms have not offered the benefit according to benefits consulting firm The Arlen Group is that there are few providers of the necessary services. The potential need is greater than the supply. (It should be expanding as the need is bound to grow, so it sounds like a good business opportunity.)
Patricia Caudel, Director of Human Resources and Employee Life Programs at Paul, Hastings said the expected need is evident by the many people who have registered for the program, though few have used it since it was instituted three months ago.
"When we think through what is needed to retain and attract top talent, the common denominator is taking care of family,'' said Caudel. "When we rolled this out, I received tons of e-mails saying 'Thank you, this has been on my mind for a long time,' " Caudel said. "Baby boomers are going to work until they drop, our parents are living longer, and reconciling that so that we take care of them is a big concern.”
Phyllis Weiss Haserot www.pdcounsel.com