Talking With Your Supervisor

  • Talk to your boss as soon as you realize there may be a problem managing both your caregiving and your work.
  • Flexibility goes both ways. If you ask for a more accommodating schedule, consider what you can offer in return.
  • Remember that you’re not asking for a favor but seeking an arrangement that benefits both you and your employer.

Next Step

Learn about FMLA, EAP, and other programs that help caregivers.

Learn more

Many caregivers are reluctant to discuss caregiving with their supervisor, fearing it will affect their job security or their prospects for advancement. Unfortunately, not all employers and supervisors understand or are sympathetic to your situation. But many employers are aware of caregiving’s effect on productivity, and some offer formal programs to address the issue.

Don’t wait for a scheduling crisis to develop. Set up a meeting with your boss as soon as you realize you’re having a hard time managing both caregiving and work. He or she may already be wondering whether you’ve been distracted by personal problems.

Ask the Expert

Family Caregiver Alliance can answer your toughest questions about coping with the demands of work and caregiving. Ask a question

Before you meet, create a specific proposal, explaining your requests. For example, explain that flex-time would allow you to take your loved one to appointments during normal working hours. Think of ways you might be able to help your supervisor and coworkers in return, such as taking on an undesirable shift. If you ask to work at home two days a week, how can you reassure your boss that you’ll stay productive? Propose a trial period and follow-up meetings.

Keep in mind that your initial meeting may not go smoothly. If your supervisor hasn’t experienced caregiving first-hand, he or she is likely to underestimate the difficulty of your situation. It may take a few conversations and negotiations to find a plan you both agree upon.

Remember that what you’re seeking is an arrangement that will enable you to remain a healthy and productive employee. If your employer won’t agree to such an arrangement, you may need to consider hiring help in the home or taking your loved one to an adult day care facility. Adult day care facilities offer supervision, social interaction, and sometimes health services. Many even provide transportation.

If those options aren’t feasible, you might also start considering other employment opportunities, including part-time work. Be sure to carefully consider how a new job would affect your benefits and retirement plans.

Content shown was developed in collaboration between AGIS and Family Caregiver Alliance.

Work/Caregiving Balance

Caregiving not your only job? Get help managing your schedule, negotiating with your boss, and saving some time for yourself.

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