Talking With Your Supervisor

Use this checklist to prepare for your discussion with your supervisor about balancing your work and caregiving duties. Complete the following prior to the conversation.

Familiarize yourself with your human resources employee handbook or website. Find out what programs may be available to help you with caregiving.
Learn about the Family and Medical Leave Act and if you may qualify.
Find out if your state offers paid leave beyond the federal program and whether you’re eligible. The department overseeing the program varies by state. In California, for example, it’s managed by the Employee Development Department.
Look into programs available in your community. Your local Area Agency on Aging is a good place to start. You can find it through Also try looking in the phone book under “Senior.”
Research other local services providers for additional programs and services to support your needs. Use our Find Facilities & Services feature to do this:
If you belong to a union, find out what benefits or programs it offers to assist with caregiving.
Make a list of your concerns and how your work might be affected.
Identify the different options for fulfilling your work duties (such as telecommuting a few days a week, working alternate hours, and so on), and come to the meeting with a written recommendation.
Don’t broach the subject of caregiving during a stressful time at work. Wait until you and your supervisor can meet and discuss things calmly and rationally.
Keep in mind that the conversation may not go as well as you planned. You may need to meet more than once to determine the best course of action for all parties.
Offer a trial run. Suggest implementing a plan for several weeks or months for both of you to try out the new arrangement.
Once you’ve both agreed to a plan, document the agreement and send to your supervisor.
If your caregiving situation changes, revisit with your manager so he or she can make any adjustments to get the work done.