Caregiving Is Infrastructure
Leaders’ Guide to Creating a Culture of Care
Over the past year, nearly 3 million women have been pushed out of the workforce entirely due to caregiving responsibilities. Millions more women cut back their hours and pulled away from advancement opportunities — making clear that our workplaces are not built to support the care we need at each stage of life. Today, TIME’S UP released the Leaders’ Guide to Creating a Culture of Care, which offers some concrete, actionable steps business leaders can take during a crisis and beyond to support employees who are caregivers and build more equitable workplaces for all.
This first edition of the Leaders’ Guide, which was created in collaboration with TendLab, is accessible to anyone and will spark the beginning of many conversations to help business leaders navigate their caregiving journey — no matter where they are in the process. Future editions and additional guides will be developed in partnership with the members of the Care Economy Business Council as businesses identify the caregiving needs of their workers, obstacles in addressing those needs, and areas for innovation and new ideas. Supporting employees who are caregivers takes continued effort and now is the time to begin.
“It’s time for transformative change, and employers play a critical role in solving our collective caregiving crisis and building a more inclusive and equitable workforce,” said Tina Tchen, president and CEO of TIME’S UP Foundation. “Returning to the status quo we had pre-pandemic will not be enough to ensure that women go back to work, so it’s critical that business leaders use innovative tools and resources to address structural barriers like caregiving that keep women and other workers from succeeding and staying in the workforce.”
Caregiving is not just a personal responsibility that employees must grapple with on their own — it is critical infrastructure that is integral to our overall economic success. Caregivers make up the backbone of our economy — and everyone at some point in their life will need care. But it’s harder to be a working caregiver in the U.S. than in almost any other developed country in the world – and the pandemic has only made it harder.
“Our lack of a federal caregiving infrastructure puts the U.S. at an economic disadvantage. If we wish to be competitive with our economic counterparts we must support our working families,” said Amy Henderson, CEO & Cofounder of TendLab, a Founding Member of the Care Economy Business Council. “U.S. employers are beginning to recognize that we must build work cultures that enable caregivers to not only survive, but thrive. We need to change not just our national policies, but also our cultural narrative around care and work. Companies need to recognize that supporting working caregivers must be a critical part of their strategy if they want to attract and retain a diverse workforce.”
Women’s labor force participation in the United States is as low today as it was in the late 1980s. In one year, women lost 32 years of progress in labor force participation and 22 years of progress in pay equity. Black and Latinx women, who make up the majority of our caregiving workforce, have faced the greatest economic impact due to COVID-19. And they were already likely to have less financial stability due to our nation’s history of systemic racism and oppression.
Using the Leaders’ Guide, companies will be able to address the needs of caregivers, which is not only the right thing to do — it’s a strategic business decision. Investing in a workplace that works for caregivers means that companies will be better equipped to create a stronger culture that yields greater productivity. It’s past time to shift the paradigm, invest in caregiving infrastructure, and use all proven tools that are available to create workplaces that are safe, fair, and dignified for all.
Some of the top takeaways from the guide include:
- Learning what to measure
- Gathering feedback from employees on an ongoing basis
- Building a culture of care through policies and practices
- Setting up systems of accountability
- Setting the tone for other companies and sharing any progress
Download the Leaders’ Guide to Creating a Culture of Care here, or by texting CAREGUIDE to 306-44, and share widely.
TIME’S UP Foundation
The TIME’S UP™ Foundation insists upon safe, fair, and dignified work for all by changing culture, companies, and laws. We enable more people to seek justice through the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund™. We pioneer innovative research driving toward solutions to address systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace through the TIME’S UP Impact Lab. And we reshape key industries from within so they serve as a model for all industries. The TIME’S UP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
The Care Economy Business Council is an initiative of TIME’S UP through TIME’S UP Now, an independent, nonpartisan, and not-for-profit 501(c)(4)charitable organization and TIME’S UP Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. TIME’S UP and the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund (a separate entity housed at the National Women’s Law Center) reserve the right to comment or otherwise take a position on any company, institution, or individual, regardless of their participation in the Care Economy Business Council. TIME’S UP applauds its Care Economy Business Council members; however, membership does not imply, symbolize, or ascribe TIME’S UP’s approval of any policies or actions.