People caring for chronically ill family take more sick leave
Those who assist chronically ill friends and family members are more likely to take sick leave with their own employers, according to a new report issued by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCL). The study on the effect of giving informal care to the elderly and chronically ill found that 15 percent of people have a more negative view of their health after providing care, compared to eight percent of non-carers who had a similar outlook over the same period of time. Sick leave lasting over two weeks is up from ten percent to 18 percent after acting as a caregiver, the report says, with the largest increases affecting those who aid friends and family for long-term care of over two years. "Almost a quarter of them had been off work sick for at least two weeks after starting to provide informal care," the report states. The study cites the potentially "burdensome" combination of providing "informal care and work." The researchers found that carers did not cut back on their working hours more than other workers. According to the report, there is also no observable correlation between participation in care activities and decrease in the workforce. The report suggests that the number of workers helping within their community has increased in later years. The share of employed carers grew from 13 percent in 2004 to almost 18 percent in 2012. The greatest increase was shown by women aged between 45 and 65, and those with a working week of less than 28 hours. The report is based on a survey of about 4000 thousands workers and non-workers.