Blog Post #1060 – Caregiving A Gendered Task

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Despite their growing numbers in the workforce, women are much more likely than men to stop working, work part-time or take time off work during the week to care for an older relative. This is the finding of a study published on April 08, 2019 by the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto.

Non-paid caregiving work remains very gendered, says Dr. Peter Smith, the institute’s senior scientist and lead scientist of the study. “Ina household where both a man and woman are working, it is more likely that her work is going to be affected should an ill parent need care with washing, dressing, feeding and getting around,” he says. “This would be the case even if both were working in similar jobs, earning similar pay.”

The research team looked at responses from 5.8 million working people aged 40 years and older captured in Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (LFS) from 1997 to 2015.

Results indicate that women are 73 percent more likely than men to leave work permanently to take care of older relatives, five times more likely to be working part-time and twice as likely to take time off, they are likely to take off about 2.5 hours more per week.

Overall, the percentage of workers who left work permanently or changed to part-time work to care for an older relative over the study’s 19-year period increased from 3,300 respondents in 1997 (0.07 per cent of the labour force) to the high in 2012 of just under 15,000 respondents (0.2 per cent of the labour force). Temporary work absences due to eldercare also increased over the 19-year period.

As the population of older adults grow with increasing longevity, the effects of informal eldercare on labour market participation with continue to increase. Workplace policies around flexibility and autonomy “may reduce the impact that caregiving has on workers’ ability to stay in the labour market or on their need to take hours off work and how many,” Smith suggests.

My opinion

As a member of the Baby Boomer society, I am always thinking about what may, or may not, happen to us and the affect that our children may end up looking after us in the near future. (Hope not for a few years yet)

The generation that may be taking care of an elder member of the family has been trained by the baby boomers and feel that they need to look after them. (generation X)

I would never believe that the future peoples (Generation Y, Generation Z) will have the same family ethics to look after their parents as they have been taught that their wants and needs are more important than any else.

By the way, I have listed the 3 generations and the approximate years of their birth:

  • Generation X – 1966 – 1976
  • Generation Y – 1977 – 1994
  • Generation Z – 1995 – 2012

My opinion

The first one will be available to aid their elderly parents. The second group will be almost as dedicated but I have a hard time believing that Generation Z is going to be part of a dedicated support system.

In other words, I may have to rely on my own kids and not my grandchildren.

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‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.


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