In the fall of 2017 the Utah Women and Leadership Project with the YWCA of Utah identified gaps and strategies to combat unpaid care work in Utah.
Unpaid care work in Utah was disscussed after the release of a research snapshot title Unpaid Care Work Among Utah Women. The snapshot details shocking statics that demonstrate the amount of time and work that women perform entirely unpaid. Thought leaders came together to establish potential steps to change the status of unpaid care work. What follows are their recommendations organized by category. See the comprehensive list here. Clearly, there is much to be done.
Financial incentives and support
- Explore elder care costs as eligible for flex plans, without requiring that the person be a legal dependent.
- Explore a similar tax credit to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for elder care, again without requiring legal dependence.
- Work to eliminate taxes on social security benefits.
- Extend retirement income tax credit for next generation of retirees (current AARP policy priority). This is a highly needed source of tax relief.
- Have hospitals provide support resources to caregivers who give care for elderly individuals. Same with pediatricians providing information and resources to parents.
- Explore incentives to support “aging- in-place” initiatives that incorporate quality home-based care services.
- Continue to explore potential flexibilities in state interpretation of federal Medicaid regulations that might benefit caregivers by benefiting the elders and others they care for.
- Ensure that Telehealth uniformity becomes the standard for all insurers.
- Develop training and support for caregivers through apps, social media, and other online sources.
Creation of economic opportunity
- Especially relevant is the need to value care more.
- Expand respite provision – there are economic/business opportunities in this area.
- Perhaps family members who provide care could receive payment, exploring these options.
- Ensure quality and safety standards for adult daycare and other caregiving services.
- Develop online caregiving classes and support groups. This could be developed through apps, social media, and online.
- There needs resources for men to understand the importance of caregiving.
Advocacy and shaping attitudes
- While there is some awareness on this issue, there is a need to increase public awareness and to reframe caregiving as valuable for the whole family and communities,
- Additionally, there is a need to teach that caregiving is not a gendered role or issue.
- Need resources for men to both understand the importance of caregiving, as well as increase the social acceptance of men providing care.
- Focus on workplace culture and attitudes that support taking paid leave and other caregiving options when they are available.
- Use social media – perhaps an “I share” campaign around men’s involvement in caregiving and household work. Need to help Utah “catch up” with some of the national trends on men and women sharing caregiving and other household work.
- Touch points for increasing public awareness – schools, pediatricians, senior centers, and faith communities.
Laws, policies, regulations
- Pursue work-family leave policies that provide flexibility for caregivers who want/need to keep their job.
- Explore businesses/companies that are being innovative and creating policies/practices to support caregivers. Encourage more strategic thinking around these issues in workplaces.
- Create economic/tax incentives for innovative businesses.
Research and data
- Researchers partner with organizations to help pilot interventions and make their programs more effective. They need to show outcomes and evidence, so scholars and practitioners need to come together.
As a result, there are potential actions any citizen can take regardless of professional position, education level or socio-economic status. To learn more about what you can do to effect unpaid care work in Utah read the full list of gaps, challenges and impact recommendations see our snapshot on unpaid care work in Utah.
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