Tell Us: How Did You Tell a New Employer About Caregiving?


We worry about a boss’s reaction when we share that we have a family with a chronic (and often unstable) health situation.

During Tuesday night’s member chat, we had an interesting discussion about how to tell a new employer about caregiving responsibilities.

When you start a new job, you want to be honest about your responsibilities as a family caregiver because, well, caregiving will happen. You’ll face an emergency, a medical crisis, a staffing problem. And, when caregiving happens, you’ll need time off from work.

It’s a bit easier (although still difficult) to discuss a caregiving situation when you’ve been employed in the same job for awhile. You know your manager, co-workers and corporate culture well enough to understand how to discuss your caregiving situation. When you start a new job, though, you don’t have the history that can help you figure out how and when to communicate about your caregiving responsibilities.

So, I’d love to know: Have you started a new job while you’ve been in a caregiving role? How and when did you discuss your caregiving responsibilities with your new employer and co-workers? Please share your experiences (and suggestions for other family caregivers in a similar situation) in our comments section, below.


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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

2 thoughts on “Tell Us: How Did You Tell a New Employer About Caregiving?

  1. Dana Brown Ritter

    I didn’t plan on it, but my caregiving role actually came up during the phone interview for my latest job. My potential boss was asking logistic questions about bringing me to town for an in-person interview, and he asked what time I usually wake up. I said 4:00 a.m., and he was like “whoa,” and I just felt comfortable, so I threw it out there that my husband is a quadriplegic, and it takes a couple of hours to get him up and at ‘em. I think more than anything, it actually impressed him! I’ve been in this job almost a year now. It was smooth sailing for almost a year, but in the last few weeks, I’ve had to miss a few days of work because of my caregiving role. My husband developed a persistent pressure sore, and has been bedridden. It’s hard on our relationship, and honestly, I’ve missed a couple of days to care for him, and today for example, to care for myself, because it’s just too much sometimes! Thankfully, I have a supportive and understanding boss. I don’t call out unless I absolutely have to, and I make myself so valuable and work really hard, long hours when I am there, so I think that helps give me grace when I need it. I will never take advantage of it, I’m a very conscientious and committed worker.

  2. Patientwife

    I was very fortunate and able to retire at 64, about 2 years post diagnosis. I never mentioned my husband’s dementia to management but a couple of my closest coworkers knew by my last couple of months. I was afraid my work would be scrutinized differently if I had shared the situation.

    I feel so badly for those who have to continue working when the loved ones need them at home most of the time. I have several friends in this situation and I know it is very difficult.


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