“Friends and family members who care for elders are on their own, for the most part, dependent on whatever aid organizations they can connect with that might provide respite or assistance of one kind or another.”
Hawaii Governor David Ige signed the Kupuna Caregivers Assistance Act, which provides those who care for an elderly family member, while also working at least 30 hours a week, with a stipend of up to $70 per day.
The Hawaiian word "kupuna" roughly translates to elder, grandparent, or an esteemed older person, says Benefits Pro in its recent article, “New Hawaii law provides daily caregiver stipend.”
Caregivers in the Aloha State can now use the money for anything that allows them to avoid missing work due to their caregiving duties. This includes things like hiring a part-time health aide, paying for meal deliveries, or cleaning services. The stipend can also replace caregiver income that’s lost to carrying out those duties themselves and the resulting lost time at work.
The state’s general fund provides the cash from the existing balance, which is funded primarily by income and corporate taxes. The law is aimed at assisting caregivers to stay in the workplace as long as possible and still be able to provide care to loved ones, so that they can be as healthy and independent as possible.
Hawaii is the first state in the U.S. to put this type of system into practice. Nationally, there’s an estimated 44 million Americans who are caring for elderly relatives, with about 60% also employed. Not only does that make it difficult to keep up with caregiving responsibilities, but it takes a toll on their work performance. Here are some statistics among female caregivers:
- 33% have decreased their working hours;
- 29% have declined promotions;
- 20% have switched to part time;
- 16% have quit a job; and
- 13% have retired early
… all to provide elder care.
That lost time hurts employees and adversely impacts the economy. An AARP survey found that the cost of leaving the workforce early to care for a senior, costs an employee about $304,000 in lost wages and benefits. Businesses also lose an estimated $33.6 billion annually in productivity from caregiving employees.
Reference: Benefits Pro (December 20, 2017) “New Hawaii law provides daily caregiver stipend”