Date of Award
Graduate School of Social Work
Caregivers, Caregiving, Coronavirus pandemic, Intersectionality, Policy, Workplace
Providing care for an older adult while working can be challenging, often leading to caregiver burden. The socioenvironmental context of the coronavirus pandemic creates additional complications for working caregivers. Women, who are the majority of informal caregivers, face unique stressors in the workplace (McKinsey & Company, 2019; Carnevale et al., 2018). Prior to and during the coronavirus pandemic, workplace policies have offered the potential of support, yet more information is needed on how working female informal caregivers of older adults of diverse identities receive, interpret, and experience these policies amidst the context of the pandemic. This study uses a phenomenological qualitative approach to explore caregiver burden from emotional, financial, physical, and work-related perspectives and caregivers’ experiences of relevant workplace policies. Interviews with 29 working female caregivers, ranging in age from 27 to 75 years old, were held between February and April 2021 via Zoom video conferencing technology. Analysis of written transcripts revealed the many facets of burden caregivers were facing during the pandemic, with an emphasis on the negative emotional impacts of this burden. Workplace policies that centered around flexibility and compensated workplace leave were identified as advantageous. Findings also pointed to the importance of a supportive supervisor and overall workplace culture as being critical factors that facilitated the use of accommodative workplace policies. From an intersectional perspective, a caregiver’s job status and rank in the workplace contributed to access to supportive workplace policies. This study highlights the necessity of creating more caring workplace cultures that conceptualize workers in the greater context of their lives outside of work. Future research would benefit by including a diverse sample of caregivers across various socioeconomic, educational, gender, and racial strata, including a quantitative component of caregiver burden, and querying more specific details of the caregiving scenario. Recommendations for workplace policies include the federal passage of a paid leave bill, tailoring workplace benefits to the needs of an organization’s workforce, allowing flexibility for all workers, and creating universal access to accommodative workplace policies to all employees at an organization, regardless of their job status.
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Jessica King McLaughlin
Received from ProQuest
McLaughlin, Jessica King, "An Intersectional Perspective on the Role of Workplace Policy Among Employed Female Caregivers During the Coronavirus Pandemic" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2023.