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Human Resources

Sep 17, 2010

I used to work in the corporate world. It didn't suit me. In fact, terms like "human resources," and "superiors and subordinates" set my teeth on edge.

I was reminded of this when I read an article from the Detroit Free Press about caregiving and companies.

Many more employees in an aging work force (that is, the ones who still have jobs) need to take time off to care for ailing parents. This costs businesses billions each year, as caregivers need to be absent at work to be present at home.

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The Family Medical Leave Act assures job protection for those who choose to take a 12-week leave of absence to attend to a sick family member. This means three months without a paycheck, though, except in California.

Deborah Russell, the director of work force issues at AARP was quoted in the article. She predicts corporations will adapt their policies and become more flexible to accommodate caregivers.

Let's hope.

Which brings me back to my corporate years. I sat right next to the Human Resources office, so I overheard much of what was going on.

Someone from HR was talking to a co-worker about his grandmother's funeral.

There were tiers in grieving in this corporation. Not tears, tiers. We are talking about human resources, after all. Like being human differentiates you from a pencil.

If you had a death in the family, your relative figured into the equation.

You got a certain amount of days off if it were a parent, and a lesser number of days off if it were a grandparent.

Or "only a grandmother" as I heard this woman say.

If this man's mother had died, he could go home for a little while. But since this was only a grandmother, he'd hardly have time to fly home and back.

This stuck in the craw of this grandmother then, even though I was "only a mother."

I was glad to read that corporations might try to make things easier for the nearly 50 million Americans who tend to sick loved ones each year.

In return, and as a resource, caregivers will share their knowledge with their companies.

Nobody is an Only.

Now back to work.

D.G. Fulford is the author of , written with her mother Phyllis Greene.

Video: Putting the human back into human resources | Mary Schaefer | TEDxWilmington

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