Companies are incorporating work-life programs, such as eldercare assistance and phased-retirement, into their human resources offerings, according to Watson Wyatt, a global human-capital consulting firm. Indeed, 27% of surveyed employers currently offer eldercare assistance, while 16% offer a formal phased retirement program.
Additionally, the programs can persuade workers to delay full retirement. Interestingly, the Washington, D.C.-based company found that men respond more favorably to eldercare assistance programs and women are more likely to take advantage of phased retirement plans.
The analysis, which looked at the retirement patterns of 37,000 workers at large and medium-sized firms, found that eldercare assistance programs, which help workers identify and evaluate services needed to care for elderly relatives, increase men's average retirement age by 8 months, versus just 1 month for women. Phased retirement programs, which allow workers to transition into retirement by switching to a part-time or flexible work schedule, stretch women's average retirement age by 21 months versus 5 months for men.
"Employees participate in phased retirement programs for the combination of leisure time, income and enjoyment of work that is not offered by full-time retirement," says Valerie Paganelli, a senior retirement consultant at Watson Wyatt "But, with the forthcoming labor shortage, work-life programs will become increasingly important tools for employers looking to hang on to much-needed older workers. Those that can keep these workers will be in a much better competitive position."