Article

Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 165-176

First online:

Working and Caring for a Child with Chronic Illness: Challenges in Maintaining Employment

  • Ajesh GeorgeAffiliated withSchool of Management, College of Business, Member, NFORCE Research Group, University of Western Sydney Email author 
  • , Margaret H. VickersAffiliated withSchool of Management, College of Business, Member, NFORCE Research Group, University of Western Sydney
  • , Lesley WilkesAffiliated withSchool of Nursing, College of Health and Science, Member, NFORCE Research Group, University of Western Sydney
  • , Belinda BartonAffiliated withChildren’s Hospital Education Research Institute (CHERI), The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

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Abstract

This paper shares some pertinent findings from an initial, qualitative stage of a larger, national study currently being undertaken in Australia, exploring the support needs of parents who are working full time and caring for a child with chronic illness. The findings presented here depict the negative impact of these parents caring responsibilities on their work life and the increased stress they experience trying to maintain full time employment. In-depth interviews revealed how these parents had to rearrange their working hours, use up their leave entitlements, work unsatisfactory hours, sacrifice their careers and even change their jobs in order to balance their dual roles. In addition, the findings also highlight the negative and unsupportive attitude that employers had towards these parents. These employment conditions were extremely stressful and frustrating for parents affecting their physical and emotional well being.

Key words

chronic illness disability employment stress caregiving