Celebrate the holiday

by respecting workers

Now that Labor Day is here, we should give some thought to what this day truly means. It is a day to respect the people who do so much for us and make a better world. Our plumbers, trash men, postal workers and council people deserve a thank-you or at least a thumbs up when we see them about town.

Landscapers and so many trades get very little respect for what they do. Most unions have a parade on this day, which usually gets TV coverage. But this is not about organized workers vs. unorganized workers. It is about being respectful to all.

JOSEPH FERTSCH

Ocean City

Remember the work

caregivers do, too

It's fitting that we have a day like Labor Day to honor workers for their contributions to our nation's strength and prosperity. First celebrated in 1882 by a labor union and declared a legal holiday by Congress in 1894, Labor Day has evolved from a day of honor to the unofficial end of summer.

But let's remember Labor Day's real meaning and use it as a time to recognize issues facing today's employees. Among the most serious: working full-time while caring for family members.

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, one in six Americans is juggling these two huge responsibilities. From higher levels of depression and anxiety to coping with feelings from despair to apathy, the emotional toll on caregivers is significant. Physical pains such as headaches and back pains are common. Together, the emotional and physical stresses can increase a person's risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

Naturally, there's a huge impact for U.S. businesses. The National Alliance for Caregiving estimates that those with eldercare responsibilities cost employers $13.4 billion a year in excess medical costs. NHPCO found that lateness, absenteeism, employee turnover and loss of efficiency add up to $34 billion in lost productivity. Lost wages, Social Security benefits and pensions due to a caregiver dropping out of the labor force to care for a loved one full-time average $143,000.

The bottom line: Caregiving is a vital business issue. Employers lose output and face increased health care costs. Employees lose jobs, opportunities for advancement and, in many cases, their health. Working caregivers need and deserve our support.

TERRY GIANETTI

Vice President

Holy Redeemer HomeCare

& Hospice Services

Egg Harbor Township