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Inclusive Policy-Building: Comprehensive Support for All Caregiver Types + Roles in the Organization

In later chapters, these terms will come up again, but many times organizations crave boundaries for wide-reaching caregiver support in order to set sustainable precedence.


Include Every Organizational Tier


Provide caregiver support for all departments and contributors in the organization - regardless of status in the employment hierarchy and family design. If only full time/executive/office-staff receives support, those who need it most, such as laborers with lower pay, likely working multiple jobs, etc.

Create access to and support for employment, including but not limited to interview and audition/callback support for caregivers.


Go Wide and Specific

Two helpful terms for policy-building support that is inclusive and also specific are "Major Life Events" - such as having a baby or adopting - and "Legal Dependents." Because all the budgeting has to end up at the IRS at the end of the day, drawing from this boundary system can help us understand the scope of what comprehensive means while maintaining the boundaries necessary for policy.


Occasionally, organizations will create policy for birth but not foster care or adoption or dependent relatives or elder care. Having a narrow perspective of caregiving is common because it's based in heteronormative assumptions and class traditions.


However, when policies remain narrow, caregivers in great need of support are left out.


Some leaders have expressed concern that this is a pandora's box of support, that if you cast the support net that wide, it will get away from the task and be unsustainable. However, when the boundaries of the support for a wide range of caregivers is defined by "Legal Dependents," it creates a clear list of exactly who should be included in that policy:


The IRS' definition of "Legal Dependent" includes:

  • son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them.

  • The person either (a) must be related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who don't have to live with you, or (b) must live with you all year as a member of your household...

Relatives who don't have to live with you.

A person related to you in any of the following ways doesn't have to live with you all year as a member of your household to meet this test.

  • Your child, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild). (A legally adopted child is considered your child.)

  • Your brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, or stepsister.

  • Your father, mother, grandparent, or other direct ancestor, but not foster parent.

  • Your stepfather or stepmother.

  • A son or daughter of your brother or sister.

  • A son or daughter of your half brother or half sister.

  • A brother or sister of your father or mother.

  • Your son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.

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