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Astellas Launches New Employee Benefits Program in Response to Multi-Generational Family Needs

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Oct. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas, a pharmaceutical company based in Northbrook, Ill., launched a new benefits program today to provide support for its almost 3,000 US-based employees. The program goes beyond traditional healthcare support to include legal aid for parents and in-laws, identity theft for the entire family and college coaching in addition to many other benefits.  

Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world

"We recognize in life there's a lot to juggle outside of work, including providing care for family members, whether it's children, aging parents, or both. Combining the demands of your work and personal life can sometimes be a real challenge," says Collette Taylor, senior vice president, Human Resources and Facilities Management. "We've developed this comprehensive benefits program to help ease that burden on our employees." 

Astellas' benefits package, called StarLife Family Care Solutions, amplifies a traditional child and elder care offering to embrace the broader needs of employees. According to Pew Research, nearly half (47 percent) of adults in their 40s and 50s are considered part of the sandwich generation with a parent age 65 or older and who are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child.[1]

The service offers free and confidential assistance on a range of topics including, college coaching, identity theft protection, emotional support, child and adult back-up care and resources. For employee's parents and parents-in-law, the program also provides legal assistance, healthcare/insurance help and Medicare/Medicaid help. Employees will also benefit from needs assessments and care planning by professional care managers during on-site visits to homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Sherri Snelling, CEO and founder of the Caregiving Club and author of A Cast of Caregivers - Celebrity Stories to Help You Prepare to Care, is a nationally recognized expert on America's family caregivers. She says, "With seven in 10 caregivers working full or part-time and comprising an increasing percentage of the U.S. labor force, there is a shift happening in our workplace support programs from child care to elder care. The StarLife program is making this shift in a dramatic way by offering working caregivers not just robust services and support but ensuring its employees have an inviting environment to share their caregiving challenges. With 50 percent of working caregivers reporting they were reluctant to tell a supervisor about their caregiving role, Astellas is helping its employees overcome this hurdle."

Mark Niemaszek, vice president in Commercial Operations at Astellas was struggling with balancing both work and family until he piloted the StarLife Family Care Solutions program. "I was being pulled in a million directions while providing full-time care to my mother, trying to get my sons set up for college as well as working full-time at Astellas. This "perfect storm" of life stressed me out both emotionally and financially," said Niemaszek. "Astellas' StarLife Family Care Solutions program allowed me to balance my work and personal life by helping me set up a care plan for my mom and individual college plans for my sons. Without this program it is likely I would have had to take a leave of absence to deal with everything that was going on in my personal life."

Research also shows that caregiving can take a significant toll on both an employee's health and finances. According to the MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Care Costs, employees providing eldercare were significantly more likely to report depression, diabetes, hypertension, or pulmonary disease regardless of age, gender or work type.[2] Only 28 percent of those who are providing financial support to an aging parent and supporting a child of any age say they live comfortably financially.[3]

About Astellas

Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. For more information on Astellas, please visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter at @AstellasUS.




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SOURCE Astellas

For further information: Jenny M. Kite, 224-205-5405,
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