Back-up Care, Babysitters

Back-up Care

As much as parents plan ahead, there are times when back up and short-notice care is required, such as the illness of your caregiver, stay-at-home spouse or child, when your regular program or center is closed, when you're between caregiving arrangements or other times when you need to be at work and your regular care is not available. Harvard employees have access to backup care options to assist you in those situations.

Harvard has contracted with for a suite of services known as Care @ Work which includes two types of back-up care:

  • In-home backup child care services: Available to all benefits-eligible faculty and staff, this service sends a screened and trained caregiver to your home at a cost of $16 per hour for a minimum of four hours. Learn more about the details of the in-home service here .
  • Center-based backup child care in local child care centers: Available to benefits-eligible faculty and staff at a cost of $35 per day. This service is available through Harvard's Care @ Work portal once you have registered.
    Note: Register before you need it! To use any service provided by Care @ Work, Harvard faculty and staff must first complete and return a waiver. Once the Office of Work/Life receives this waiver, the employee's name is added to an automatic filed feed that goes to This initial process can take 24 hours, but once you are registered, you can make short-notice care requests over the phone, on-line or via's app. Get detailed registration information and learn about what Care @ Work offers here.

Financial Assistance for Backup Care
Eligible employees can be reimbursed up to $350 per year for backup care you choose, including care provided by a friend, neighbor, relative, other in-home provider, or licensed child care center through the SOURCE program. Benefits-eligible employees with a full-time equivalent annual salary of less than $75,000 (FTE) are eligible.


Need an occasional babysitter? The following resources can help you find one:

  • WATCH (Web Access to Care at Harvard): This portal connects you with Harvard students who want to babysit. Harvard faculty, staff, and students can also sponsor their high school and college-age children as babysitters. Your HUID and PIN are required for login.
  • Harvard Student Employment Office: If you are not eligible to use the WATCH portal, you can search for babysitters using the Harvard Student Employment Office website. Under “Employers” in the right column, select the link to “Hiring for Household Help.”
  • Online search for caregivers through Care@Work Digital Access: If you are a benefits-eligible Harvard employee, you have unlimited, free access to, a self-service online database of caregivers.
    Note: Register before you need it! To use any service provided by Care @ Work, Harvard faculty and staff must complete and return a waiver. You must submit this paper document by scanning it or taking a clear picture of it and emailing ( it to the University’s Office of Work/Life. (While email is preferred, faxing is also possible at 617-495-4124. If you fax, please follow up with an email so we know to look for your form). Staff and faculty need only register once and do not need to register again at any subsequent time.Once the Office of Work/Life receive this waiver, the employee's name is added to an automatic filed feed that goes to on a daily basis. Please go here to see complete registration details and learn about all services available from

If you have questions, please contact Harvard’s Office of Work/Life at or 617-495-4100.

Nannies, or regular in-home care

If  you are looking for a full-time or part-time nanny – a caregiver on a long-term and regular basis – please go here to learn about American Nanny company, Harvard's preferred vendor for formal nanny-placement services.