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 program called Care@Work to provide two types of back-up child care:

  • In-home backup child care services: Available to all benefits-eligible faculty and staff. Preregistration is required, but once you register, you may request help on short notice. Learn more 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.

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 $70,000 (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.”
  • One component of the Care@Work program is digital access to If you are a benefits-eligible Harvard employee, you have unlimited digital access to, a database of caregivers, including profiles, references, and background check options. Visit the Care@Work portal to register once with your Harvard email address. Please note that an additional registration and waiver is required for use of any in-home back-up care.

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