Backup Care for Children and Adults

Care @ Work Backup Care provides backup child and adult care. Benefits-eligible employees may use up tp 20 days per fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) of all back-up care services combined.

When to use Back-Up Care

  • Child care:When regular care is not available (e.g., snow days, closed child care center, absent nannies), when a child is mildly ill (in-home care only) or when you have to work outside of your regular hours.
  • Adult care: For elders or other adults when regular care is not available, or for yourself when you need support when recovering from illness or injury, for example. Tasks include preparing meals, light housekeeping, prompting for medication, accompanying a patient to a doctor’s appointment, and assistance with bathing, dressing and mobility.

Types of Back-Up Care

  • In-home care: This in-home back-up care service differs from the self-service Care.com database; Care.com has represented that these caregivers are Care.com employees, are specifically trained, experienced, and vetted to provide in-home back-up care. When you use in-home back-up care, you are gaining access to a smaller pool of caregivers and the professional placement services of Care @ Work. You can book caregivers online or you can call Care @ Work. When you call for backup in-home care, you will speak in person to an advisor who can tell you about caregivers' experience and training, and make sure that your questions are answered and your family's needs are met.
  • Center-based care: For children under 6, back-up care is accessible through a network of child care centers, on a space-available basis.

Register Before You Need It!

Eligible faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows must pre-register by signing and submitting a waiver. You must submit this paper document by scanning it or taking a clear picture of it and emailing (worklife@harvard.edu) 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. For more information about registration and to learn about all of Care @ Work's services, please go here.

Eligibility

Benefits-eligible faculty and staff on a regular Harvard payroll may use this service. Please contact your program administrator if you have questions regarding your eligibility.

Cost and Payment

  • In-home child care: In typical times in Massachusetts, in-home care is $16 per hour for a minimum of four hours. For summer 2020, Harvard is further subsidizing this rate: For care that is booked after July 1, 2020, and takes place between July 1 through August 31, 2020, benefits-eligible employees will pay $3, $6 or $10 per hour, according to their Harvard benefits salary bracket. These copays wil will be automatically updated within the Care.com portal once you have created and account and logged into the portal.
  • Please note that in certain metropolitan areas, such as New York City and Washington D.C., higher rates may apply. For children who may need providers with additional experience or a special skill set, this rate may increase. There are no administrative or registration fees. Transportation fees may apply in certain circumstances.
  • Center-based child care: Center-based care is typically $35 per day. For summer 2020, this rate is reduced to $10 per day. The extent to which centers will be able to offer back-up services during the COVID-19 crisis is not yet clear. Where and when available, this service will be accessible through the Care @ Work portal.
  • In-home Adult care: In typical times in Massachusetts, the rate for adult care is $16 per hour; hourly rates for other locations vary but typically range from $15 to $18 per hour. In some situations, there may be a four-hour daily minimum. For summer 2020 in Massachusetts, Harvard is further subsidizing this rate: For care that is booked after July 1, 2020, and takes place between July 1 through August 31, 2020, benefits-eligible employees will pay $3, $6 or $10 per hour, according to their Harvard benefits salary bracket.

Summer 2020 Hourly Rates for In-Home Back-up Care

Harvard Salary Rate
Less than $55,000 $3 per hour
$55,000 to $99,999 $6 per hour
$100,000 or more $10 per hour

Definition of a day

  • One day = one use
  • Minimum reservation and payment = 4 hours
  • Maximum day = 10 hours

Unused Hours

Unused hours from one year may not be carried over into another.

Imputed Income

Please note that if you have a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account and use the back-up care benefit in the same year, you may be subject to imputed income; learn more.

Arranging for Service

Eligible faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows must: 

  • Pre-register by signing and submitting a waiver. You must submit this paper document by scanning it or taking a clear picture of it and emailing (worklife@harvard.edu) 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. You will then be directed to enroll with Care.com. Go here to learn more about the registration process and to learn more about Care @ Work services.
  • Arrange for care by visiting Harvard's Care.com portal (sent to you once you register), via the Care.com app, or by calling 1-855-781-1303 (press 2 for backup care for both children and adults). We suggest 24 hours notice when at all possible. Calling hours are:
    • Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to midnight.
    • Sunday, 5:00 p.m. to midnight.
    • Care @ Work may be reached by voice mail or answering service after hours. Please identify yourself as a corporate client through Harvard University. Your name will be checked against the list of eligible employees who have submitted a waiver. Only employees with a waiver on file can be served.
    • Pay for care: You are responsible for paying the hourly cost of the caregiver. Your credit card will be charged for the hours of care provided.

Information from Care.com