Backup Care

Care@Work In-Home Backup Care provides short-term, in-home caregivers at a corporate rate for up to 20 days per fiscal year (July 1 through June 30).

  • Provides child care in the event of mild llness or sudden loss of regular care providers, e.g., snow days, closed day care, absent nannies.
  • Provides adult care for your relatives or yourself. Tasks include preparing meals, light housekeeping, prompting for medication, accompanying a patient to a doctor’s appointment, and assistance with bathing, dressing and mobility.

Care@Work Backup Care in-home care provides vetted and trained caregivers. When you call Care@Work 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.


Benefits-eligible faculty, administrative and professional staff, HUCTW staff, non-bargaining-unit support staff and postdoctoral fellows on the regular Harvard payroll may use this service. Please see your program administrator if you have questions regarding your eligibility.

Cost and payment

Child care: In Massachusetts, the cost is $16 per hour, for a minimum of four hours per day, payable directly to the provider. 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: For infant care, or for children whose parents identify them as having special needs, the rate may increase to $17.00 to $19.00 per hour. There are no administrative or registration fees. Transportation fees may apply in certain circumstances.

Adult care: 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. The fee is payable by credit card after the care is complete and the hours have been confirmed.

Additional services: Care over the maximum of 20 placements per fiscal year, or for non-work related situations, may be negotiated by the faculty, staff member or postdoctoral fellow on an individual, non-subsidized basis with Backup Care.

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

Arranging for service

Eligible faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows must: 

  • Pre-register by signing and submitting a completed application form and waiver. You must submit this paper document by faxing (617-495-4124) or emailing ( to the University’s Office of Work/Life.  Staff and faculty need only register once and do not need to register again at any subsequent time.
  • Receive a registration confirmation by email from the Office of Work/Life. Backup Care will be provided, on a regular basis, with a list of registered Harvard participants. Please note that those not on the list are not covered by Harvard’s contract.
  • Arrange for care by visiting Cae@Work's portal or 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.
    • If you call to request backup care, identify yourself as a benefits-eligible Harvard employee or postdoctoral fellow.
    • Pay for care: You are responsible for paying the hourly cost of the caregiver. At the end of the backup care service, you will need to sign the provided timesheet, and your credit card will be charged for the hours of care provided.

Information from Backup Care