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: For children and adults of all ages, 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.
  • 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 see your program administrator if you have questions regarding your eligibility.

Cost and Payment

  • In-home Child care: In Massachusetts, the cost is $16 per hour, for a minimum of four hours per day. 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.
  • Center-based child care: The cost is $35 per child per day on a space-available basis in Care.com's network of centers.
  • In-home 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 Care.com 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 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 (send 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 Backup Care