The pandemic shone a stark light on many of the challenges working caregivers face, especially when it comes to finding reliable care for a child, adult loved one, or pet. Although employees have long-term care solutions for their families, the unexpected can happen, and sometimes a last-minute option is needed. That’s where backup care can help.
Backup Care is a benefit that helps employees and their families cover times when regular, ongoing care for their child, adult family member, or pet suddenly becomes unavailable. With Backup Care, employees have access to an affordable backup plan so they don’t have to choose between missing a day of work and caring for their loved one.
Benefits of Backup Care
Above all, each of the benefits of Backup Care allows employees to manage the unexpected challenges of life with the peace of mind that their loved ones are taken care of. By offering employees access to Backup Care, employers save on lost productivity and retention costs for employees.
Saves money and stress
In these tight economic times, preventing additional financial burdens is at the top of everyone’s mind. For employees, a Backup Care day can swoop in and save an entire day, costing families only a daily or hourly copay, versus the increased fees associated with last minute child care.
For employers, the cost of offering subsidized Backup Care is offset by the number of missed days it prevents. According to the U.S Chamber of Commerce, employers see a 30% decrease in employee absences when they offer family care benefits like Backup Care. This directly translates into money saved when employees can make it to work on time and complete their work as planned.
Boosts productivity at home and at work
It is no secret that when regular care for your family members falls through, it can wreak havoc on your schedule, causing you to be less present and therefore less productive at work and at home. Employers in today’s market are always looking for ways to improve their workforce’s productivity. It turns out that when employees have Backup Care at home, they report a 56% boost in productivity according to Care’s 2022 Employee Benefits Impact Study.
Supports more than just kids
Backup Care is for more than just parents with small children. With expanding backup care options that include the adults and pets in your life are also taken care of, Backup Care is a well-rounded benefit that supports employees at every life stage, no matter what their caregiving responsibilities are. This is especially important for employers to keep in mind when offering backup care programs because care needs don’t always align with age, gender identity, or location.
Offers more flexible choices
With Backup Care, employees have even more flexibility for how they choose to use their Backup Care. They are free to use Backup Care last minute, or schedule it ahead of time for planned interruptions to their regular care schedule, such as holidays. Backup Care can also be requested for in-home, in a childcare center, or through their personal network of family, friends, and caregivers.
Encourages work/life balance
One of the greatest benefits of Backup Care is how it encourages a better work/life balance within a company’s culture for its employees. When employees know that Backup Care has their backs at home, they are able to balance the demands of their work life with their home life. For employers, this greatly impacts employee retention, with 70% of employees who use care benefits saying they are more likely to stay at their current company according to Care’s 2022 Employee Benefits Impact Study.
Promotes diversity in the workplace
A report by Harvard Business Review analyzed data from more than 800 U.S companies over the past 30 years and found that companies with prioritized benefits such as child care support like Backup Care also saw a significant improvement in the percentage of women and people of color succeeding in their careers and moving into management roles. Backup Care levels the playing field and empowers a more diverse group of employees to excel in their careers because they have care at home.
Types of Backup Care
Most people probably think of Backup Care in terms of caring for children, but truly equitable Backup Care programs also provide “back up” for pet care, adult care, and self-care.
Child Backup Care
During the pandemic, backup child care went from a nice-to-have to a must-have benefit for working parents and guardians. Employees can tap into their child backup care benefit if schools or childcare centers are closed, if they need to stay late or travel for work, if their normal caregiver is sick, or if they’re working from home but could use some help. Plus, employees have the flexibility to choose the type of backup care that works best for them, including:
- In-home care: Backup caregivers, such as a nanny or babysitter, come to the employee’s home to provide child care.
- In-center care: Parents can then drop off their child(ren) off at a child care center near their home or office, only paying a subsidized daily rate for that care.
- Personal Network: Employees have the option to use a go-to sitter or center in their own network of caregivers and submit a receipt for reimbursement.
Note: While backup caregivers and child care centers in the Care for Business Backup Care network are licensed in accordance with applicable law, if employees use a caregiver or center from their own network to submit for reimbursement, they are fully responsible for all vetting.
Adult Backup Care
Employees need support for adult care too. About 23% of US adults are members of the sandwich generation—caring for their children and an adult loved one. That doesn’t include those whose primary caregiving workload is for their parent or grandparent.
Adult Backup Care is most often used when an employee’s loved one’s regular caregiver isn’t available. It can be used for respite care, recovery care, or to fill gaps in regular care for an adult loved one, or even the employee themself. This could include providing extra help during a surgical recovery, or providing rides to and from medical appointments. Care for Business offers a flexible program that gives employees the option of Personal Network or in-network providers.
Pet Backup Care
Don’t forget Fido! For employees with pets, backup care is incredibly useful if they need to work late or travel for work. Employees with pet backup care can choose a professional caregiver for their furry friend, then submit a receipt for a subsidized reimbursement.
Why Employers Should Offer Backup Care
Companies lose nearly $13 billion a year in productivity on average as a result of challenges with child care. This is due to parents juggling both care and work, or missing work altogether as a result of a lack of care options. Forty-five percent of working parents with children under age 6—and whose children are cared for by someone other than a partner—say it would be very difficult for them to find backup child care, and 36% say it would be somewhat difficult.
According to a recent survey, only 8% of working parents with children under the age of five have access to emergency and backup child care through their employer. Only 13% reported receiving employer-sponsored paid emergency-care days.
A 2022 survey by Care of our customers and their employees found that 76% of employees agree somewhat or strongly that Care.com benefits increased their productivity at work, with the majority citing access to Backup Care as the cause. Employers somewhat agree, with 34% reporting an uptick in productivity as a result of Care.com benefits like Backup Care.
The need for backup care is universal among working caregivers, and access to affordable backup care means employees can spend more time focusing on their work, rather than scrambling to find someone to care for their child, parent, or pet.
Want to know more? We recommend checking out our article What to Look for in a Backup Care Program.