Making the Case for Back-Up Child Care

employer-sponsored back-up care
There's a storm warning and school has just been cancelled. While your children rejoice in the news, you wonder how you're going to make it to your 10 o'clock client meeting. This is an all-too familiar scenario in the life of working parents. For many families, this kind of situation leads to scrambling for some kind of care, which may include calling in the child care chips from friends and neighbors, negotiating with a spouse or partner for a day at home, or convincing the boss that the meeting can wait.

A Cost-Effective Solution

For every school closing or child care breakdown, there is a solution: Employer-sponsored back-up child care. Back-up child care allows parents to have access to high-quality child care when their traditional arrangement falls through, enabling them to go to work with peace of mind, knowing their children are safe and well cared for. What's more, back-up child care doesn't just help working parents. It also helps the bottom line of the organizations they work for and supports coworkers who have to hold things together when their colleague is unexpectedly absent.

  • By offering this valuable resource to address the child care needs of working parents, back-up care has been found to significantly reduce absenteeism. This reduction in absenteeism enabled JPMorgan Chase to save $800,000 in one year of operation. A savings that comes from subtracting the cost of providing back-up care from the costs associated with absenteeism.
  • Providing back-up care greatly enhances employers' benefits packages, helping to recruit top candidates and make the organization appealing for hard-to-find candidates, such as top researchers, female professors or nurses.
  • Employee surveys show that users of employer-sponsored back-up care have a greater loyalty to their jobs and are more likely to stay with their company, reducing costs associated with recruitment and retention and the loss of experienced and skilled workers.
  • The addition of a small back-up program, or access to a network of programs, on up to a full-service employer-sponsored center, can easily double the number of families that receive a benefit from the center. A back-up program and can also be a response to the long wait lists for a full-service child care center.

How Back-Up Child Care Can Work for Your Organization

Back-up child care offers a cost-effective, flexible response to employee needs that also delivers a return for employers. Organizations of all sizes can benefit from back-up care. Here is how:

  • Smaller organizations, or those that want to make a lower cost investment than full-time child care, may find that back-up care can be a manageable first step to supporting employees with critical work/life challenges.? These organizations have options ranging from purchasing slots for back-up care in a consortium back-up center or full-service center to joining the Bright Horizons Back-Up Care Advantage Program, which offers back-up child and adult/elder care nationwide.
  • Organizations that may already have full-service centers can enhance these programs by offering back-up care to their employees in these existing spaces.
  • Employers with large employee populations but limited extra physical space may find back-up care to be the most viable solution, as the space required for a back-up center is less than is needed for a full-service center.
For more information about employer-sponsored back-up child care, please click here.
Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
employer-sponsored back-up care

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