Workers Demand Back-Up Child and Elder Care Support Programs
American workers lack quality options when their regular child or elder care arrangements fall through, and employers are feeling the pinch, according to a new survey from Workplace Options (WPO). The survey found that 59 percent of employees or their spouses missed three to 10 days of work in the last year because they did not have adequate care for their dependents when they needed it. WPO polled working adults with dependents about their back-up care needs. When asked how valuable back-up care would be, 93 percent of respondents said "clearly valuable" or "extremely valuable." Both men and women want more options; 90 percent of both genders reported that they were "nearly certain" or "extremely certain" they would use back-up care if it were available at their company.

A Widespread Need

Desire for back-up care options crossed income brackets. Eighty-six percent of households earning less than $30,000 per year and 75 percent earning more than $100,000 per year said back-up care is "extremely valuable." When asked how comfortable they would be using a back-up care program, 85 percent said they would be comfortable using such programs, with little difference between men and women. When respondents were asked if they or their partner missed any work in the last year because they did not have back-up care, 59 percent responded "yes," with 56 percent missing three to 10 days of work. Additionally, 59 percent of respondents called in on short notice to use vacation time or sick leave because they did not have back-up care.

Why should companies care? Lack of quality alternatives for dependent care impacts an organizations' productivity ' and bottom line. According to the 2006 MetLife Caregiving Cost Study, absenteeism due to dependent care issues cost U.S. employers more than $5 billion (at $320 per employee) on an annual basis. Partial absenteeism racked up a bill of nearly $2 billion (at $121 per employee). Crises due to elder care issues accounted for a $3.8 billion loss (at $283 per employee). "With increasing numbers of working parents also having to care for elderly relatives, the need for back-up care services is rising," said Alan King, president of Workplace Options. "For a reasonable investment, companies that invest in back-up care support services realize huge savings as a result of reduced absenteeism and higher employee productivity and retention." In 2006, Workplace Options partnered with Bright Horizons Family Solutions to offer the Bright Horizons Back-Up Care Advantage Program. This program offers employees a nationwide, comprehensive center-based and in-home provider network for back-up child and elder care. The Bright Horizons Back-Up Care Advantage Program now serves more than 75 leading employers.

For more information on the program, learn more 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

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