Maternity and paternity leave may be making headlines and getting lots of attention lately, but it’s work-life benefits like backup child care that can have a meaningful, long-term impact on the careers of both working moms and dads.
As working parents know well, finding out at your child care isn’t going to be available can pose huge problems when it comes to stress, and making sure you can get to work. On the flip side, when unexpected work responsibilities arise, it’s easy to find yourself scrambling to arrange care for your kiddos.
In cases like these, having backup care options can make all the difference. And leading companies today are taking notice. Employer-provided backup child care is is becoming an increasingly popular employee benefit, as more and more companies realize the positive effect helping employees deal with unexpected child care needs has on the business’ bottom line.
Here’s a look at some situations in which backup care can help working parents stay productive and engaged.
Your Nanny Cancels
You have a big meeting with a client you’ve been preparing for all week only to get a late-night text that your nanny can’t come tomorrow. Panic sets in and you know you can’t bring your toddler to the presentation. With a backup care option you can count on, help could be just a phone call away, meaning you won’t have to reschedule a meeting that’s so important.
Your Child is Running a Fever
If a child has a fever, that means no school or daycare … and usually no work for mom or dad. Since kids typically need to be fever-free for 24 hours before they can go back, having an in-home backup care option can save working parents a day out of the office.
Early Release Days
School calendars are filled with these. After a summer of constantly organizing child care, as a parent you look forward the routine of school being in session only to open the school calendar and find half days strewn throughout the month. When you can’t arrange a play date, backup care can be an appealing option.
School holidays aren’t always business holidays, which can be tough on working parents. Ditto for those longer holiday breaks.
It’s a Snow Day!
Snow days are great for kids, but not for working parents. Just ask any Massachusetts mom or dad, who witnessed the record snowfall last winter. When school is closed and you have no backup child care, you’re left only with the choice to call into work and tell them you can’t make it.
Professional Development Days
Check that school calendar, besides early release days and holidays, teacher professional development days creep up on you, and you start to wonder if your child is out of school more than he or she is in it.
You travel for work, your spouse works full-time, and when one of you isn’t home to pass the torch, can prove to be incredibly stressful. Having a backup child care option, even to just getting them off the bus and hang around for a few hours in the afternoon, helping with homework and more, is a real stress-reliever for working parents.
Late Nights at Work
You get to work on Monday to find a can’t-miss dinner with an important visitor or vendor on Wednesday. You go through your normal list of family, friends and the neighborhood sitter, but no one’s available. It’s times like these when having an employer-provided option meets work-life needs and builds loyalty among the workforce.
Whether or not you have to travel for them, work conferences can pose a child care dilemma. Usually they start early and end late, potentially straining your typical child care arrangements to the max.
Your Nanny’s On Vacation
Nannies have lives, too. When your nanny goes on vacation, it’s not always possible to get your kids into the local child care center for just a week. You might be able to work from home one day, get mom or dad to cover another, but having an employer-provided solution in times like these can lessen the strain of cobbling together situational care.
Daycare is Closed
It doesn’t happen often, but your daycare center can close unexpectedly, due to illness or some other reason. When this happens, working moms and dads will scramble to figure out a solution. It’s a lot easier when your employer benefits include fully vetted in-center and in-home options to meet these unexpected care needs.
You’re a Single Working Parent (Even for One Night)
For single parents with more than one child, or a married working couple with a spouse out of town, you have to figure out often times how to be in two places at once. Since you can’t be in two places at once, backup child care can be a perfect solution -- it doesn’t need to be full day help, sometimes you only need a couple of hours to get you through.
You and Your Spouse Are Sick
When both parents are sick, or if you’re a single parent and you are down for the count, having a backup child care provider to get your child to school, from school, to an after school activity, and fed is a huge help when you simply can’t do it yourself.
You Have a Family Emergency
Your mother-in-law falls and breaks her hip. That means your husband has to fly across the country to look after her, leaving you alone with the kiddos for a week. But you work second shift at the hospital and the kids aren’t old enough to be alone for all those hours after school. Friends and family can help for a few days, but having an employer-provided option to fill in the gaps is a huge load off your back.
You’re Nursing and Have to Travel for Work
It’s your first big business trip after maternity leave. The only problem is, you’re nursing and don’t work for a company that will fly your nanny across the country with you. The good news is, with backup care through Care.com Workplace Solutions, you can arrange a care solution at your destination.