The Business Case for a Back Up Emergency Care Program

Emergency care and how it could work for your organisation

Back-up care, often referred to as ’emergency care’ is offered by organisations to support employees when their usual care arrangements fall through for some reason outside the control of the employee. Back-up care can also help an employer meet its business goals by limiting losses in productivity associated with absenteeism.

By helping an employee with back-up care an employer may relieve an employee of the worry and stress associated with the sudden lack of child care. Back-up care can be provided for healthy or slightly ill kids from infant through to school age, adults and elder relatives in need. Care may be provided in a centre or at home.

A recent survey conducted by the consulting division of Bright Horizons, an American employer sponsored child care provider, surveyed more than 5800 employees at more than 400 organisations which offer back-up care to their employees.

The findings make a compelling case for offering support with finding care to employees in times of an emergency:

  • 92 percent of respondents say that back-up care positively affects their productivity
  • 86 percent of respondents reported that in the last six months, back-up care enabled them to work on a day they otherwise would not have been able to; on average, back-up care enabled them to work six days during that time
  • 87 percent of survey respondents said that back-up care reflects favorably on the company’s image
  • 67 percent are more likely to stay with their employer because of access to back-up care
  • Respondents who have used adult/elder back-up care within the past six months saved an average of 10 work days

Respondents to the Bright Horizons survey reported that having access to back-up care also helps them complete their regular work responsibilities more easily, start work on time, attend meetings, conferences and training, meet unexpected work demands, travel for work, provide good customer service, work overtime and meet performance expectations.

Improved retention rates

The Bright Horizons research also showed that 67 per cent of respondents would be more likely to stay with their employer as a direct result of having access to back-up care. In contrast, the survey showed that one in four employees without access to back-up care had seriously considered leaving their employer due to complications with child care arrangements compared with only one in 11 employees with access to back-up care services.

Back-up care arrangements can also positively affect return to work rates after parental leave. In the Bright Horizons study 78 per cent of respondents said access to back-up care was an important factor in their decision to return to work after the birth or adoption of a child.

Return on investment

In HR it’s hard to push any new ideas across the line without a clear illustration of a return on investment. Thankfully back-up care services do not have to be expensive and the return on investment can easily be measured in terms of decreased rates of absenteeism.

American law firm Alston Bird claims that the introduction of a back-up care program helped it achieve savings of US$250,458 and reduced employee absence days by 676 in one year. Offering back-up care also improved the company’s reputation as an employer and improved recruitment, retention and progression rates of working parents.

Helping employees find back-up care for their kids does not have to be complicated or costly. It could be as straightforward as referring them to an emergency care service such as that provided by Care Corporate or as simple as offering employees a range of resources on planning for sick days and options to consider when care arrangements fall through.

For more information on how Care Corporate can help you help your employees plan for the inevitable contact us today.

Bright Horizons

1. The Lasting Impact of Employer-Sponsored Back-Up Care – Bright Horizons

This Better Workplace Bulletin was First Published in July 2012