• Family Care

Implementing a Back-Up Care programme: 10 things you should know

Thinking about a back-up care programme? Nina Pitcairn, Business Development Manager at Bright Horizons, shares key information about what makes a great programme.

It’s care for all the family

A great back up care programme can provide care for all members of the family – children, adults, elderly relatives and those with additional needs. Care can be arranged whenever it is needed – at short notice or pre-arranged – and cover a range of scenarios, such as an ill nanny, an unexpected work meeting, home support after an operation or accident, or care for a loved one living far away. Care can be provided in-home and childcare can be arranged both in-home or at a nursery, preschool, playscheme, holiday club and after-school club. At Bright Horizons, we even have 300 Bright Horizons nurseries and preschools available for families!

High-quality service and care providers

The quality of care providers can be a deciding factor in whether an employee wishes to use back-up care for their family. Leaving your children and loved ones with an unknown individual can be a daunting prospect, especially for first time parents and those looking after vulnerable adults. A high-quality network of providers is therefore paramount for every back-up care programme. Knowing your family are being cared for by a high-qualified professional can provide peace of mind to focus on the day ahead.

Comprehensive Insurance Policies

Insurance and liability cover can be a crucial part of a back-up care programme so it is always worthwhile checking the level of cover for your families and the insurance of the care providers.

At Bright Horizons, Keeping Everyone Safe is our number one priority and this extends across our organisation. We have extensive data protection and information security policies, procedures and technology, which protects our clients and their families. We have a wealth of experience in working with clients from different sectors, many of whom have specific security requirements, including the Ministry of Defence, NHS, HSBC, Shell and BP, and many FTSE 100 companies.

10,000,000 in public liability coverage

Indemnity up to £10,000,000 for clients and their families

Insurance for nannies and adult carers (Bright Horizons does not rely on carers to have their own individual cover, unlike other back-up care providers)

Flexible Benefits Platform

To make the most of a back-up care programme, it needs to sit on a flexible platform as a core employee benefit. If it is simply open to employee selection at the start of the year, employees may not select the benefit until they need it, which may be too late for the benefit window.

Gender Pay Gap

Back-up care has been identified as a key benefit for attracting and retaining senior women in leadership positions, providing practical support to help them grow and thrive in the workplace and at home.

Streamlined Implementation and Launch Process

A dedicated Account Manager will be able to work alongside you and your organisation to ensure a streamlined implementation and launch programme. At Bright Horizons, our highly-experienced Account Managers have worked with clients both new to back-up care and those transitioning services to Bright Horizons to successfully launch their programme and ensure that the benefit continues to have a positive impact for the organisation and its people.

Programme Parameters

Adding programme parameters is highly recommended when launching a back-up care programme to ensure that the programme works for the organisation and the individual. The parameters may include adding a co-payment scheme (where the employee and employer contributes to the cost), placing a limit on the number of consecutive days an employee can use back-up care and how far in advance back-up care can be arranged.

Bringing the benefit in on a Budget

Adding a new benefit and receiving sign-off at board level can be tricky and will often require an agreement on a budget. Budget can be reviewed on an ongoing basis so it’s important to make sure you receive regular reports and meetings to monitor usage and hear feedback. At Bright Horizons, our Account Managers report monthly and annually on Bright Horizons Care Advantage programme and adapt to meet the needs of the organisation.

Employer-Sponsored Benefit

Back-up care is highly valued by families and although a few organisations have launched the programme on an employee-funded basis, feedback has informed us that back-up has the most impact when it is sponsored by the employer.

Taxable Benefits In Kind

Back-up care is a benefit in kind and tax arises from the cost of care delivered. The tax can be paid by the employer or passed on to the employee and paid via P11D. How each programme pricing is structured can be tailored to the organisation and we would always recommend for organisations to seek professional advice from a tax advisor.


If you have any questions about a back-up care programme or would like to learn more about how Bright Horizons could help you, please email me at nina.pitcairn@brighthorizons.com

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