Back Up Care: FAQs


Your employer has partnered with Bright Horizons to support you as you balance your work responsibilities with caring for your loved ones with Back-Up Care.

Back-Up Care, provided by Bright Horizons, is a valuable service accessible to you as part of your company benefits. It serves as a reliable solution for unexpected disruptions in your regular family care arrangements, ensuring that you can continue working without compromising your caregiving responsibilities.

Registration is free and there is a dedicated 24/7 contact centre, with care consultants who are available to assist you in finding the best possible options tailored to your specific needs. Bright Horizons Back-Up Care aims to support you in maintaining a harmonious work-life balance while providing peace of mind during challenging times.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your Bright Horizons Back-Up Care benefit offers a safety net of care options should you experience a breakdown in your usual arrangements.

As well as back-up childcare options, you may also have adult/elder back-up care, please check your programme on your benefit platform or speak to your HR consultant to check what’s available.

Care options include:

Back-Up Childcare

  • Nursery care for children up to 5 years.
  • Holiday clubs/camps during the school holidays.
  • In-home care with a
  • Local, trusted childminders.

Back-Up Adult & Eldercare (if offered by employer)

  • In-home care with an adult care worker for adult dependants aged 18 years or over.
  • Personal support for yourself, or for your partner – for example if either of you are getting over an operation or accident.
  • Respite care to give you a break and offer support with any adult caring responsibilities.

A: All permanent UK employees are eligible to use this programme.

A: Your children, including adopted, foster and stepchildren (up to 17 years), and if your programme includes adult and eldercare, it will also cover any adult (over 18 years) for whom you have caring responsibilities, including adult children, spouses, parents, grandparents, in-laws, and yourself.

A: Your programme specific details can be found on your benefit platform once you register for the benefit.

There is a four-hour minimum for all types of care.

A: Yes. The Back-Up Care programme is designed to help you should you experience a dependent care emergency. The care consultant will begin sourcing care for you as soon as your request is received, even if this is during the night, but will typically not be able to confirm the arrangements until the childcare centres or in-home care agencies open for business, usually at 7.30am the next day.

A: This is dependent on your specific program, please check on your benefit platform for details.

A: If an employee contribution is required, you will pay this at the time of booking by means of either a credit or a debit card. No deduction will be made until after the care has taken place. depending on the type of care that has been booked. More information is detailed below in relation to this.

A: Yes, however we may need to seek approval from your employer.

A: Yes, you can use the back-up care benefit for work purposes. This can be particularly useful for Keeping in Touch (KIT) days.


A: You and your family member(s) must be registered for the Work+Family Space before you can make a back-up care reservation and use the back-up care services. We strongly recommend that you register in advance so that you are ready to use the benefit when you need care.

To register:

  • Log into your Work+Family Space and click ‘Join today’
  • Verify your benefit eligibility by adding the relevant details
  • Follow the steps, including selecting your ‘life stages’


A: Once registered, sign-in to Back-Up Care via your Work+Family Space by clicking on the yellow button that says either ‘Start Booking’ or ‘Book Back-Up Care’.

You’ll be able to see the care options available to you depending on your programme details.

  • Select Care Type: Choose the care type you require, e.g., Care for my Family
  • Request Care: Select or add a care recipient and select the date/s you need care. Choose/add a location you want the care to be at or near then choose from your local providers and complete the steps to request a booking.
  • Receive Confirmation: Once care is requested, or team will contact you to confirm availability.

View a step-by-step guide on how to book back-up care here.

You can make reservations for care services online, via our app, or by phone.

  • Online: Log in on your Work+Family Space and click on the yellow button that says either ‘Start Booking’ or ‘Book Back-Up Care’. Alternatively, visit and log in using the username and password you created during registration.
  • Back-Up Care mobile app: Search ‘Back-Up Care’ in the App Store or Google Play
  • Phone: Call the freephone number 0800 247 1101 and speak to one of our dedicated Care Consultants.

As part of the reservation process you will be required to provide the following information:

  • Your relationship to the care recipient and their health information, e.g., allergies and special requirements. Please note, when you add a care recipient, their details will be saved for future bookings.
  • Your relevant contact and employment information.
  • An emergency contact (e.g., spouse/partner, grandparent, friend) as a responsible adult who is authorised to pick up care recipients.
  • Care locations - any addresses where you will typically need care at or near to, for example home, work or grandparents.

A: No. A Bright Horizons Care Consultant will source and reserve care on your behalf, so please do not contact the provider/caregiver directly.

A: Any change to your booking, including hours of care, location or type of care required should be made as soon as possible. Changes can be made online, through the Back-Up Care mobile app, or by calling the Care Consultants on 0800 247 1101. Please do not try to contact the care provider/caregiver directly.

A: You may cancel or modify your reservation any time before 5:00pm (local time) two business days prior to care without penalty. If you cancel or reschedule after 5:00pm two business days prior to care, the care session will count against your remaining utilisation and any applicable copay will be charged. Cancellations can be made online, via the Back-Up Care mobile app, or by calling the Care Consultants on 0800 247 1101.

Your annual allowance of back-up care must be used during your allocated use year. Any unused days are forfeited.

A: This programme is provided solely by Bright Horizons and if you use the service, you do so entirely of your own volition. It is important that you read Bright Horizons Privacy Policy before you decide to proceed and use the service. If you have any questions regarding how Bright Horizons may process your personal data, please contact Bright Horizons on 0800 247 1101.


A: Examples of when you might need back-up childcare include:

  • When your regular caregiver is ill or on holiday and cannot provide care.
  • Your child’s school or nursery is closed, for example on inset days.
  • Your child is mildly ill and cannot attend their regular care setting.
  • You need to work on an unscheduled day and do not have care provision in place.
  • You are in-between childcare arrangements.
  • To assist your transition back to work such as KIT days.

A: Yes. You can book care in advance, so this will be particularly useful for inset days. You will also be able to request care at short notice if the school is closed for a strike or other emergency.

A: If you have valid childcare vouchers available, you can use these for nurseries and holiday clubs in the Bright Horizons network. You will be required to release the appropriate co-pay amount from your childcare voucher account quoting your booking reference as the reference code and our Care Consultants will be able to advise you of the process for your specific childcare voucher provider. You should make such arrangements directly from your existing childcare account.

A: For school age children we have a UK wide network of holiday camps, clubs, and playschemes. The benefit is not designed to replace your usual school holiday care arrangements. Its purpose is to provide you with back-up care if these plans break down or if there is a gap of a few days in-between care arrangements.


A: Please ask your care provider for their specific late fee policy and rates. Most nurseries have a late fee policy for child pick-up after the agreed upon time. Employees will be solely responsible for any late fees incurred. Payment would be made directly to the provider in these instances.

A: Please read our top tips for preparing for a day of nursery care.

A: We highly recommend that parents visit the childcare setting prior to any care taking place, however we appreciate that this is not always possible. Visiting a nursery allows you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the childcare setting, meet the staff team, ask questions and, depending on the age of your child, see whether they are comfortable in their surroundings.

A: If your child is attending a Bright Horizons nursery, you will need to complete and upload the care forms under your child’s back-up care profile or take these with when you drop off your child at the setting.

For care at one of our approved nurseries within our extended network, once care is confirmed the centre will supply you with the necessary registration forms to complete prior to care delivery or on arrival at the setting. These are forms are specific to each individual setting and are a legal requirement by the governing body e.g., Ofsted in England, and we would recommend allowing some extra time at drop off for the required paperwork to be completed.



A: When making an in-home childcare booking, a legal adult, (someone who is at least 18 years of age,) must be present when both the nanny arrives and departs. Please also ensure that you check the caregiver’s ID on arrival.

The daily activity sheet is provided to ensure a smooth handover process, providing the nanny with key information about your families’ needs and requirements. At the end of the day the nanny will provide you with a summary to keep you informed of your child’s/children’s daily activities.

A: Please read our top tips for preparing for a day of care with a nanny.

A: Caregivers may not transport any care recipient in a private vehicle and are only allowed to accompany a care recipient using public transportation (i.e., bus, train, or special transit) when required in connection with the care provided and only with the prior authorisation of the employee and notification of Bright Horizons. For childcare, caregivers cannot use taxi/lyft/uber with any minor dependent who is, under applicable law, required to be restrained by anything other than a seatbelt. The employee (and not the care provider) must make any taxi/uber/lyft arrangements.

A: Yes. Meal preparation is related to the care recipients only. Please note that meal preparation does not include preparing meals for upcoming days/weeks and preparing meals for other family members that are not using the benefit.

A: Yes. Light housekeeping is reasonable if it relates to the care of your child(ren) only.

Light housekeeping normally includes cleaning the kitchen after meals/snack preparation, straightening up family/living room and children’s room, (if the child has played in the room during the day,) etc. Light housekeeping does not include the following: vacuuming, laundry, dusting, cleaning of toilets/bathing areas, etc. (The only time that the caregiver will provide any of the above services is when the care recipient has created a mess that would require the above services.)

A: The activities the nanny will undertake are very much dependent on the age of your child(ren.) Our nanny’s main priority is the safety and wellbeing of your child(ren.) The nanny will endeavour to follow your child’s normal routine where possible such as: playing games, singing, colouring, going to the park, doing homework etc.

Nannies may not accompany care recipients to any body of water (public or back garden pools, lakes, etc.) other than in connection with a pre-arranged activity with a third party responsible for the activity (such as a swimming lesson with an instructor), and only with the prior authorisation of the employee.

A: to control fever or pain relief if all other temperature control methods have failed. The nanny will telephone the parent prior to administering the medication. The medication will only be administered if it is available at the place where the child is being looking after and in pre-packaged sachets up to the manufacturers’ recommended dose. If such medication fails to reduce any fever within 30 minutes, the nanny will contact the parent and medical advice will be sought. Please note that nannies may not dispense prescribed medication directly to any care recipient in their care.

When the nanny arrives at your home, you will need to show the nanny where your medication kit is kept and provide full instruction for using it. The nannies in our network are required to be trained in First Aid. Caregivers are also trained in the emergency protocols and procedures that a particular placement might require. Rescue medication is different from medication administered or required on a regular basis. It does not require specific training or medical expertise to administer. Other than rescue medication, caregivers may not administer any other medication except for Calpol.

You may make other arrangements for third parties to dispense medications, example a neighbour. Please make sure that you advise the Care Consultant that this requirement is needed when making your booking.

A: We will always endeavour to have the nanny call you prior to the start of your booking. However, in an emergency, i.e., when care is needed ASAP on the same day it has booked, this is not always possible, and we will ask for the nanny agency to call you in this instance.

Should you wish to arrange a meet and greet prior to your care booking, this can be arranged with the Care Consultant, and it will count as one of your uses and the applicable employee contribution will be charged.

A: No visitors shall be permitted on the premises without prior authorisation of the employee. Authorised individuals must provide photo identification to be given access to the premises. In addition to this, no authorised visitors may be under 18 years of age, (not residing in the home.) Bright Horizons cannot be responsible for missing items not properly secured or which would/should be covered by homeowner’s insurance.

A: Yes. Bright Horizons will work to secure care with your preferred in-home caregiver. However, the caregiver may not always be available if they are confirmed for another family’s back-up care request. 

ADULT & ELDERCARE (if provided by employer)

A: You might need to book adult/eldercare when:

  • Your regular in-home care provider is ill or on holiday.
  • An adult relative has a medical appointment and needs support.
  • You or your loved one needs support during recovery from an illness, operation or injury (e.g. washing, dressing, light house chores).
  • Your parent(s) lives far away and needs urgent assistance or companion care.
  • Your grandparents live with another relative who needs urgent respite.
  • You need assistance for an adult relative with day-to-day support, giving you a break.

A: The in-home adult care agency must undertake a home assessment prior to care taking place, as set out by Government regulatory agencies (Care Quality Commission or equivalent) to assess the level of care required and to do a health and safety check on the premises. Each new agency that provides care will need to complete their own home assessment. Home assessments can be arranged within a few hours but may take a few days to schedule and must be performed by a carer from the staffing agency. No employee contribution is charged for the assessment. The assessment is typically valid for

A: There may be some additional costs, for example in relation to parking, however any additional costs are discussed on a case-by-case basis. Payment would be made directly to the provider in these instances.

A: Yes. Please make sure to specify this need when booking your care arrangement.

A: No, however it may be advisable to have someone present when the home assessment takes place. Please ensure that Caregiver’s ID is checked on arrival.

A: No. In-home adult care workers are only allowed to remind the care recipient to take their prescribed medication.

A: No, the adult family member does not have to live with you. Back-up care is available nationwide, so even if the family member lives in a different part of the country, you can still take advantage of the benefit.

A: Yes. Bright Horizons will work to secure care with your preferred in-home caregiver. However, the caregiver may not always be available if they are confirmed for another family’s back-up care request. 


A: Bright Horizons contracts directly with reputable agencies and is by invitation only. To join our network, Bright Horizons requires specific criteria, such as:

  • Appropriate insurance coverage
  • Robust recruitment and vetting procedures including Disclosure and Barring Service checks (formerly CRB)
  • Training programmes that include first aid certification
  • Health and safety practice
  • Environmental health outcomes
  • First aid certification

Once selected, providers are contracted directly with Bright Horizons.

A: If your nursery, holiday club and/or childminder is not currently part of the Bright Horizons network, you can recommend them for participation by submitting an online nomination form. Each nominated provider will need to meet Bright Horizons Family Solutions’ credentialing criteria before being added to the network.

A: All nurseries in the network are either Bright Horizons nurseries or nurseries that have been audited by Bright Horizons to ensure they meet the established standards of quality, including developmentally appropriate curriculum, staff to child ratios and qualifications. You can view inspection reports for each nursery or holiday club by visiting the website of the relevant statutory body e.g. Ofsted/Care Inspectorate Scotland/ETI/ESTYN or CIW

A: The Bright Horizons website only shows details of Bright Horizons nurseries, it does not include details of the full network of approved providers. Visit your benefits platform and log in to Back-Up Care to find out where your closest care solution is.


To find out how Bright Horizons can support you and your family, simply visit your benefit platform or call the Bright Horizons Care Consultants on 0800 247 1101. Alternatively, please contact a member of your HR Department.

A: Your feedback is very important in helping us manage the quality and experience people have when using the programme. We will email you a link to a survey following the last date of care each time you book care with us. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey and let us know how we are doing. In addition, you can always contact us by phone 24/7 on 0800 247 1101.