Human Resources

Backup care

The Bright Horizons backup care benefit is trying something new: out-of-network backup care. From April 1 – June 30, 2022, you have the option to secure care from within your own personal network (a neighbor, friend, or babysitter) and receive a reimbursement of $100 per day. See “How do I access Bright Horizons backup care?” below for details.

PEBB-eligible employees and students are eligible for backup child care through Bright Horizons and KinderCare. Backup care can help if you need time to focus on a project, if your regular caregiver is unavailable or you are between child care arrangements.

In order to provide you with backup care options, we’ve negotiated subsidized rates with two providers: Bright Horizons and KinderCare. While both deliver high-quality care, the services and costs vary slightly between the two.

Backup care during COVID-19 will require some planning but it remains a great option for many families. We hope these frequently asked questions will help you decide whether backup care can work for your family and encourage you to contact Bright Horizons and KinderCare directly with any questions.

Bright Horizons and KinderCare have developed health and safety protocols based upon guidance public health authorities. Expect that your child may not be eligible for care if they are experiencing certain symptoms or if they or a family member has had a recent close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Bright Horizons offers backup care in your home, or wherever you are traveling in the United States, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can also request in-center backup care through a nationwide network of high quality childcare centers, including Bright Horizons, KinderCare and many more. Centers serve children ages 5 and under and many are providing school-aged care during the pandemic.

The availability of in-center back-up care is unpredictable due to COVID-19. Our providers advise that it may take longer than usual for them to confirm your request and offer the following tips for accessing care:

  • Request care as far in advance as possible,
  • If different sites will work for your family, request care at multiple locations for the same care date
  • Confirm care when it is offered to you – even if you may need to later cancel.

Eligible employees and UW students have a total of 15 backup childcare uses each calendar year, 5 through Bright Horizons and 10 through KinderCare. These reset annually on January 1.

When using backup care through Bright Horizons, one day of care counts as one use, regardless of whether the care is provided in a child care center or in your home, and regardless of the number of children receiving care.

When using in-center care through KinderCare, each child receiving care counts as a use. In other words, your yearly allocation will decrease by two if you send two children to a center for one day.

The UW backup and sick child care program has limited funding and limited overall uses. Parents will be able to access services as long as yearly contract limitations are not exceeded. If program use exceeds funds available, the program may be suspended.

Bright Horizons in-center backup care costs $20 per child and $35 per family. In-home care costs $32 for up to four hours of care (for up to three of your children). Each additional hour costs $8.

KinderCare charges $20 per child per day (full or partial).

Bright Horizons provides backup care options in your home and in child care centers throughout Puget Sound and nationwide.

From April 1 to June 30, 2022, the Bright Horizons backup care benefit is trying something new: out-of-network backup care. Out-of-network backup care allows you to secure care from within your own personal network (a neighbor, friend, or babysitter) and receive reimbursement of $100 per day. In-center backup care costs $20 per child and $35 per family. Out-of-network backup care does not have an upfront cost. In-home care costs $32 for up to four hours of care (for up to three of your children). Each additional hour costs $8.

You may use a combination of these three services up to five times per calendar year.

Register

PEBB-eligible employees and GAIP-eligible students: Before using backup care, take the following steps to register with Bright Horizons and create your personal account.

  • On the sign in page, click “Sign Up”
  • Enter UnivWa in the Employer Username field.
  • Enter 4Backup in the Employer Password field.
  • Create your personal Bright Horizons user name and password.
  • Enter your family’s information.

If you have problems registering, call Bright Horizons at 877-242-2737.

Students who are not GAIP-eligible: To register for backup care, email childcare@uw.edu requesting access to Bright Horizons backup care. Include your name, UW NetID, preferred email contact, phone number and your UW Student ID number in your message.

Requesting care

Once you’ve registered, you will get instructions about how to request your backup care. Before requesting care, be sure to review Bright Horizons’ Backup Care User Policy – COVID-19 protocol for center and in-home care to assess if your child is eligible for care.

Bright Horizons cannot guarantee that in-home care providers will be vaccinated against COVID-19. When requesting backup care, use the notes field to indicate if you will only accept a vaccinated caregiver if that is applicable to your household. Always talk with your assigned care provider about your COVID-19 safety expectations when you confirm your in-home care arrangements.

When requesting out-of-network care, be sure to select “Request Reimbursement” during the backup care reservation process and elect to use out-of-network care. See Bright Horizon’s step-by-step guide on how to submit an Out-of-Network Care reservation request.

Backup care is provided on a first-come, first-served basis and availability is not guaranteed. If you are requesting in-center care, note that availability remains unpredictable during the pandemic and it may take longer for Bright Horizons to respond to your request due to COVID-19.

You are strongly encouraged to request in- home and center-based care as far in advance as possible and to request care at all centers that can possibly work for your family. Beginning January 1, 2022, requests may be made 60 days before you need services. Many providers allow “Instant Booking” and selecting that option will confirm your care immediately.

Backup care cancellations must be made 24 hours prior to the date of care in order to avoid charges. If you need to cancel your appointment, do so before 5 p.m. on the day prior to your scheduled care. If you cancel after this deadline, you’ll be billed for all the hours you originally scheduled.

KinderCare provides backup care options throughout Puget Sound and nationwide. The cost is $20 per child per day (full or partial), and you may use the service up to 10 times per calendar year.

Register

Before scheduling care, register for backup child care on the KinderCare website. On the registration page, select University of Washington from the drop down menu then leave the company code blank. Phone: 1-888-525-2780 and select option 3

Requesting care

Be sure to review KinderCare’s COVID-19 health and safety procedures to assess if your child is eligible for care.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll get instructions on how to request backup care. On the KinderCare website, you’ll be able to review details about each child care center.

Backup care is provided on a first-come, first-served basis and availability is not guaranteed. Availability remains unpredictable during the pandemic and it may take longer for KinderCare to respond to your request due to COVID-19.

You are strongly encouraged to request care as far in advance as possible (up to 30 days in advance), to request care at all centers that can possibly work for your family and to confirm care when it is offered to you – even if you may need to later cancel your scheduled care.

If you need to cancel backup care, do so before 5 p.m. on the day prior to your scheduled care. If you cancel after 5 p.m., you’ll be responsible for the $20 per child copay and will lose the day of care from your backup care allocation.

Please contact Bright Horizons and KinderCare directly with questions about their services. See information on this page about accessing care for their contact information.

E-mail childcare@uw.edu if you have questions about UW’s backup care program.