Best Practices for a Best-in-Class Backup Care Program

Best Practices for a Best-in-Class Backup Care Program

Backup care benefit programs help employees find and pay for care when their regular plans break down on a workday. As these programs have been proven to greatly increase employee productivity, focus and loyalty while reducing employee stress, absenteeism and turnover, they’re one of the fastest growing benefits in the industry. Plus, with the current climate and employees forced to navigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis, these programs have never been more relevant to both employees and their employers.

It’s no secret that the impacts and cost to an organization when employees have to miss work can mount up over time. A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report notes that costs of employee absence include productivity loss, payroll, overtime and replacement worker costs.

Additionally, SHRM found that the total cost of U.S. employee absence ranged from 20.9% to 22.1% of payroll and the average employee productivity loss associated with an unplanned absence is 36.6%, while on average co-workers were 29.5% less productive when providing coverage and supervisors were 15.7% less productive.

According to a Harvard Business School study 73% of employees are responsible for some type of caregiving and more than 80% of employees with caregiving responsibilities admitted that caregiving affected their productivity. A ReadyNation report that found each year care challenges resulting in productivity problems cause employers to lose nearly $13 billion, adding to an annual economic cost of $57 billion in lost productivity, earnings and revenue.

In addition to productivity loss, SHRM reports that 69% of participants indicated unplanned absences add to the workload, 61% said they experience increased stress and almost half reported unplanned absences hurt morale.

Best Practices for a Best-in-Class Backup Care Program

Meanwhile, when you consider that during normal times employees are struggling to find care and remain productive, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the demand for employee backup care benefits. We’ve seen firsthand the emergency care needs of employees nationwide. Here are just a few recent real member requests we’ve received.

  • A member called because one of his daughters woke up with a fever, and due to current COVID-19 guidelines, both of his children were unable to attend daycare for two weeks. He needed to arrange in-home care right away, so we secured an in-home caregiver for the requested time in less than two hours.
  • After being exposed to someone that tested positive for COVID-19, a member called to find backup care for her elderly mother who has dementia. She is her mother’s primary caregiver, and while the member had to quarantine for 14 days, she needed a caregiver that could assist her mom with some activities of daily living until her quarantine period ended. After researching several agencies, we found and secured a caregiver that fit their needs in less than 24 hours.
  • A member called looking for backup child care when her regular caregiver was unavailable due to a health emergency. She mentioned a particular care provider she’d used in the past and trusted and was hoping to use again. We reached out to the provider and secured the requested caregiver within 30 minutes.

Without their backup care benefit, all of these employees might’ve been forced to miss days of work, potentially weeks. So, while it’s clear that implementing a best-in-class backup care program is a terrific way to combat the high cost of absenteeism associated with disruptions in employees’ regular care routines, not all backup care programs measure up. Here are some backup care best practices to consider when looking for the right program for your organization.


  • Plan design and configuration options that allow an organization to customize the benefit offering to meet their goals and employee needs.
  • Allowing for program changes and enhancements after launch based on evolving organizational or employee needs and usage, without incremental costs or fees.
  • Employee engagement tools that uniquely promote the program targeted at each organization’s unique employee base specifically.
  • Coverage expanded beyond child to include senior, self and pet care to support the full needs of an employer’s population.
  • Diverse care provider options that give employees the freedom to choose the care that makes them most comfortable, strengthening utilization of the program.
  • Support of both planned and unplanned events with the ability to find care in advance and the agility to support emergency needs.
  • Multi-channel, 24/7/365 access including phone, web or mobile app to allow employees to use the benefit however and whenever they want and need.


  • End-to-end employer support from implementation to launch and beyond, making it seamless and effortless for the employer to administer the program.
  • Ongoing program utilization reporting and insights provide the optics to optimize and customize the program for maximum utilization.
  • Custom promotions tapping the expertise behind the program to enhance awareness and engage employees fully.
  • Experience and strategies to ensure high quality service across the various personas of backup care users.
  • Highly trained representatives that are experts at diagnosing and understanding employee needs and finding the most effective solution for each case.
  • Comprehensive employee support throughout the case process from first touch to follow up.


  • Simple visit model that allows unused visits to roll over to the next year or new visits to be purchased during the plan year.
  • No hidden costs, additional fees, penalties, price escalations, etc.
  • Unbiased care options that are not tied to the program provider’s revenue.
  • Simple copay model that’s affordable and easy for employees to understand and use.
  • Per visit structure allows members to take the time they need for care without concern of ‘beating the clock’ to avoid incremental costs or fees.

Best Practices for a Best-in-Class Backup Care Program

While both employers’ and employees’ needs are always changing, especially in the face of a crisis like COVID-19, it’s vital to implement support programs that will help both an organization and its workforce to thrive. LifeCare’s industry leading backup care program is designed to support our members and clients when they need us most.

In fact, as we saw a 600% spike in backup care requests when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, unlike many other providers, LifeCare’s backup care program model put us in the best possible position to offer continuity of care. We seamlessly handled this significant increase in volume at the same service level.

Additionally, LifeCare’s program design allowed for quick collaboration with clients to make program modifications to meet their expanding backup care needs, such as increasing reimbursement rates, waiving copays and adding additional visits, so their employees were able get to work during the pandemic.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can customize a high-impact backup care program for your organization, contact us here or call us at (833) 282-3366.