Back-Up Care for Children and Adults

We are pleased to offer a Back-Up Care benefit through Bright Horizons to BU faculty and staff for children, adults, and elders for planned as well as last-minute circumstances.

Back-up care services are available to ease some of the concerns you may have about continuity of caregiving for both children and adults. Back-up care is designed to provide alternative care until regular care arrangements can resume. This benefit provides you with a national network of vetted caregivers for children and adults. You have round-the-clock access to services through the web, a mobile app, and by phone.

As Boston University faculty and staff, this back-up care benefit allows you to continue to provide care for your family members even when your regular care plan is disrupted for any number of reasons.

Annual Benefit Limit:

  • 10 days per employee

In-Home Back-Up Child, Adult and Elder Care

Bright Horizons Back-Up Care can be used anytime you need to be at work, but your family member needs assistance or support.

Examples of when you can use back-up childcare include:

  • Your child’s school or center is closed.
  • You have a change in your work schedule and need in-home childcare for evening and/or weekend hours.
  • You are in between childcare arrangements.
  • Your regular caregiver is unavailable.

Examples of when you can use back-up adult and elder care include:

  • Your parent’s regular in-home care provider is unavailable.
  • Your grandparents live out of state and need assistance.
  • Your parents live with your sister and your sister has a temporary conflict making her unable to care for them.
  • Your mother-in-law is in the hospital and you would like someone to be with her for support.
  • Your spouse or partner (or other adult family member) is recovering from an injury or surgery and needs assistance.


  • In-Home Care – $6 per hour (child and elder care)
    • One in-home caregiver can care for up to three children
  • In-Center Care – $15 per child per day; $25 per family per day (childcare only)
    • Limited availability due to COVID-19


You and your family member(s) must be registered for Bright Horizons Back-Up Care before you can make a reservation and use the services. We strongly recommend that you register in advance so that you are ready to use the benefit when you need care.

Register and Reserve Back-Up Care using one of these options:

  • Go Online.
    • Be sure to use your full name and BU ID number.
  • Download the App: Search “back-up care” in the App Store or Google Play

Taxability of the Value of the Benefit

The back-up care benefit that you receive may be taxable. Internal Revenue Code allows you to set aside a maximum of $5,000 per calendar year tax free for dependent care assistance. The maximum includes both Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account contributions and the value of any back-up care subsidies. Any amounts that exceed the $5,000 maximum are subject to federal and statement income tax withholding and Social Security and Medicare tax withholding.

Frequently Asked Questions


Bright Horizons: Call the toll-free number at 1-877-BH-CARES (242-2737). Care consultants are available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

Boston University: Please direct any questions you may have to the Human Resources Service Center at or 617-353-2380.