Backup Care

COVID-19 and Backup Care, Care@Work

  • Hopkins has expanded this benefit from 10 to 20 days
  • Now available to benefits-eligible employees of the following entities: Hospital; Health System; Community Physicians; Health Care; Home Care Group; Home Health Services; Pharmaquip; Pediatric at Home; Bayview; Emergency Medical Services; Suburban Hospital & Suburban Physicians; Howard County Hospitals & TCAS; Sibley Hospital; All Children’s Hospital.

How to Use Care@Work
Care@Work Resources

Care@Work Covid Webinar FAQs – PDF

ContentsClick on a question to jump to it.


What is backup care?

Backup care is care for your child or elder when your regular care breaks down, so that you are able to work. Hopkins provides partial payment of back up care for up to 20 days per year (through June 2020). There is a minimum of 4 hours and maximum of 10 hours for backup care, which counts as one day.

Care@Work by is a service that matches you with a backup care provider up to your maximum of 20 days.

If you need more care than this, for whatever reason, you can access the digital portal to help you in your search.

How are caregivers vetted?

There is different vetting for each of the two types of searches:

  1. All backup caregivers placed by Care@Work have undergone in-depth vetting. This includes:
    • Child care reference checks
    • Video or in-person interviews
    • State/county criminal background checks (based on 7-year address history)
    • National Sex Offender Public Website check
    • U.S. work eligibility verification
  1. Caregivers that are hired independently in the digital network, are vetted primarily by you, the parent, with support from a variety of monitors site interactions and screens members to promote a safe community. Generally, does not verify member content, nor do they background check all caregivers. Families have access to the Safety Center, can run background checks offered through, and are advised to follow this five-step process when hiring a caregiver.

What extra screening measures are happening due to COVID-19?

Families: During the request process, family members are asked to share if they or anyone in their household has been exposed or shows symptoms. One must indicate that their household has been symptom-free for 14 days or they must have proof of medical clearance. If these conditions are not met, will not service the backup care request.

 Caregivers: Care providers must adhere to CDC-recommended best practices and are asked to alert of any COVID-19 related impact/exposure both for themselves and any member of their household. The same expectations stand with all agency partners. While this relies on self-reporting, providers are encouraged to be conscientious and transparent about this and notifying accordingly.

If providers are going to different homes each day, doesn’t that increase risk of exposure?

There has been an increase in multi-day backup care requests during this time. is doing their best to assign one caregiver to a multi-day job, thereby reducing the number of different families caregivers interact with.


Can I have the same caregiver every time?

During the request process you will have the option to request a previous caregiver. If they are available, then that caregiver will be assigned to you again. If the caregiver is already assigned to another backup care job, a different caregiver will be assigned to you.

Can I talk to my caregiver beforehand?

Prior to arrival your caregiver will call you so you can get to know one another and confirm details for your day(s) of care. If you have further questions about the qualifications and vetting of backup care providers, please contact They are ready and available to help.

Can the backup provider provide care if I am working from home?

Yes. If you are working from home, you may use backup care to watch your children.

How do I pay my provider from

Add your credit card to your account profile; payments to caregivers are managed by For backup care, you will only be charged the rate according to your salary, for the timespan of the job. For providers hired from the digital network, you pay the rate agreed upon with your provider. In both cases, you are only charged after the care is provided.

I am an essential worker. Does the state of Maryland cover the cost of my in-home care, or just center-based care?

At this time, in-home child care is not free for essential workers in Maryland. Anyone can use in-home care in MD, but must pay for it, regardless of essential status. Child care providers are essential personnel and therefore are allowed to travel and operate under Governor Hogan’s order.

The state of Maryland is currently paying for essential workers’ child care in centers that have been specially licensed to operate during the COVID-19 state of emergency. If you think you would qualify for free child care during this emergency period, contact LOCATE. Complete and submit the LOCATE: Child Care Registration Form, and a specialist will contact you as soon as possible. You may also call LOCATE at 1-800-999-0120, option 2, or

Read about other states’ guidelines here.

Are there enough providers? I don’t want to take care away from an essential frontline health care worker.

Care@Work is continuously working to scale their network to meet increased demand. So far, there is enough care available. If Care@Work cannot find someone, you are able to use Personal Network backup care, which allows you to be reimbursed for part of the cost of a caregiver you find on your own.


What if cannot fill your backup care request?

If your backup care request cannot be filled by, you will be notified as soon as possible, and are then able to hire a provider whom you know from your own Personal Network of friends, family, and neighbors. You will pay your Personal Network provider directly, obtain a receipt, and upload it to to be reimbursed according to your salary rate, up to $125 per day. Learn How to Get Reimbursed for Personal Network Backup Care.

I’m more comfortable with someone I know. Can my friend/babysitter/family member become a backup provider with so I can hire them? What is the process and how long does it take?

When you request backup care, if a caregiver from the Care@Work network is not available, then you are allowed to pay someone from your Personal Network to care for your child(ren) then submit a form for reimbursement.

Caregivers are being hired in various locations throughout the United States to support clients and their employees. You can encourage your network to follow this link to apply to be a backup caregiver: Hiring timelines vary based on state. The Care@Work network team is working rapidly to interview, onboard and train new caregivers daily. For more information on becoming a caregiver for Care@Work, please go to

Your network can also create a profile to be a provider on the digital portal. It’s relatively quick and easy. Caregivers on the digital portal are not eligible for the reduced rates based on your salary, but are able to find jobs and use the safety and screening tools available.


If my backup care provider is from my Personal Network, will they be issued a 1099 for tax purposes?

For tax year 2020, nanny taxes apply only when a family pays any household employee $2,200 or more in a calendar year (or $1,000 or more in a calendar quarter for unemployment insurance taxes). If you have further questions about taxes and your provider, call for a free consultation, (888) 273-3356.

Your obligations will vary depending on where you live. Not all states have income taxes, while others require additional taxes to be withheld from your employee, paid by the employer or both. To see the specific requirements where you live, visit the nanny tax page for your state.

Can I use my Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account to pay for backup care or digital network care for my child?

Yes, you may use Dependent Care Flexible Spending to pay for the care of children under age 13. Retain your receipts, as you must submit them to Discovery Benefits for reimbursements.

I need help with grocery shopping and delivery for my elderly or immune-compromised relatives. Would that be a job for the digital network, or for back-up care?

If you would like someone to run errands for your family member, you are able to use backup care or the digital network. If requesting as backup care, there is a minimum of 4 hours for a job and a maximum of 10 hours, and the job will count as one day.

During COVID-19, since the pool of home health aides and nurses serving backup care requests for adults may be limited for errand-type jobs, you may want to consider hiring from the digital network. You may also enter a different zip code associated with your request to serve your family member if they live in a different city than you do.


Is there care available for children on the spectrum/with special needs?

Yes. As you request backup care, you can indicate the needs of your child, and will notify you of whether or not they can match you with a backup care provider who has experience supporting those needs.

If you are hiring through the digital network, you can search for providers who are experienced with special needs, or indicate that you require special needs experience when you post a job.


I have a membership that I already paid for. Can I link this to my Johns Hopkins access?

Yes. When you visit to register, click “Let’s get started,” then answer “No” to the question, “Are you new to”

In the pop-up box that appears, enter the email address and password for your existing account with This will migrate your messages and profile into your Johns Hopkins account. When prompted, enter your JHED ID alone (without to verify your eligibility.

If you have paid for a membership, call Member Services to request a refund, 1-855-781-1303.


If both parents work for Hopkins and are eligible for the Care@Work benefits, does the family get 40 days total?

Yes. Each individual person who is eligible for this benefit receives 20 days each of discounted backup care, even if they are in the same family. Keep in mind that if you also use Dependent Care Flexible Spending, or the JHU Child Care Voucher, the combination of these funds with backup care are tax-free up to $5,000 per family. Any amount beyond this limit will be reported as taxable income on your W-2.


I know someone who wants to become a backup care provider for Care@Work. What information can I give that person?

Care@Work by is hiring caregivers in key locations throughout the United States to support our clients and their employees. To apply, please visit to see where we are hiring.

Caregivers can also create a profile to be a provider on the digital portal – it’s relatively quick and easy.

No matter how well you plan, surprises can happen. To help keep the impact of sudden child care needs to a minimum, we’ve partnered with to provide 20 days of backup care per year at a reduced rate that’s based on your salary.

Through its Care@Work program, prescreens qualified caregivers to help you find in-home backup emergency care for children and adults, or in-center backup care for children. You also receive a free premium membership to perform self-directed searches for a variety of caregiving needs.

To ensure you’re prepared when the unexpected occurs, we highly recommend you register with Care@Work well before any need arises. Sign up now and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a backup plan when you need it.

Your Benefits

Full-time JHU faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, residents, doctoral students, and interns are eligible for services through Care@Work. The program provides:

  • Twenty (20) days of subsidized in-home or in-center backup care for children, or in-home backup care for adults/seniors
  • backup care specialists to assist in locating pre-screened and qualified caregivers
  • Backup child care, 24/7, for children 17 years old or younger, when school is closed, your child is sick, or you need to work late or on weekends
  • Adult backup care for yourself and adult relatives for companion and personal care services, such as transportation to medical appointments and other hands-on care
  • Pay for caregivers with a flat hourly co-pay based on your salary ( will bill your credit card after service delivery)

Your cost for backup care is based on your salary, according to the following tiers:

Your Annual Salary Your Pay
$39,999 and below $6 per hour
$40,000 to $74,999 $8 per hour
Over $75,000 $10 per hour
If you use greater than $5,000 in combination of Child Care Voucher, Dependent Care Flexible Spending, and Backup Care benefits for any 12-month period, it will be applied to your wages, as required by the IRS.
In-Center Backup Child Care

Since July 2018, Care@Work has covered in-center child care at a cost of $15 per day.

Premium Membership

In addition to backup care, full-time JHU faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, residents, doctoral students, and interns are offered a free premium membership with unlimited digital access to to:

  • Find coverage for one-time and recurring needs for child care, adult and senior care, pet care, housekeeping, and tutoring
  • Search detailed caregiver profiles that include experience, availability, and reviews
  • Access background check options
  • Post jobs detailing your family’s needs
Enroll Now

Even if you’re not currently in need of care, we recommend registering with through the Hopkins portal.

Use your JHED ID, without, when registering.

Got questions? Call at 855-781-1303. Once you’re enrolled, you can quickly and easily speak with a care specialist or conduct a self-directed search for care.

Safety Resources

The safety of your children is our highest priority. We want you to feel confident that you have the resources and knowledge to properly evaluate providers to ensure the safety of your family.

Please explore the tools available to you when using the website. When you log in to your account, check out the information in the Safety Center section of the website, accessible by clicking the “Safety” link on the top right portion of the website. You’ll find tools and resources—including a guide to choosing child care, an overview of background checks, and answers to frequently asked questions—to help you evaluate risk and stay savvy about safety.

You’ll also find information about background checks on each provider’s profile and can request additional background checks—prices range from $59 to $300 per provider, depending on the level of background check you select.

Should you have specific questions or concerns, we welcome you to contact us by phone at 410-516-2000 or email Benefits & Worklife.