Backup Care by Care@Work

No matter how well you plan, surprises can happen. We know how stressful it can be when your regular care falls through — especially when you need to work. To help keep the impact of sudden child care needs to a minimum, we’ve partnered with Care@Work to provide 10 days of backup care per year at a reduced rate that’s based on your salary.

Care@Work 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. Read about all of Care@Work’s offerings here. Continue below to learn all about Backup Care.

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.


With kids, you need to be prepared for
anything. From school holidays, to the
nanny’s vacation, or other gaps in care,
we have you covered. You have access to
in-home or in-center vetted and subsidized
care for your children when your regular
care is not available.

Use Backup Care for children when:

  • School is closed
  • Your babysitter or nanny is sick or on vacation
  • You have to work late or have business travel
  • Daycare is closed
  • You are working from home and need someone to watch the kids

Maybe you need a ride home from the
doctor. Or maybe your parent needs
assistance and they live on the opposite
side of the country. We all need extra care
sometimes—that’s why you have Backup
Care for adults.

Use Backup Care for adults when you or a loved one need:

  • A ride to and from an appointment
  • Companion care
  • An extra set of hands after surgery
  • Senior care when regular care isn’t available
Your Benefits

The program provides:

  • Ten (10) days of subsidized in-home or in-center backup care for children, or in-home backup care for adults/seniors, per calendar year
  • 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)

Backup Care Overview

Who is Eligible?

You may use Care@Work if you are full-time, benefits-eligible Johns Hopkins:

  • University faculty and staff
  • Postdoctoral fellows, residents, interns, and housestaff
  • Doctoral and Medical students, and interns
  • Hospital; Health System; Community Physicians; Health Care; Home Care Group; Home Health Services; Pharmaquip; Pediatric at Home; Bayview; Emergency Medical Services; Suburban Hospital & Physicians; Howard County Hospitals & TCAS; or All Children’s Hospital employees.

Your cost for backup care is based on your salary, according to the tiers below. Care@Work handles all payments to providers and simply charges your copay to your chose payment method.

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
In-Center (for children only) $15 per day
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.
Enroll Now and Request Backup Care

Even if you’re not currently in need of care, we recommend registering with Care@Work through the

How to enroll in your family care benefits — Use your JHED ID, without, when registering.

Once you’re enrolled, you can quickly and easily request backup care by calling 855-781-1303 to speak with a care specialist, on the website, or using the Care@Work app.

How to book in-home child backup care

How to book in-center child backup care

Other Care@Work Services and Resources

In addition to backup care, the following services are also offered by Care@Work: Membership: Post jobs, search, and reach out to local caregivers 24/7, to find care for children, adults, pets, housekeeping, tutors, and more.

Nanny Share: Create a nanny share with another family to split the cost of in-home care and find the middle ground between personal attention and social interaction for your kids.

Read more about all of your Care@Work benefits here.

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.

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

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.


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 10 days per year. 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 10 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.

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 [email protected]. 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.

How Do Payroll Taxes Work For Backup Care Days?

Our department works with the Tax Office to report the earned benefit of your use of backup care on your W-2 each year. The earned benefit will appear on your paystub as “NC BUC Non-taxable” or “NC Backup Care Tx” when it is reported to payroll. Backup care for children and adults is taxed differently, as follows:

Backup care for children may only be used for your dependents that you are able to claim when filing taxes. The earned benefit of your backup child care is reported as employer-provided dependent care assistance.

You are allowed to exclude from income up to $5,000 of employer-provided, dependent care assistance in any taxable year, in combination of child care voucherdependent care flexible spending account, and backup care earned benefit. These child care dollars are considered employer-provided dependent care assistance and are reported in Box 10 on your W-2. The maximum amount that may be excluded from income is $5,000 total. Refer to IRS Publication 503IRS Form 2441, and IRS Form 2441 Instructions for guidance pertaining to child and dependent care expenses. If you exceed $5,000 in any calendar year, the excess funds are reported as taxable income, and would be included in Box 1 on your W-2.

Backup care for adults is taxable. The earned benefit of your adult backup care is reported as taxable income, based on the fair market value of the service, on your W-2 each year.

Students who do not receive a W-2 from JHU will receive a summary of earned benefit in an email from Benefits and Worklife each year.

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 14. Retain your receipts, as you must submit them to Discovery Benefits for reimbursements.


Yes, you may use the Child Care Voucher to pay for the care of children under age 6 who are not yet in kindergarten. However, we do advise against using your voucher to pay for services because of the $5,000 tax-free limit in employer-provided dependent care assistance, as set by the IRS. If you use greater than $5,000 in combination of Child Care VoucherDependent Care Flexible Spending, and Backup Care benefits for any 12-month period, it will be applied to your wages as taxable income, as required by the IRS. 

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, enter “Johns Hopkins” as your employer name and the email address of your existing account. When prompted, enter your JHED ID alone (without to verify your eligibility. This will migrate your existing messages and profile into your Johns Hopkins account.

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


The program provides ten (10) days of subsidized backup care per calendar year, per eligible affiliate, regardless of a change in position. If you change positions or job titles, your 10 days do not reset.


If your employment status becomes inactive or you go on a leave of absence at any time, you may not use any benefits. You must currently be full-time and benefits-eligible to use backup care, free premium membership, or expert assistance. 

If both parents work for Hopkins and are eligible for the Care@Work benefits, does the family get 20 days total?

Yes. Each individual person who is eligible for this benefit receives 10 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.

If you use greater than $5,000 in combination of Child Care VoucherDependent Care Flexible Spending, and dependent Backup Care benefits for any 12-month period, it will be applied to your wages, as required by the IRS. Adult Backup Care is taxable.