Working Adults Shows Demand for Backup Child

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<p><strong>Raleigh, N.C. &mdash; April 23</strong><br />A national survey of working adults commissioned by Workplace Options (WPO), a provider of work-life employee benefits in America, found that 59 percent of employees or their spouses missed three to 10 days of work in the last year because of the lack of adequate backup child or elder care options.<br /><br />Backup care is needed when primary child care or elder care arrangements fall through because of illness, vacation or other unexpected circumstances. </p><p>When these situations arise, they can be stressful and costly for employers and employees alike. Workplace Options conducted this survey to learn just how severe the issue is in corporate America today.<br /><br />The national survey, conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling on March 12-13, polled working adults with dependents about their backup care needs and opinions. </p><p>Fifty-seven percent of respondents were women and 43 percent men. Household incomes ranged from less than $30,000 per year to more than $100,000.<br /><br />When asked how valuable backup care would be, 93 percent of respondents said &quot;clearly valuable&quot; or &quot;extremely valuable.&quot; </p><p>The demand for backup care was equal among men and women, with 90 percent of both women and men stating they were &quot;nearly certain&quot; or &quot;extremely certain&quot; they would use backup care if it were available at their company. </p><p>Demand for backup care services was also strong across all income brackets. Eighty-six percent of households earning less than $30,000, and 75 percent earning more than $100,000 a year, said backup care is &quot;extremely valuable.&quot;<br /><br />&quot;With increasing numbers of working parents also having to care for elderly relatives, the need for backup care services is rising,&quot; Alan King, Workplace Options president, said. &quot;For a reasonable investment, companies that invest in backup care support services realize huge savings as a result of reduced absenteeism and higher employee productivity and retention.&quot;<br /><br />Previous research has shown most employees need to work shortened workdays because their child care or elder care arrangements fall through &mdash; reducing their productivity and costing employers billions of dollars per year.<br /><br />When respondents were asked if they or their partner missed any work in the last year because they did not have backup care, 59 percent responded &quot;yes,&quot; with 56 percent three to 10 days of work. </p><p>Additionally, 59 percent of respondents called in on short notice to use vacation time or sick leave because they did not have backup care.<br /><br />When asked how comfortable they would be about using a backup care program, 85 percent said they would be comfortable using such programs, with little difference between men and women.<br /><br />Many organizations are recognizing the value of workplace benefits that provide backup care support. </p><p>In 2006, Workplace Options partnered with Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a provider of employer-sponsored care and education programs, to offer the Bright Horizons Backup Care Advantage Program. </p><p>This program offers employees a nationwide comprehensive center-based and in-home provider network for backup child and elder care. </p><p>The Bright Horizons Backup Care Advantage Program now serves more than 75 employers, including Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, law firms and universities. </p>

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