Backup Care

All dependents are eligible for the Backup Care. Eligible employees have access to subsidized Backup Care each year for up to 15 calendar days. The options available are:

The Berkeley Lab's Backup Care program is a benefit that helps employees find caregivers when their usual child care/eldercare arrangements break down. It allows the employee to go to work and be productive, reducing the stress of finding a caregiver independently.

Bright Horizons Enhance Family Support offered by UC


The Backup Care Program is administered by Bright Horizons, with the Lab’s HR Benefits Group providing vendor management.  Contact Bright Horizons at (877) 242-2737 for any questions regarding the program. Contact HR Benefits ( for any issues not resolved directly by Bright Horizons.

To request Bright Horizons backup care, find instructions here: Registration/Reservation

Reminder: Please review the taxable benefit section below.
The service can be used up to 15 days per calendar year.  Berkeley Lab employees are encouraged to register in advance.  Registration is free and does not commit an employee to use the service.



The eligible population for this program consists of employees who are career, term, or Postdoctoral Fellows.

The following groups are excluded:

Employees are only eligible while on active pay status in the Lab’s payroll system.


For purposes of this benefit, ‘dependent’ is anyone currently dependent on the caretaking of the employee. This is most frequently a child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, or other family member, but is not limited to these or any other specific categories. In addition, this benefit can be used by the employee directly. Children are 0-17, and adults are 18 and above. 


The Lab is subsidizing some of this service’s costs to help reduce what employees pay. Employees copayments:

Employees pay Bright Horizons directly using a credit or debit card, payable at the time of reservation.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (Dep-Care FSA) can not be used for this service.

Registration / Reservation

Before using the service, employees must register using one of these two methods:

Registration takes about 5 to 10 minutes. It is recommended that employees register before services are needed, but registration can also be done on the same day, subject to space availability. Additional dependents can be added at any time.

Registration is free and does not commit an employee to use the service. Registered people can take advantage of information and resources for parents and families on the Bright Horizons Back-Up Care program website.

Once registered, employees can make reservations online or over the phone (877-242-2737) for backup care.

Reservations can be made up to one month in advance of and up to the day backup care is needed. No more than five consecutive days can be scheduled. Consultants are available 24/7 by phone or online (using the number and link above) to assist employees with their backup care needs.

For more information on program policies, register and log into your account.

Taxable Benefits

The Backup Care program provides employees with certain types of dependent care, charging a co-pay that is less than the market rate for these services. The difference between the market rate and the employee co-pay is considered a taxable benefit and is treated by the IRS as additional income to the employee.

The market value is based on national averages and will be reviewed and adjusted annually. The following are the current market values for the following services:

The amount of tax paid depends upon the tax bracket of the individual.

The additional income is reported monthly as Other Income on the employee’s paycheck and will be subject to the following taxes:

Other Family Care Resources offered by UC 

UC offers Bright Horizons Enhanced Family Supports, a comprehensive web-based resource, to help you balance work and family responsibilities. The Bright Horizons programs — including Sittercity, Years Ahead, and Bright Horizons preferred enrollment — provide information about pre-screened care providers and services so you can choose the solution that’s right for you. 


Full-Time Discounts (0-6 Years Old)

• Jump ahead on the waitlist, plus waived registration fee at participating Bright Horizons child care centers.

• Or save up to a 10% tuition discount at our participating partner centers.

Nanny Placement (0-12 Years Old)

• Receive white glove support finding a vetted full-time nanny, matched to your family’s needs.

• Save $300 or 30% off (whichever is greater) of placement fees if you hire a nanny.

Sittercity (All Ages)

• Premium membership to Sittercity search tool for nannies and sitters, pet sitting, and housekeeping.

• Waived membership fee ($180 value) and free basic background checks on caregivers.

Page Updated: 03/07/2024