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MIT launches backup family care program

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Kathy L. Simons
Phone: 617-253-1592
MIT Center for Work, Family and Personal Life

MIT has launched a backup child-care and elder-care referral program for use by Institute employees and their families.

Administered through a Boston-based company, Parents in a Pinch Inc., and its partner elder-care organization, Griswold Special Care, the referral program will be available to all benefits-eligible MIT faculty and staff beginning July 1, 2006.

The backup program will provide referrals for screened and trained in-home caregivers for up to 10 days of child- and/or elder-care services per employee during the year. MIT will cover all registration and placement fees; employees will be responsible for caregiver fees.

In announcing the new program, MIT President Susan Hockfield said, "I am extremely pleased that MIT is able to add this important resource. The new backup child-care and elder-care referral program will strengthen existing resources designed to help MIT faculty and staff manage the multiple demands of work and personal life. It is a reflection of MIT's ongoing commitment to support faculty and staff quality of life."

The introduction of the new benefit responds to recent recommendations from both the Faculty Quality of Life Committee and the Staff Quality of Life Committee that MIT offer resources to help employees when normal caregiver arrangements fall through and appropriate alternatives are difficult to find. Both committees were created at the recommendation of the Council on Family and Work.

In addition, MIT is modifying its sick leave policy for support staff to permit employees to use up to three days each year to care for a sick family member.

Backup child-care services will be available to help MIT employees when a child is mildly ill or when normal child-care and school arrangements are disrupted, such as school or day care closings and vacations, provider illness, or when a parent must travel for business. Backup child-care providers will be available to come to the home of the employee, or to the employee's workplace or meeting place.

Backup elder-care services will be available to provide companionship, prepare meals, perform light housekeeping, provide prompts for medications, or accompany an elder to a doctor's appointment via The Ride or taxicab. Backup elder-care providers will be available to come to the home of the employee or to the home of the employee's elder dependent, when regular arrangements cannot cover the work time of the employee.

Care can be scheduled for any time of day or night, and for any day of the week. MIT employees will be responsible for paying caregivers an hourly rate of $13 per hour, plus reimbursement for transportation costs (up to a maximum of $20 per day).

The backup care referral program will be administered by MIT's Center for Work, Family and Personal Life, within the Department of Human Resources.��Preregistration is required in order to access service through Parents in a Pinch.��Program details and pre-registration forms are available from the center's web site.

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