Back-up Care Advantage Program

The Back-up Care Advantage Program provides faculty, staff and graduate students with backup when you experience temporary disruptions in your child, adult and elder caregiving arrangements that would otherwise prevent you from fulfilling work or study obligations. 

Princeton University partners with Bright Horizons to offer the Back-up Care Advantage Program, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for infants through the elderly, whether they are healthy or mildly ill. It resolves various gaps in caregiving, including:

  • Replacing regular caregivers when they are sick or on vacation.
  • Caring for spouses, partners and loved ones who are recovering from medical treatment.
  • Caring for children or adult family members when they are ill, home during a school closure or need help because the employee is traveling for work. 

Family members need not reside in the home of the employee or graduate student to be eligible. Bright Horizons has providers in all 50 states and Canada.

Since the University is underwriting the cost of the Back-Up Care Advantage Program, home care will cost the participant $4 per hour for up to three dependents, and $2 per hour per child for center-based care. The University’s subsidized portion for backup care is $32.44 per hour; and, based on the type of care provided, may be reflected on your paycheck as imputed income as follows:

  • Elder care is considered taxable income and will be imputed on the employee's paycheck throughout the year as expenses are incurred.   
  • Backup care for child care, when used in conjunction with a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, may be treated as taxable income.

For more information regarding the tax implications, please contact Lynn Herbine at (609) 258-9118.

Each benefits-eligible employee or graduate will have 100 hours of care available for each calendar year.

The program gives you access to a team of backup care specialists who provide advice, present options and schedule the care. Contracted home care agencies require that all caregivers are FBI background checked, CPR/first aid certified, licensed, insured and have relevant experience in child or adult/elder care. All child care centers in the network must meet or exceed state licensing regulations and guidelines, including background checks, health and safety standards, and staff to child ratios.

If you think you may use the program, you can register in advanced at no cost to you by visiting on the Bright Horizons website (username is "Princeton" and the password is "care4you") or calling (877) 242-2737 (BH-CARES). Once registered, participants will receive a welcome packet in the mail that will outline the steps for scheduling care.

Copayments are payable by credit card, debit card or electronic fund transfer (EFT). Copayment information is collected on the day care is reserved; copayments are processed on the day following the utilization. You will need to provide payment information in order to place a reservation request and credit/debit cards will be preauthorized. The applicable charge for services provided will be processed after the services are rendered.

More details about the program are available through the Office of Human Resources by calling (609) 258-3302 or e-mailing the Benefits Team.

You can count on support from knowledgeable and responsive HR staff when you have a benefits question or problem. Just call or e-mail us. We're here to help!