New Benefit Offers Access to Caregivers
AS OF JANUARY 1, UC employees will be able to find emergency backup care and other services using Sittercity, a new benefit available to all faculty and staff members covered by UC benefits, except where collective bargaining is required.
Sittercity has an online national database of nearly 2 million pre-screened caregivers, including in-home nannies, childcare and eldercare providers, dog walkers, pet sitters, tutors, housekeepers, and more.
Under the new benefit, employees will have free access to those referrals, thanks to the work of the Systemwide Advisory Committee on the Status of Women (SACSW).
UC will pay the fee that provides access to the referral list; faculty and staff then register with the site to gain access to the referral list, which includes caregivers’ and service providers’ qualifications, reviews, and background checks. Users interview whomever they find appropriate, and then make their own arrangements for hiring and payment. Sittercity members can also post job listings to which caregivers can respond.
“Backup care makes it possible for employees to go to work rather than having to stay home when they have care issues,” said Mary Croughan, SACWE chair. Also, because Sittercity is a nationwide resource, when faculty and staff travel to work-related conferences and meetings they can have childcare available at the conference or meeting location.
In addition, Sittercity can provide assistance with parents who live far away. “If your mom breaks her leg, for example, you can hire someone to bring her meals until you can get there to care for her,” Croughan said.
A 17-member advisory panel, including members of SACSW and campus representatives with a range of applicable expertise, worked with systemwide human resources to identify potential vendors, write the request for proposal, and grade the proposals, noted Dwaine Duckett, UC vice president of human resources.
He added that he hopes to expand the program to UC’s represented employees, but that it needs to be negotiated with the individual unions first. Represented employees should check with their union to see if they are eligible for the benefit.
Faculty and staff will be able to register for Sittercity on a UC-specific Web site beginning on January 1.