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What is back-up care? Emergency childcare explained

Childcare advocate, Bubble co-founder, and mum of three Sarah Hesz explains what exactly emergency childcare is, and why it matters to increasingly more HR, business and D&I leaders. 


What is emergency childcare?

It’s a funny phrase “emergency childcare” – childcare is all about patience, kindness and empathy – words which don’t sit comfortably with the flashing lights evoked by “emergency”.

Emergency childcare actually refers to last-minute childcare when the usual routine has been disrupted. Whether nursery is closed, the nanny is sick or a parent has been called into work unexpectedly. For parents these unpredictable events can cause an instant fear of letting people down, but with access to on-demand childcare via Bubble, this stomach drop moment can be eliminated.

The childcare jigsaw

Childcare is never a one size fits all solution and for most parents childcare involves a range of solutions including school/nursery, lift shares, breakfast clubs, family help and holiday camps.

For working parents it can often feel like a precarious house of cards; if one element lets you down all your plans collapse. It adds a huge amount of pressure on parents because there is a constant feeling you are always one phone call (or failed covid test) away from disaster.

As parents we always need a back-up plan

Having somewhere to turn for help in these last-minute situations is a huge weight off a working parent’s shoulders. Just knowing that you have a back-up option is deeply reassuring. Being a parent is never predictable and things will always go off-plan so it’s vital you know you have somewhere to turn when childcare plans go awry.

It’s also vital that this back-up childcare suits the needs of working parents. Emergency or back-up childcare should never mean inferior childcare. For emergency childcare to work parents need to be able to feel that despite things going wrong they are still in control and making a really positive choice.

Why businesses are investing in emergency childcare benefits

Offering emergency childcare as an employer brings the obvious benefits of giving your team focus and space to work, as well as demonstrating that you truly understand the needs of working parents. Childcare can hold working parents back and have knock on effects for their team’s workload and productivity. It’s the glue that holds work-life balance and talent retention together.

Which emergency childcare options are best for working parents?

Traditionally, emergency childcare has been very expensive and not very flexible. More often than not it involves dropping your child off at a location where they’ve never been before. This can be hugely stressful for both the parents and the child.

The best types of back-up care are:

  • Totally flexible
  • Affordable
  • Speedy to arrange
  • Trusted
  • And in a location familiar to the parent

Bubble For Work ticks all of these boxes. On the Bubble childcare app you specify exactly the times you need a babysitter or last-minute nanny for and post your job with thousands of trustworthy sitters. You can make arrangements to start in one hour or one week’s time. The start time and end time are totally up to you. As a parent you feel totally in control.

When sitters apply for the job (typically within minutes) you will see their profiles and all the background checks that have been done, as well reviews left by other parents. You can message the sitter directly, schedule a video interview or even book a trial sit—whatever you need to feel totally reassured that you are getting the right person for your family.

On Bubble, sitters and nannies set their own rates with fees typically ranging between £10-£15 per hour, which is about half the cost of finding emergency childcare help via an agency.

Get in touch to discover how Bubble can ensure that your working parents feel happy and empowered with flexible, regular and emergency childcare support.

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