New service helps employees locate caregivers
By Nancy Doolittle
Your 3-year-old’s day care provider is closed for the day, and you need to find backup care.
You need to have someone check on your elderly father while you are at work or someone to care for your pets while you are on a business trip.
Or, you need a hand with yardwork or cleaning your home.
To help with these types of challenging situations, Cornell has added Care.com’s platform Care@Work to the benefits program for faculty, staff, retirees and graduate and professional students.
“Family arrangements and dynamics continue to evolve, and we hear from members of our community who are managing increasingly complex personal situations,” says Mary Opperman, vice president and chief human resources officer. “We are pleased to be able to offer additional support for members of the Cornell community to help them address the personal priorities in their lives.”
Once a member of the Cornell community sets up a Care@Work membership through the portal, they can find, schedule and manage care for family members, pets or home via the Care.com app and mobile or desktop sites. Members have unlimited free access to search for nannies and babysitters, dog walkers, elder/adult care assistants, house cleaners, tutors and others who can provide support at home. Those who have already set up a paid account can work with Care.com to transfer to a free Care@Work membership, and they will receive a refund for any remaining balance on their paid membership.
“Care@Work makes sense for our university population and our needs,” said Michelle Artibee, associate director of Work/Life. “Thankfully, we have many excellent formal resources in Ithaca and the surrounding area. And in a close-knit community such as ours, informal care is often found by word-of-mouth. Both of these are great options, but they can’t always meet all of the demands that arise, especially at the last minute or outside Tompkins County.”
Opperman added: “This service will expand our reach exponentially – and nationwide. We’ve managed a Family Helper list for more than 10 years. It’s popular, but it’s unable to meet the broader needs of our community. Many staff working at the Ithaca campus live outside of Ithaca and Tompkins County. We also have colleagues working at Cornell Tech or remotely from more than half of all U.S. states. And we know many of our community are addressing extended family issues all over the country and beyond.”
With 11.4 million caregivers in its directory, and adding 1.5 million new caregivers each year, Care.com can help with out-of-state and long-distance caregiving needs. It also integrates such user-friendly features as reviews, scheduling tools and search functions.
Care.com conducts identity verification and negative media scans of those who are in its directory. They also provide members with safety guides to help choose the best caregiver for that member’s family. Members also have the option to purchase a full criminal background check.
Individuals seeking work as a caregiver – whether a Cornell Care@Work member or not – can create a free caregiver profile, post their availability, and search for opportunities.
Artibee noted that Cornell will not screen or endorse providers, but said the ability to self-serve on such a large scale is invaluable. “This new service will not resolve all care needs Cornellians have, but it will provide our faculty, staff, retirees and graduate and professional students with far more options and, in turn, can help reduce some of the stress they face as they manage the many priorities in their lives,” she said.
Work/Life expects a high interest in this new service and is encouraging anyone with questions to first check the Cornell Care@Work webpage for information on the benefits available or to start – or transfer – a membership. If your questions are still not answered, email Work/Life in Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Care@Work is improving the accessibility of its platforms for those with disabilities. Until the platforms are fully accessible (expected in early 2019), Cornell members can call 1-855-781-1303, ext. 2, to receive help with navigating the directory or posting a position or a profile.