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New Family-Friendly Benefit for Working Parents

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November 7, 2005

The University is adding the new Backup Childcare Match option to the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Program to help FSA participants defray the cost of backup childcare at designated locations.  Faculty and staff should be sure to enroll before the benefits open enrollment deadline on Nov. 18, 2005.  The University will provide non-taxable funds of up to $25 per event for a maximum of $150 per calendar year directly to full-time faculty and staff to help cover the cost of backup childcare at a designated center. The match benefit is not based on an income eligibility requirement.  Visit http://www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/plans/fsa/faqdep.html for more information.

In addition to the match option, the University has recently arranged a center-based backup provider program with 10 designated KinderCare Learning Centers in the Chicago area and the McGaw YMCA Children’s Center in Evanston. Northwestern faculty and staff will have access to center-based backup care at designated locations for up to 20 days per year.  Pre-registration is required. Advance notice is recommended to determine whether space will be available on a specific day. Backup childcare is available when regular childcare arrangements are disrupted in order to supplement, not replace, primary childcare. This program is not intended for use when a child is ill, but rather,

* When the regular provider is ill or on vacation.

* When the individual needs to be at work on a school holiday.

* When families are relocating and haven’t found permanent care.

* When individuals are transitioning back to work from a leave of absence.

Visit the childcare web at http://www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/childcare/solutions/backup.html for details about locations and required pre-registration or contact the work/life office at (312) 503-6631.