Campus & Community

Provost Increases Funds For Child Care, Enhances Back-Up Care Service

2 min read

Harvard Provost Harvey Fineberg has announced two initiatives to help faculty and staff with child and elder care. He has approved an increase in the University’s child-care scholarship fund, which is open to eligible faculty and exempt staff, and he has approved the increased availability of the back-up child- and elder-care services offered.

“Finding ways to support faculty and staff in their parenting roles is important to the University,” Fineberg said. “There is a body of research which shows that this kind of supportiveness of the workplace environment is strongly linked to both employee productivity and well-being. Child care is expensive, and unexpected child-care problems can be stressful. We are pleased to be able to help in both areas.”

Scholarships to help faculty and staff with the costs of child care have been available through the Office of Work and Family for seven years. Fineberg has increased the pool of funds available from $105,000 to $300,000. Faculty and exempt staff are eligible to apply for these scholarships, and applications are reviewed annually by committee on a confidential case-by-case basis. Applications are available through the Office of Work and Family. Child-care scholarships are also available to members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) and the Services and Trades Unions.

“Many faculty and staff assume that their income would make them ineligible for these scholarships,” said David Jones, director of Workforce Initiatives in the Office of Human Resources. “But decisions are made on the basis of a family’s whole financial picture, not on strict income guidelines. We have awarded scholarships to hundreds of families and hope to be able to assist even more.”

Fineberg has also approved an increase in the number of hours of subsidized back-up care available to registered faculty and staff per academic year, from 50 to 75 hours. This in-home child and adult back-up care is available through Parents-in-a-Pinch and administered through the Office of Work and Family.

“It can be very stressful when regular child and adult care fall through,” said Judy Walker, co-manager of the Office of Work and Family. “Offering reliable, subsidized back-up service to faculty and exempt staff is one way to ease these stresses.”

For more information on these programs, contact the Office of Work and Family at (617) 495-4100, or visit the office on the seventh floor of Holyoke Center.