We're in the heart of cold and flu season and also one of our busier times of the year, and oftentimes, things happen. We need to be at work and then we have a loved one who may be sick or the person who cares for our loved one is sick, and we have to figure out how to juggle everything. At DHG, we are lucky to have our Backup Dependent Care program which enables us to access a network of childcare centers and in-home providers to offer temporary solutions when our regular care arrangements just aren’t available. In this podcast, Heather Cozart, a Partner in DHG's Raleigh office, talks about her experience with the program.
Five Minute Friday Transcript:
AGH: Hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of our DHG podcast series. I’m Alice Grey Harrison, your host, and today we have a Five Minute Friday. We are going to be talking about Backup Dependent Care. It is getting to be flu and cold season and it’s also getting to be one of our busier times of the year and often times things happen. We need to be at work and then we have a loved one who may be sick or the person who cares for our loved one is sick, and we have to figure out how to juggle everything. Luckily for us, we have our Backup Dependent Care program which enables us to access a network of childcare centers and in-home providers to offer temporary solutions when our regular care arrangements just aren’t available. The center based care is available for children and in-home care is available for all ages, because many of us do have aging parents who live with us and that we care for. Here are some situations where this benefit might come in to play. Our regular caregiver, as I mentioned, might be sick or unavailable, our child’s school is closed - Maybe closed for snow or it may be closed for a holiday or a teacher work day and we need care for our child. Our work load requires us to work late hours and we need to have care for our child while we are in the office. Sometimes we just need somebody to come and be with our child or loved one so that we can run errands that we aren’t able to do during regular work hours. The great thing about this benefit is that DHG pays an annual fee for us to have access to the service. We’re only obligated to pay out of pocket if we actually use the service. You do have to be enrolled in the service which you can do via our Compass HR site. If you do use this service, the cost is $15 per day if you use a childcare base center and it is $25 per family for center based care for children only. It’s $6 per hour for in home care. So that’s how the costs are laid out. One of our partners shared a story with us recently - Heather Cozart is a partner in our Raleigh office, and she’s here with us today. Welcome, Heather.
HC: Hey Alice Grey, it’s great to be here.
AGH: Heather has a daughter, Paige, who is seven and she used this service when she did encounter one of those situations I mentioned earlier. So, Heather, tell us about a time when you relied on our Backup Dependent Care?
HC: Sure, I would love to. I’ve actually used it several times for varying reasons but one that really came to mind was, it was busy season a couple of years ago. My February and March are really busy months with my client base deadlines. I wanted to come in the office on a Saturday-it was ahead of one of my purchase client’s deadlines, and while I could have worked from home, I really wanted to be in the office to be able to answer a lot of my team’s questions. I thought it would be a lot more efficient and effective to be with my team to really wrap up this specific engagement. For those of you that know me, I tend to procrastinate as well, so I had forgotten to line-up care for my daughter and all my usual go-to’s were busy that Saturday. I remembered we had this great benefit, logged on and sure enough — I was just a little nervous, there’s something to be said about having a stranger to take care of your child. But they were great. They sent me a couple of different resumes or biographies of a couple of the folks that were available. I was impressed with the caliber of them. The girl that ended up coming over to my house had two college degrees, extensive experience being a nanny and it was great. My daughter did not watch TV at all that day. They spent their time working on educational activities; the girl texted me a couple of times during the day with pictures and check-in’s just to say, “Hey, we’re having fun, we’re doing this activity.” Which really relieved a lot of stress off my shoulders, feeling a little bit of guilt coming into work on a Saturday, not being able to spend time with my daughter. But really, she was having a great time and when I came home I felt bad, she said, “I like her better than our normal babysitter now.” It really was just such a great experience, and really, I share that story because I know a lot of folks may be worried about, “Gosh, I don’t know about having a stranger in,” but for me it worked great. We got our work done on my engagement and I didn’t have to stress the rest of the weekend because I was able to wrap up that job.
AGH: That’s awesome. I didn’t realize that they give you selection options. That’s really fabulous.
HC: Yeah, I think it’s based on availability. A couple of times I’ve used it, I did have potential selections. But other times I’ve used it last minute where I’ve had to log on at 5:30 in the morning because I knew I had an important meeting and my daughter had an awful cough. She was feeling fine, but she sounded awful and I knew I would get that dreaded phone call from the school. So I set that up just for somebody to come in for a couple of hours while I went to my meeting and I came right home and brought her to the doctor. So it wasn’t certainly life threatening or anything. She had one of those bugs that you know, once your kids start going to school, they go around.
AGH: Yeah, absolutely. So, it sounds like you’ve had a great experience. I assume you’d recommend this to others.
HC: Absolutely. Even here in our office, we had a parent whose kids go to school year round and they had some holes in coverage so I recommended it. She was hesitant, but once she finally utilized it, she realized what she had been missing. I try to tell that story often because I think it’s such a great benefit that so many folks could use. I think a lot of people automatically think of the moms of the group. There are so many dual income families and husbands are great at sharing responsibility but even between two folks, it can be hectic sometimes, and of course you touched upon it when you covered the benefits. Also, as a lot of us have aging parents, a lot of care is on their shoulders. So utilizing this benefit for that is great.
AGH: Absolutely. The firm does provide it to us and it does support our mission. How would you describe the way that it supports our mission to build valuable careers with our people and help our clients achieve their goals?
HC: I think one of the barriers that a lot of folks face is child care. Until I became a parent, I didn’t realize how many of those situations there would be. Certainly you know, when your child’s very sick, you do want to be with them, but there are situations where this is helpful. Normal caregiver situations, I mean, there’s so many things that come up. If we can take away the barrier, backup care really helps folks with their careers. Because you’re having a lot less down time- decreases or eliminates a lot of the stress that when you think about advancement, is really key. You know, in my 20’s, I always heard about all this stuff. What are they talking about? How bad can it be? But it can be stressful and until you really going through that, I don’t think you realize it.
AGH: Yeah, I totally agree. Well thank you for sharing your story with us today.
AGH: Thank you all for listening to Life at DHG, our premier podcast series. If you like what you just heard, we hope you’ll tell your friends and colleagues. Be sure to check out our DHG blog for more great stories about our life beyond numbers. Join us next time for another edition of life at DHG.