Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 1: Staffing

1.7 Staff Health

1.7.0 Staff Health Guidelines for Return to Work

Content in the standard was modified on 02/04/2022.

When staff or volunteers return to work after a health-related absence, early care and education programs should require documentation from a primary care provider to return to work in the following situations:

  • When they have experienced conditions that may affect their ability to do their job or require an accommodation to prevent illness or injury related to their condition(s) (such as pregnancy, specific injuries, or infectious diseases)
  • After serious or prolonged illness
  • When their condition or health could affect promotion or reassignment to another role
  • Before returning from a job-related injury
  • If there are workers’ compensation issues or if the facility is at risk of liability related to the employee’s or volunteer’s health problem

When a staff member is unable to perform required job activities because of health reasons, duties should be limited or modified until the health condition resolves. However, staff may be terminated legally if the program can prove that the health condition would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer.1–3


Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are expected to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. The capabilities of qualified staff members must be determined on an individual, case-by-case basis.4


Programs should consult with ADA experts through the U.S. Department of Education-funded Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTAC) throughout the country. These centers can be reached by calling 800-949-4232 (callers are routed to the appropriate region) or by checking the list of regional centers, available here:

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Ability of Caregivers/Teachers with HIV Infection to Care for Children
  1. ADA, Rehabilitation Act, 29 CFR Part 1630. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Accessed July 25, 2021.

  2. Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices. U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission. Accessed July 25, 2021.

  3. Web site. United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Accessed July 22, 2021.

  4. Part 1630 – Regulations to implement the equal employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. National Archives: Code of Federal Regulations. Updated September 21, 2021. Accessed September 23, 2021.


Content in the standard was modified on 02/04/2022.