Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 1: Staffing

1.8 Human Resource Management

1.8.1 Benefits Basic Benefits for Staff

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

Programs should offer basic benefits to early care and education staff and have written policies about these benefits. Basic benefits include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Affordable health insurance
  • Paid time-off (vacation; sick time; personal leave; holidays; family, parental, and medical leave; etc.)
  • Social Security or other retirement plan
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Educational benefits

Lack of benefits is a major reason reported for high turnover of early care and education staff. Workplace benefits contribute to higher morale and less staff turnover, and thus promote quality child care. The continuity and quality of the early care and education workforce is the main determining factor of the quality of care. Taking care of staff is essential to preventing burnout and promoting retention. Early care and education programs should follow fair labor practices and offer basic benefits.1,2


This standard is difficult for many programs to achieve. Implementation of these ideal benefits requires adequate staffing and resources that many programs may not have. Staff should be encouraged to have health insurance. If the program lacks resources to offer employer-paid health insurance, or offers only high-deductible plans, staff may be eligible for health insurance through

For more information on health insurance and services available to small businesses, please visit:

For more information on federal labor laws, please refer to:

For laws that apply to a specific state/territory, please refer to state-specific labor laws.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Training Time and Professional Development Leave Payment for Continuing Education Staff Familiarity with Facility Policies, Plans and Procedures Written Human Resource Management Policies for Centers and Large Family Child Care Homes Written Human Resource Management Policies for Small Family Child Care Homes
  1. Whitebrook M, McLean C, August LJE, Edwards B. Early childhood workforce index 2018. Berkeley, CA: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley; 2018. Accessed August 26, 2021.

  2. Otten J, Bradford VA, Stover, B, et al. The culture of health in early care and education: workers’ wages, health, and job characteristics. Health Affairs. 2019;38(5):709-720. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05493

  3. Web site. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Accessed September 28, 2021.


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