Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 9: Administration

9.3 Human Resource Management

9.3.0 Written Human Resource Management Policies for Centers and Large Family Child Care Homes

Centers and large family child care homes should have and implement written human resource management policies. All written policies should be reviewed and signed by the employee affected by them upon hiring and annually thereafter.

These policies should address:

  1. A wage scale with merit increases;
  2. Sick leave;
  3. Vacation leave;
  4. Family, parental, medical leave;
  5. Personal leave;
  6. Educational benefits and professional development expectations;
  7. Health insurance and coverage for occupational health services;
  8. Social security or other retirement plan;
  9. Holidays;
  10. Workers’ compensation or a disability plan as required by the number of staff;
  11. Maternity/paternity benefits;
  12. Overtime/compensatory time policy;
  13. Grievance procedures;
  14. Probation period;
  15. Grounds for termination;
  16. Training of new caregivers/teachers and substitute staff;
  17. Personal/bereavement leave;
  18. Disciplinary action;
  19. Periodic review of performance;
  20. Exclusion policies pertaining to staff illness;
  21. Staff health appraisal;
  22. Professional development leave.
Written human resource management provides a means of staff orientation and evaluation essential to the operation of any organization. Caregivers/teachers who are responsible for compliance with policies must have reviewed and understood the policies.

The quality and continuity of the child care workforce is a main determiner of the quality of care (1). Nurturing the nurturers is essential to prevent burnout and promote retention. Fair labor practices apply to child care settings. Caregivers/teachers should be considered as worthy of benefits as workers in other career areas.

Medical coverage should include the cost of the health appraisals and immunizations required of caregivers/teachers. Information abounds about the incidence of infectious disease for children in child care settings (2). Staff members come into close and frequent contact with children and their excretions and secretions and are vulnerable to these illnesses. In addition, many caregivers/teachers are women who are planning a pregnancy or who are pregnant, and they may be vulnerable to the potentially serious effects of infection on the outcome of pregnancy.

Sick leave is important to minimize the spread of infectious diseases and maintain the health of staff members. Sick leave may promote recovery from illness and thereby decreases the further spread or recurrence of illness.

Benefits contribute to higher morale and less staff turnover, thus promoting quality child care (3). Lack of benefits is a major reason reported for high turnover of child care staff (4).

Staff benefits may be appropriately addressed in human resource management and in state and federal labor standards. Many options are available for providing leave benefits, professional development opportunities, and education reimbursements, ranging from partial to full employer contribution, based on time employed with the facility.

The Center for the Child Care Workforce (CCW) has developed model work standards for both center-based staff and family child care home caregivers/teachers with specific recommendations for these elements of human resource management. Model work standards serve as a tool to help programs assess the quality of the work environment and set goals to make improvements. More information on the CCW is available at

A policy of encouraging sick leave, even without pay, or of permitting a flexible schedule will allow the caregiver/teacher to take time off when needed for illness. An acknowledgment that the facility does not provide paid leave but does give time off will begin to address workers’ rights to these benefits and improve quality of care. There may be other nontraditional ways to achieve these benefits.

The subsidy costs of staff benefits will need to be addressed for child care to be affordable to parents/guardians.

Caregivers/teachers should be encouraged to have health insurance. Health benefits can include full coverage, partial coverage (at least 75% employer paid), or merely access to group rates. Some local or state child care associations offer reduced group rates for health insurance for child care facilities and individual caregivers/teachers.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Initial Orientation of All Staff Orientation for Care of Children with Special Health Care Needs Orientation Topics First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Staff Topics Covered in Pediatric First Aid Training Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Swimming and Water Play Continuing Education for Directors and Caregivers/Teachers in Centers and Large Family Child Care Homes Continuing Education for Small Family Child Care Home Caregivers/Teachers Training of Staff Who Handle Food Child Abuse and Neglect Education Training on Occupational Risk Related to Handling Body Fluids Employment of Substitutes Orientation of Substitutes Pre-Employment and Ongoing Adult Health Appraisals, Including Immunization Staff Familiarity with Facility Policies, Plans and Procedures Annual Staff Competency Evaluation Staff Improvement Plan Observation of Staff Handling Complaints About Caregivers/Teachers Staff Exclusion for Illness
  1. Crosland, K. A., G. Dunlap, W. Sager, et al. 2008. The effects of staff training on the types of interactions observed at two group homes for foster care children. Research on Social Work 18:410-20.
  2. Kimberlin, D.W., Brady, M.T., Jackson, M.A., Long, S.S., eds. 2015. Red book: 2015 report to the committee of infectious diseases. 30th Ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics. 
  3. Klinker, J. M., D. Rile, M. A. Roach. 2005. Organizational climate as a tool for child care staff retention. Young Children 60:90-95.
  4. Whitebook, M., D. Bellm. 1999. Taking on turnover: An action guide for child care center teachers and directors. Washington, DC: Center for the Child Care Workforce.