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Vacation and Sick leave policy

  • 1.  Vacation and Sick leave policy

    Posted 07-19-2018 03:08 PM
    We are updating our vacation and sick leave policy. I've been the director for two years and created a committee of teachers and administrators to help develop policies that they feel are fair. It has worked out well. The policies included creating a way for teachers and staff to choose one week or 5 days of vacation for the upcoming year. So right now we are picking our vacation days for 2019 going down the list of staff in order of when they were hired. That has been working out well.
    We also have been lenient on our rule of only two people off per day. Things happen and we try to work it out when we can. But now it has been becoming an issue. We've recently had some turnover and new staff that do not have time are wanting to have leave without pay (because it is summer) and now we are going to need to make the expectation clear and only let people take time off if they have earned the time.

    What kind of vacation and sick leave policies do you have in place at your center? Any ideas are appreciated!

    Thank you!

    Michelle Donley
    Bombeck Family Learning Center
    Dayton OH

  • 2.  RE: Vacation and Sick leave policy

    Posted 07-20-2018 08:48 AM
    My teachers get 2 days off for every day they work per week.  If they work 5 days a week, then they get 10 days of vacation/sick leave per year.  If they work 3 days, they get 6.  I make them secure their own substitute from an approved list.  They cannot take vacation/sick leave days adjoining a holiday when we are closed without board and director approval.  It has worked well.  When they need to secure their own sub, they tend to come in instead. This puts everyone on equal footing and they flex too help each other.

    Barbara Newton
    First Presbyterian Preschool
    Columbus IN

  • 3.  RE: Vacation and Sick leave policy

    Posted 07-20-2018 09:48 AM
    Early childhood Owner/Directors have an enormous responsibility on their shoulders. Making sure that child/staff needs are being met is crucial to a thriving early childhood center. It is important to revise policies when you see that they are not working anymore. Great job, for having a board set up to address these policies. The internet has a vast number of early childcare handbooks out with their policies and procedures. There is no need to recreate the wheel. I did some research for you and found some examples. They need to be tweaked for your employees but at least this is a starting point.

    The second example includes Mental Health Days. This is normally overlooked when creating new policies for staff. It is important that staff understand that Mental Health days are o.k. We have so many teachers who are burnt out. I believe this is one reason for the high turnover rate in early childcare.

    Example 1.

    Employee's work schedules have been established giving consideration to the student/teacher ratio, workloads, and coverage requirements. Employee absences have a detrimental effect on these conditions. While absence for illness and emergency situations may happen from time to time, employees will not be granted leave beyond their accrued vacation, sick, and personal leave as a standard practice. In addition, other situations may occur where an employee needs to request time off from work. Some of these are described below. Requests for leave other than those detailed below shall be referred to the Director, who may grant or withhold approval of such leave.
    All such absences shall generally be considered without pay or other compensation for the employee. Please submit requests in advance for approval, whenever possible. Emergency circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Leave without pay will only be granted in extenuating circumstances. Leave without pay must be approved in advance of the requested start date of the leave by the Director. Requests must be submitted in writing. Employees will receive written notice of the approval/denial for a requested leave of absence. Leave without pay which has not been approved by the Director/Assistant Director will be considered a voluntary termination.
    Example 2.

    PAID VACATIONS Vacation pay is earned after a year of service. Vacations are paid to employees who work a minimum of 35 hours per week and are considered full time. After the first anniversary date of hire, you earn 1 week (40 hours) and after second Anniversary date of hire the employee earns 2 weeks (80 hours). All vacations must be requested on a leave authorization form and approved by administration. Note: Any employee, who leaves in good standing with proper notification, can have pay in lieu of taking accrued time off. Leave of absence without pay may be granted when coverage is available.
    MENTAL HEALTH DAYS Up to two (2) sick days may be used as mental health days to reduce stress. Mental health days must be pre-approved by the Program Director after 12 months of service.

    Michelle Dean
    United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties
    Leesburg FL

  • 4.  RE: Vacation and Sick leave policy

    Posted 07-20-2018 03:22 PM
    At my center I also have problems with teachers and staff just taking off time without pay. We require teachers to use any time they have accrued when they are absent, however, it doesn't seem to lessen the absences.
    I did like what was said in a previous thread that taking off time with our approval would be considered a voluntary termination. I am considering adding that verbiage to our employee handbook.
    I have found that it is usually the same few staff that abuse the system and take much more time- leaving the rest of the staff understaffed and overstressed.

    Mandee LaCroix
    CFA Academy Daycare
    Concord NC

  • 5.  RE: Vacation and Sick leave policy

    Posted 07-23-2018 09:54 AM
    We have a generous vacation policy and I think its one of the reasons we have little turn over of staff.

    Vacation/holiday policy takes effect after a 90 day probation period.
    All days that school is closed are paid holidays (approximately 17 days a year).
    All staff have an additional 5 days annually they may request as PTO and an additional 15 days UPTO may be requested. Requests must be made at least two weeks in advance. We have a standard request from to be completed and handed in to their manager. Staff earn an additonal 1 day PTO for every year they work for us.

    Sick leave is mandated by the state in Illinois and is tracked by our payroll company. For every 40 hours worked, they accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave. If someone is off sick but hasn't accrued any hours, we have considered paying them as PTO instead.

    We do not allow more than one staff member to take time off at a time so we encourage people to get their requests in early.

    Victoria Hilton
    Chicago IL

  • 6.  RE: Vacation and Sick leave policy

    Posted 07-24-2018 07:36 PM
    ​It is so difficult providing quality care when staff take time off unexpectedly! And the pressures of maintaining ratios balanced with the recognition that staff need time off (often on the same days as other staff) can really cause stress for everyone. One factor that hasn't been mentioned so far is that the low pay of our field often means families have to have other income (from a partner, parents, etc.) so that when staff need time off, they may be ok with the risk of losing their jobs knowing they can get another one that pays as much or more, with way less pressure, while being able to depend on outside income to bridge the gap. In fact, many staff have second jobs that serve that function as well.

    When I think about reasons I would take time off unexpectedly, regardless of coverage, they would be priorities like seeing my kid in a school event, getting dental care, or dealing with a car or home emergency. Getting in trouble at work for responding to those needs - while making a subsistence salary, and knowing my partner or my second job could float me till I found a less stressful job? It's not very hard to see which way many employees would choose … no matter how dedicated they are, the circumstances just don't work for many people.

    Hazel Osborn
    Loveland CO

  • 7.  RE: Vacation and Sick leave policy

    Posted 07-26-2018 05:07 PM
    Five days of paid vacation appears typical. For some perspective consider this data from USA Today...

    "The United States is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. By law, every country in the European Union has at least four work weeks of paid vacation."

    My FCC contract includes 10 days of paid vacation. That's double the 5 days mentioned in most of the comments, but still far below what Europeans get.

    Wanchalee Putnam
    Lee''s Family Child Care
    Colorado Spgs CO

  • 8.  RE: Vacation and Sick leave policy

    Posted 07-27-2018 12:23 PM
    I think it is important to really think about how much time off staff are given. It is important. If we want our field to really be considered a profession, then we need to treat staff as professionals. When I was a director, my staff got 2 weeks vacation the 1st year & 2nd year, and after that in years 3 & 4, they got 3 weeks, and for year 5 they got 4 weeks. We closed for the week between Christmas and new year, and they needed to use one of their weeks for that week but the rest of the days, they could use as they choose with notice and approval. There were 20 full time classroom staff, and teams could not both be off the same week, and no more than 4 people could be off an any day. As most staff usually opted for time during the summer off, we hired a couple of college students during the summers to help cover vacations. We also had low staff turnover which is a plague in our field.

    Holly Seplocha
    Westfield NJ

  • 9.  RE: Vacation and Sick leave policy

    Posted 09-18-2019 02:28 PM
    I appreciate your comments!  I want so much to run as professionally as possible as well as being understanding and fair.  It is when that one or two take advantage of the program.  Even though everyone else should not worry about what someone else is doing they do.  Then it ends up bring moral down.

    Debbie Frazier
    Green Street Daycare/Preschool
    Piqua OH

  • 10.  RE: Vacation and Sick leave policy

    Posted 09-19-2019 10:16 AM

    We use the following rate (for a 40 hour/week employee):

    Years Employed


    Hours/Pay Period(earned)

    1st day of employment to 2nd anniversary



    After 2nd anniversary



    After 5th anniversary



    After 7th anniversary



    After 9th anniversary




     Sick time is accrued at 3.38 hour/pay period for 40 hour/week employees.  They get paid holidays on top of this.  There is a formal procedure for requesting time off.  If they have unplanned absences that exceed there sick time accrual (which can carry over anniversary year to year but vacation hours cannot) they will be unpaid and it is a documented performance issue.  Unplanned absences 3 consecutive days requires physician notes and possible put on a leave of absence or it is again a performance issue.