When operating any kind of business, it is in your best interest to have some sort of employee handbook. This protects you and your employees by leaving no question as to appropriate conduct and how your policies fit in with federal and state laws. Day care centers are also required by state licensing guidelines to create and discuss their handbook with every employee.
Outline your company's mission statement. Employees should have this memorized and try to act on it regularly.
Include a statement on being an Equal Opportunity Employer. This means you will not discriminate based on legally protected qualities including military status, race, religion, sex, age and disability. You also need a statement in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, which means employees have the right to ask for any accommodations for their disabilities.
Include your policies for communication with fellow employees, as well as supervisors. Illustrate the chain of command, hierarchy of supervision and grievance procedures. You must include your sexual harassment policy, as well as other forms of harassment.
Explain and define the various positions available in your facility, complete with a job description for each. Also be sure to include the hiring process, definitions of all paperwork required and procedures for termination of the job, be it by employer or employee.
Outline your payroll procedures. Explain benefits provided to employees, including time off for illness, bereavement, jury duty and personal days. If you are offering any kind of medical or other insurance to your employees, detail your contribution and requirements. If you offer any kind of retirement fund contribution, detail that process.
Fully list and explain your expectations for employee conduct. These include expectations for attendance, breaks, confidentiality agreements, dress code, telephone calls and maintaining the environment.
Facilities such as day care centers and schools are required to practice fire drills. Detail your fire drill procedures and any other emergency drills your state requires (e.g. tornadoes, bomb threats, etc.).
Locate your state's licensing requirements, either online or by requesting them directly from your state's licensing office. They will outline for you all information that must be included in your handbook and give advice for anything else you may wish to include. Also try to borrow employee handbooks from other local day care centers. Be sure to include everything that is required, while also configuring the rules to fit the individual needs of your facility.
Review the handbook with your lawyer to check for any legal issues. Review the handbook with your licensing specialist to be sure you are in compliance.
Keep abreast of any changes that are made on the state or federal level, as well as needs within your own facility, and update the handbook as needed.
- Your licensing specialist is your ally. Work closely with her to maintain compliance at all times.
- Licensing requirements can change often. Changes must be rapidly reflected in your handbook in order to maintain compliance.