EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK | compensation

Employees choose a place of employment for many reasons. We believe that providing a supportive, respectful, and fun environment is as important as offering competitive salaries and benefits. We work hard to ensure our staff feels that our compensation and benefits recognize and value their contribution and dedication to children.

Classroom assignment

  • Classroom assignments are based on several factors, including certification, work experience, compatibility with other educators, personal preference, and the needs of the program.
  • Assignments also reflect our daily need. Educators may be asked to substitute for a teacher who is absent in another classroom. When such situations occur, we try to have educators substitute in a classroom within their program.
  • If at any time you would like to request a classroom reassignment, please speak with your director.

Work schedule

Morning and afternoon educators work together to implement the day’s curriculum and provide for the children’s daily needs. Consistency of caregivers is important for the quality of care, so we strive for consistency in the staff scheduled in each classroom. There will likely be a different staff member for dropoff and pickup.

Weekly schedule

Employee schedules are determined by enrollment, availability, and seniority. Although we do our best to respect individual preferences for schedules, staff members are expected to work the schedule we have determined will best maintain a high standard of care for our children and families. We reserve the right to increase, reduce or eliminate staff hours or employment due to a change in student enrollment.

The following guidelines apply to work schedules:

  • Full-time: scheduled to work 30 paid hours or more per week.
  • Part-time: scheduled to work less than 30 paid hours per week.
  • The work week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday.
  • Educators are expected to be in their classroom ready to begin work at their designated start time.
  • Staff members may not work more or less than their established schedule, or change it without prior authorization from the administration.


We use an online program to create and track the weekly staff schedule. Schedules are posted for you to view by 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Please “acknowledge” your schedule. An app is available for download on both iOS and Android devices as well.


Because of the stressful nature of childcare, we encourage all staff members to take regular breaks during their workday. By state law, any employee working 6 or more hours must be provided with a half-hour unpaid meal break.

There are times when you may need to leave the class under the supervision of your co-worker, including:

  • bathroom breaks (for staff or for one of the children in your class)
  • getting/preparing snacks for the children
  • getting/preparing materials for a project
  • coming to talk to the Administration about an issue that cannot wait until the end of your shift

In all cases, we expect you will be considerate of your co-workers and of your responsibility to your class and keep time out of the classroom under 10 minutes. For any other purpose that takes you out of the building (examples: to go out to get lunch, or to smoke a cigarette), you must use your scheduled break time.

Our break guidelines are:

  • Your break is a half-hour long, unpaid.
  • You may not skip or change a scheduled break without approval from administration.
  • You must clock in and out for any break and may leave the premises if you wish. You may NOT take this break in any classroom.
  • Nursing mothers can split their break into 2 to accommodate their child’s feeding schedule.
  • All breaks are scheduled and covered by qualified personnel.
  • If you leave the building for anything other than a scheduled break (i.e. smoking or taking a personal phone call), you must obtain coverage AND CLOCK OUT.

On occasion admin may ask you to forgo your scheduled break (leaving early instead), or to take your break earlier or later than scheduled.

Time off requests

Any requests for time off must be handled according to the guidelines listed in the Paid Time Off (PTO) section in the Benefits Handbook.

Schedule changes

No change to the current schedule may occur without prior approval. To request a change to your current schedule, you must complete a Staff Schedule Change form and submit it to the director. Please note that no request is guaranteed. You should not schedule classes or outside activities until the director approves your change. You will be notified as soon as possible whether your request has been approved. An explanation will be provided if the request cannot be accommodated. Seniority, availability of coverage, and job performance are the most important factors the administration considers when deciding whether to approve a schedule change.

Punctuality + absences


Like any business, we depend on our employees to operate the center. We rely on you. Our policy is to make fair and reasonable allowances for an employee’s absence, aware that a moderate amount of absence due to sickness or emergency situations is often beyond your control. If you become ill or have a personal emergency for which you must miss work, you must follow the procedures outlined below:

  • You must provide at least 2 hours’ notice prior to an absence. If you are calling during center hours, you must speak with someone. Do not leave a message. If it is after hours or before opening, and you are not a scheduled opener, you may leave a message on the attendance hotline, NOT on the director’s voicemail. Every staff member has a copy of the most current phone numbers for all staff and administration. Additional copies are available in the office.
  • To protect you and your co-workers’ health, you must follow the guidelines in Health and Safety to determine whether you should come to work. Only you can make the final decision, bearing in mind your contagiousness, your alternatives for child care, and your overall attendance patterns.
  • If you are out sick or for an emergency and have not completed a Time-Off form in advance, or you were late for your shift more than 30 minutes, you must submit an Unscheduled Absence form to the director within 24 hours of your return. Additionally, PTO must be recorded on your time sheet.

Excessive absence

Staff who are consistently late or absent place a burden on all of us, especially the children. Excessive tardiness or absenteeism, regardless of prior notification, may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

  • Staff members who have an unplanned absence of more than 3 consecutive scheduled days may be required to present a doctor’s note.
  • Dependability will factor in when we determine raises, schedules, bonuses, and advancement.
  • More than 2 call-outs during any month without extenuating circumstances will result in a warning.

Categories of employment

  • Employees who work 30 or more hours weekly and are eligible for benefits listed in the Benefits for Full-Time Employees section in the Benefits Handbook.
  • Employees who work less than 30 hours weekly and are not eligible for full-time benefits listed in the Benefits Handbook.
  • Employees who work during college vacations are considered seasonal. These employees are eligible for benefits when consistently working 30 hours or more during one time period.
  • Employees in non-administrative positions who are paid hourly wages as determined by state eligibility requirements. Non-exempt employees are paid overtime wages for any hours above 40 worked in a week.
  • Employees in administrative positions who are paid salary. Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime wages.


Hourly wages

We base an employee’s starting hourly wage on qualifications, experience, training, education, and job responsibility. All non-administrative employees are paid on an hourly basis. Employees are compensated for any time spent on the premises at First Circle during the work week.



Employees are paid every Friday. New employees will receive a paycheck the second Friday after their first day of employment.


You may elect to have part, or all of your paycheck directly deposited into your checking or savings account, or a combination of up to 6 accounts. The funds are available at the start of business on the payday.


Using the login and password you created to onboard yourself through payroll, you can continue to access your payroll information. This includes your weekly paystub, PTO balance, benefit information, taxes, direct deposit, etc.

Pay categories

Depending on your benefit eligibility, your paycheck will categorize your wages by hourly wages, overtime, or other categories of pay listed in the Benefits section:

Regular hours

Compensation is calculated by multiplying hourly wages by the number of hours and/or minutes worked in a particular work week.


As required by the federal government, all non-exempt First Circle employees are paid 1.5 times their hourly salary for any hours worked more than 40 hours per work. Non-exempt employees include teachers and teaching assistants. The only exempt First Circle employees are members of the administrative team, who are salaried, and not eligible for overtime. Other guidelines:

  • You must be authorized by administration to come in early, work late, or work through scheduled breaks.
  • To calculate overtime, hours paid are hours actually worked, not including PTO, holiday, emergency closure, leave of any kind or other personal time. They don’t include any meal or other break time for which you’re required to sign out.
  • By federal law, “comp” time is not available.

Other categories

Other than regular hours, your weekly paycheck can include hours paid in other categories including PTO, holiday pay, jury duty, bereavement, staff meetings, required training, PR events, emergency closing/delayed open, bonus, late fee, or maternity leave.


First Circle is required by law to make certain deductions from your paycheck each period for taxes. You may also choose to have voluntary deductions from your paycheck, like contributions for insurance premiums, retirement plans, spending accounts, or other services. Your deductions will be reflected in your wage statement.


Required tax deductions include income and unemployment taxes, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) contributions (Social Security and Medicare), and any other deductions required under law or by court order for wage garnishments.

  • The amount of your tax deductions will depend on your earnings and the number of exemptions you list on the W-4 Form, as well as the state withholding form.
  • First Circle will not make deductions to your pay that are prohibited by federal, state, or local law. If you have questions about deductions from your pay, please speak with the director. You will be reimbursed in full for any isolated, inadvertent, or improper deductions, as defined by law. If an error is found, you will receive an immediate adjustment, which will be paid no later than your next regular payday.


Deductions from paychecks are made for any health, dental, and vision premiums, 401(K) or other benefits [see Benefits Handbook]. Deductions for the employee’s contribution to health, dental, and vision care plans are made in pre-tax dollars. This means that the employee does not pay state and federal taxes on this portion of their wages.


Wage garnishments are court-ordered deductions taken from an employee’s pay to satisfy a debt or legal obligation. Child support, unpaid taxes or credit card debt, defaulted student loans, medical bills, and outstanding court fees are common causes for wage garnishments. First Circle is legally bound to withhold from an employee’s paycheck the amount indicated in a garnishment order. First Circle will honor federal and state guidelines that protect a certain amount of an employee’s income from being subject to garnishment.

Wage review

As an essential part of professional development, each employee’s job performance will be evaluated every 6 months. In combination with the performance review, each employee’s wage rate is reviewed at the same time (with the exception of part-time high-school assistants, whose wage rates are reviewed annually).

The range of wage increases is established by the executive admin team, and typically ranges from 0-3% every 6 months. An employee’s wage increase is based upon a combination of their job performance, attendance and punctuality, attitude, and positive reviews by parents, peers, and administration.


We value our staff and provide generous benefits as part of our employment package, described in the Benefits Handbook.