Maryland EXCELS Toolkit  

Staff Handbook & Statement

Clear staff policies and handbooks provide information that helps staff members understand expectations and stay informed. Consider the following scenario:

Mariela was applying for a position as a lead teacher at Brighter Days Child Care Center. When she arrived for her interview, she was greeted by the Director, Julie. Mariela had many questions:

  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the lead teacher?
  • Will I be eligible for benefits?
  • Is training paid for by the center?
  • Is there a specific dress code?
  • What are the expectations related to communicating with families?

Julie shared a copy of Brighter Days’ handbook with Mariela that clearly described important information about the program. After the interview, Mariela felt reassured and confident that this center would be a good fit for her. She was happy to receive the detailed staff handbook that described policies, procedures, and expectations for staff members.

tabletop view of stationery and employee handbook
Guidelines for Best Practice

This sections helps you meet the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Staff Policies and Handbook: ADM 10.4.

NOTE: FAMILY CHILD CARE

Family child care staff is limited to people who are paid employees and includes:

  • Additional adults (a person required to be present when registered for more than 2 children under the age of two years); and
  • Aides or assistants employed by the provider.

Staff for family child care does not include volunteers or substitutes (whether paid or not).

Select the Requirements tab to learn about key policies to include in your documentation.

Requirements

The following interactive shows the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Staff Policies and Handbook: ADM 10.4. Key requirements are marked by a bright dot. Select each dot for information about what to include in your documentation.

Select the option that applies to your program type:

 

Child Care Center
ADM 10.4: Staff Policies & Handbook Staff policies developed and included in written handbook provided to all staff members at hire, which includes policies and procedures related to health; safety; child development; inclusion of children with disabilities and special health care needs; training; positive behavior practices; and staff roles, responsibilities, and benefits. Documentation to submit: Staff Handbook

Family Child Care
ADM 10.4: Staff Policies & Handbook Staff policies developed and included in written handbook provided to all staff members at hire, which includes policies and procedures related to health; safety; child development; inclusion of children with disabilities and special health care needs; training; positive behavior practices; and staff roles, responsibilities, and benefits. NOTE: Family child care staff is limited to people who are paid employees and includes:
  • Additional adults (a person required to be present when registered for more than 2 children under the age of two years); and
  • Aides or assistants employed by the provider.

Staff for family child care does not include volunteers or substitutes (paid or unpaid).

Documentation to submit: Staff Handbook

School-Age Only
ADM 10.4: Staff Policies & Handbook Staff policies developed and included in written handbook provided to all staff members at hire, which includes policies and procedures related to health; safety; child development; inclusion of children with disabilities and special health care needs; training; positive behavior practices; and staff roles, responsibilities, and benefits. Documentation to submit: Staff Handbook

 

Instructions

To meet the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Staff Policies and Handbook: ADM 10.4, you will upload:

  • A copy of your program’s Staff Handbook that includes policies and practices related to:
    • Health
    • Safety
    • Child Development
    • Inclusion of children with disabilities or special health care needs
    • Training
    • Positive Behavior Practices
    • Staff roles and Responsibilities
    • Benefits
  • A statement explaining that all new staff members are provided a Staff Handbook at the time of hire.

The Policy or Statement Builder provides a step-by-step guide for creating policies for your staff handbook.






Staff Handbook

Staff policies help everyone to better understand and meet the expectations a program has of its employees. A Staff Handbook is a resource for your staff to find information that helps them fulfill their roles and responsibilities. Quality programs develop a comprehensive set of policies and procedures that guide their practices. A handbook can be a helpful reference when questions arise.

Scenario #1:

  • Do your staff policies include information regarding holidays and time off?
  • Do your staff policies specify which holidays are considered “paid holidays” and which require the use of leave time?
  • Do your staff policies clearly explain the process for taking time off?
  • How do you handle situations where two teachers in a classroom request off the same day?________________

Scenario #1:

A staff member registers for and attends training, per the licensing requirement for continued training hours. When she returns from training, she asks how soon she can expect to be reimbursed for her registration and travel expenses.

You indicate to her that because this is a licensing requirement, there is no reimbursement. The staff member tells you that this was never communicated to her, and expects to be reimbursed.

Scenario #2:

  • Does your program have a written policy that describes performance evaluations?
  • Is the purpose of evaluations clear?
  • Does your policy explain any expectations around goal-setting and improvement plans for staff members?

Scenario #2:

The Program Director schedules a performance evaluation with an assistant teacher. The Assistant Teacher is anxious.

She was never told she would be evaluated and doesn’t understand the purpose of the evaluation.

It is a sound business practice to maintain a record of written receipts from your staff documenting that they received a copy of your handbook when they were hired. When you upload a copy of your program’s Staff Handbook, you will include a statement that explains that new staff receive a copy at the time of hire.

 

What does the documentation look like?

To meet the requirements for ADM 10.4, your program’s staff handbook includes written policies and procedures related to:

  • Health
  • Safety
  • Child Development
  • Inclusion of Children with Disabilities or Special Health Care Needs
  • Positive Behavior Practices
  • Staff Roles and Responsibilities
  • Training
  • Staff Benefits

Your handbook may also include additional policies and procedures that are relevant to your program, such as emergency evacuation procedures, inclement weather policies, and illness/sickness policies.

 

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

Read your policies as if you were a new staff member in your program. Your program’s staff handbook should be comprehensive and include detailed explanations of policies and procedures. Revisit the list of required policies for ADM 10.4, and check to be sure your documentation includes a policy and / or procedure for each topic listed.

Notice that many of the topics are similar to policies your program may have written in a handbook for families.

In addition, you will upload a statement to the Maryland EXCELS System that explains how you ensure that each new staff members receives a copy of the handbook at the time of hire.

 

Where can you learn more?

Childcare Aware offers helpful tips for developing policies for families and staff members. Take a look at some of their suggestions. An example of a set of policies is included on the website.

  Developing Your Policies and Procedures

Developing Your Policies and Procedures - Child Care Aware

Your policies and procedures will include a number of important topics. Some will be larger and overarching and others may seem less significant. All of these items, however large or small, are important to think about and establish ahead of time so that your business may run smoothly and all parties, from employees to families, know what to expect.

 





Policy or Statement Builder

This interactive helps you create a handbook that includes your program's staff policies and procedures. You have the option of emailing your responses to yourself and editing your final statement before uploading it to the Maryland EXCELS System. Writing your responses in full sentences now gives you a head-start on when you edit your statement later.

 

Build-A-Policy: Staff Handbook

Final Touches

Check your staff handbook and statement as you prepare to upload them to the Maryland EXCELS System.

 

Check to be sure your documentation includes:

 
  • Health
  • Safety
  • Child Development
  • Inclusion of Children with Disabilities or Special Health Care Needs
  • Positive Behavior Practices
  • Staff Roles and Responsibilities
  • Training
  • Staff Benefits

A statement explaining that all new staff members are provided a Staff Handbook at the time of hire.

 

Save your document:

  • Use a file name that you can find easily when you upload it to the system. (example: staff-policies.docx)
  • Use any one of these formats:
    • Typed electronic version of your statement and staff handbook (examples: Microsoft Word, PDF)
    • Digital images / pictures of your statement and staff handbook (examples: PDF, PNG, JPG)

Next Steps

Use the following guide to upload your documentation, look ahead, and think about a plan for ongoing improvement.

 

Step 1: Prepare to Upload Your Documentation

  • Locate your username and password for logging into your Maryland EXCELS account
  • Locate where you saved your written document on the computer
 

Step 2: Look Ahead and Plan for Improvement

Look Ahead

Congratulations! You are ready to upload documentation to meet the requirements for Administrative Policies and Practices: Staff Policies and Handbook: ADM 10.4. If you meet the requirements, your documentation meets the requirements for ADM 1.5, too!

Plan for Improvement

Set a goal to review and update your staff policies and procedures in the coming months to keep them current and relevant to your program and employees. Consider seeking feedback from your staff about additional information they might find helpful to have in a written handbook. Remember to upload any changes, updates, or revisions you make to the Maryland EXCEL System.

 

Step 3: Upload Your Documentation (ADM 10.4)

Log in to the Maryland EXCELS System to upload your statement and staff handbook for ADM 10.4.

screenshot of Maryland EXCELS upload screen with a comment box
Upload Documentation