Daycare Centers and Preschool Employees

Federal overtime law applies to preschools regardless of whether public or private or operated for profit or not for profit, and without the $500,000 per year in profits requirement. This means that daycenters and preschool employees are covered under minimum wage and overtime laws. There are still some exceptions to this rule.

The FLSA requires covered employers to:

  • Establish the workweek for pay purposes
  • Maintain complete and accurate records of each employee’s daily and weekly hours worked each week
  • Pay at least the federal minimum wage (currently $5.15 per hour) to all non-exempt employees for all hours actually worked
  • Pay overtime (one and a half the normal pay)
  • What are typical problems school employees may face?
  • Taking someone off the clock for lunch when they are required to remain with children and supervise them, attend parent staff meetings, run errands for the employer
  • Not paying proper overtime for staying late or arriving early
  • Improperly labeling employers as excluded from overtime pay
  •  Paying overtime after 80 hours in two weeks instead of the required overtime payment after 40 hours in each week

Preschool Teachers: Teachers in preschool and kindergarten settings may qualify for exemption as “professionals” under the same conditions as a teacher in an elementary or secondary school.

Rest and Meal Periods: Employers that authorize short breaks or rest periods must count them as hours worked. Meal periods should not be compensated as work time unless they are still involved in job duties.

Lectures, Meetings and Training Programs: Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs, and similar activities must be counted as working time unless all four of the following criteria are met:

  • Attendance occurs outside normal scheduled hours of work;
  • Attendance is completely voluntary;
  • Attendance is not job-related; and,
  • No other work is performed during the period.

For detail about employer abuses, see Daycare Center & Pre-School Employees at