Managing staff in early years

The management of staff in the Early years and Childcare Sector is critical to ensure the smooth development of each setting, from regular supervision, meetings and appraisals dealing with staff discipline and sickness, however a information advice and guidance can be be found on the following websites:

In addition, ACAS provide free and confidential advice to employers, employees and their representatives on employment rights, best practice and policies, and resolving workplace conflict. The helpline also has a free translation service for over 100 languages.

There are some issues that you will need to consider when taking on an employee for your childcare business.

Employee rights

Terms and conditions of employment. If employed for more than one month, employee must receive (within the first 2 months) a written statement of main employment particulars.

Statement must include main terms and conditions including pay, holidays, details of notice and disciplinary procedures.

Pay and tax

When you take on your first employee, inform the Inland Revenue. They will set up a PAYE scheme and send you a new employers starter pack. Obtain a P45 from each employee or complete a P46. Make the necessary deductions and submit them monthly to the Inland Revenue Accounts Office. All employees must be given itemised pay statements showing deductions.

Minimum and Living Wage

The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to. The National Living Wage is higher than the National Minimum Wage - workers get it if they’re over 25.  The minimum wage a worker must receive is age dependent and must consider if they’re an apprentice.


Under the Pensions Act 2008, every employer in the UK be part of a workplace pension scheme and contribute towards it under legal duties called 'automatic enrolment' legislation.

National Insurance

National Insurance Contributions (NIC) are payable for employees aged 16 or over earning more than a prescribed minimum level. If you are a registered company, there are special NIC rules for the directors.

Statutory leave and time off

Paid annual leave

Every worker, whether part-time or full-time, is entitled to four weeks paid annual leave. Workers are entitled to paid leave after they have been employed for 13 weeks. A week's leave should allow workers to be away from work for a week. It should be the same amount of time as the working week. If a worker does a 5-day week, he or she is entitled to 20 days leave. If he or she does a 3-day week, the entitlement is 12 days leave.

Employers can set the times that workers take their leave, for example for a Christmas shutdown.

If a worker's employment ends, they have a right to be paid for the leave that they are due but have not taken.

Rest breaks

Workers are entitled to a break of at least 30 minutes if they work for more than 6 hours. Young workers (i.e. those between 16-18 years old) are entitled to a rest break of at least 30 minutes if they work for more than 4.5 hours.

Rest breaks are not in addition to lunch breaks. It is up to the employer and worker to agree between them whether breaks are paid.

Complying with Equality Act 2010

To abide by the Government's Equality Act 2010, employers should ensure that there are no hidden age barriers in your selection and promotion processes – e.g. aim to place advertisements in publications read by a range of age groups. You should also make sure that your redundancy procedures are based on business needs rather than age. Unless 'experience' is a mandatory Ofsted requirement, do not mention it on your job adverts e.g. for a supervisory position it maybe an Ofsted stipulation to have 2 years previous experience.

Age discrimination can be direct discrimination which is less favourable treatment because of someone’s age. For example, it is unlawful on the grounds of age to:

  • Decide not to employ some one
  • Dismiss them
  • Refuse to provide them with training
  • Deny them promotion
  • Give them adverse terms and conditions
  • Retire an employee before the employer's usual retirement age (if there is one) or retire an employee before the Government's retirement age. There are exceptions to this rule in certain circumstances, please contact your development worker for further information.

Discrimination can also be indirect, this would be by disadvantaging people because of their age regarding selection criteria, policies, benefits, employment rules or any other practices which are applied to all employees but some because of their age.