Daycare Workers Under the FLSA

As if preschool and daycare workers in the Atlanta area don’t have enough problems on the job, from picking up every communicable bug out there to bites, tantrums, and parents who can be late and unappreciative, they can be among the types of employees who are routinely and illegally denied overtime pay.

A typical work day for a daycare worker can include all kinds of activities that should be a red flag for overtime pay possibilities, including the need to arrive early, stay late, and work through breaks and lunch. Many of these employees are vulnerable enough to employer shenanigans in denying overtime that some patterns have emerged, including….


  • 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.

In addition, many of these employers are fairly small and may or may not have the requisite record keeping to even determine if overtime should be paid.

These employees should make very sure that proper records are being kept for them.

There also may be some overtime pay exemptions under FLSA for these employees, according to the DOL, including:

  • 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:
  1. it occurs outside normal scheduled hours of work
  2. it is completely voluntar
  3. it is not job-related
  4. no other work is performed during the period

Even though it may not seem like it, this is a very complex area of employment law. If you are employed in daycare, preschool, or a similar position, and think that you may not be getting all of the pay that you’re entitled to, contact an employment attorney.