What Kind of Employee Incentives would make you stay?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Hannah's Place, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Hannah's Place

    Hannah's Place Rookie

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    Apr 2, 2008

    Hi all!
    I was wondering...after reading some posts and years of working in this industry and now with my own small place...what would make you stay at a job where the pay isn't all it should be? We all know we preschool teachers will never make the kind of money we should, however.....What kind of unique benefits have you found that make a difference? Do any?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm not a preschool teacher, so feel free to ignore my response. :)

    I would certainly prefer to get paid more. If that's not an option, here are some other things I'd like:

    Accrued time off, maybe 5-10 days per year
    Free or reduced rates for my own children (if I had any)
    Clean, well-maintained work environment
    Plentiful supplies for teachers and students (everything from toilet paper and pens to toys and snacks)

    Basically, if I'm not getting paid much, I don't want to have a lot of stress. If my workplace is clean and has lots of supplies, I'm probably going to feel a lot more job satisfaction.
     
  4. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Pay is definitly a factor for me. Perhaps if my family wasn't a "paycheck to paycheck" family I wouldn't worry so much about pay. However, being that I'd like to put food on my table without worrying about where the money is coming from, pay is a big deal to our family. I don't think that's asking too much either.

    But...onto your question...

    Personally, I like PTO (paid time off). It accrues each paycheck and it starts building up right away, making it usable right away. Much better than having to wait a year to get one lousy week of vacation. My last daycare job I had "out" of the home had PTO, and my husband's employer (soon to be MY employer next week!:)) uses PTO...love it!

    Free or reduced childcare rates is also a big deal to me. At one center I worked at I still had to pay 50% of childcare tuition when my son was an infant. Getting paid $8 an hour didn't fair well when I had to pay $400 each month in childcare expenses. I left that center to work somewhere else, up the road, made $9.50 an hour and paid only 25% of tuition costs...MUCH better. Plus, I didn't have to pay for the day if he was gone, which worked out well since my husband always had a flex day off during the week.

    Management...need I say more?

    Room for growth. I stayed at the last mentioned place because I knew if in time, I could become the director...and I did for 2 years.

    Like Cassie said...if I don't get paid much then the stress better be minimal.
     
  5. Hannah's Place

    Hannah's Place Rookie

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    Well, no, getting paid is only part of it. I realize that people are working for the money (or benefits). However, not being a preschool teacher I guess you really would need to work in it to understand, although all teachers want to be paid more! My place is immacculate, and I do supply the teachers. Whatever they don't have and request I order immediately if funds allow,and lets face it, this IS a stressful job.
    I appreciate your candor, and would like to know from others what unique benefits you appreciate.
     
  6. Hannah's Place

    Hannah's Place Rookie

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    jenpooh, thanks! That was informative. I'd love to promote someone to lessen MY load. And in a small place I try not to hire someone if they are in need of childcare as well. That will change if I open a larger place, as I can see it is a factor for many moms/teachers.
    Tell me more about PTO...how fast did you accrue it, could you save your time yr. after yr, and were you able to get the time you wanted off? Was this full pay?
     
  7. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    It was full pay. PTO is used for any days off and holiday pay. If you use it up, and you need a day off and don't currently have it, then you don't get paid...but it keeps adding up with each pay period. You can chose to roll the hours over or not. My husband's employer does.

    In a nutshell, every paycheck you get will have PTO hours accrued (sp?) on it. My husband works full time, and every check he gets he has about 6 more hours on it (and some odd minutes). It is pro-rated depending on the amount of hours you work. I will be working there part time (at the hospital, as a side note), so my PTO will be less each week, if that makes sense.

    You can save your time for whatever you want to use it for, however I think you have to use PTO for the holidays if you have them banked. Days off are never guaranteed, as they aren't ever guaranteed anywhere, but like most places my husband's employer (and the one employer I had that used it) always does everything they can to make sure it's not an issue.

    By the years end, in total, it comes out to be about 4 weeks (or a little more) a year, paid.

    I hope that makes sense. :haha:
     
  8. msj

    msj Companion

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    First there are the money issues, pay PTO, sick pay, etc. etc.
    But just as important is Management. It can make or break you if you ask me... Right now I work at a place where I don't feel appreciated or respected and I'm leaving at the end of the year. A pat on the back or a good job can do wonders especially on those days when the kids and the parents are not using their "happy faces". I believe that if you feel appreciated by managment, many people can overlook the "pay issue".
     
  9. PreKyay

    PreKyay Companion

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    My son attends free of charge at the Mother's Day Out where I work. That's a huge plus!

    However, I feel that organization and structure is severly lacking. Currently, the director is also teaching a class, which means we have a director in name only. While I appreciate the fact that we are not able to employ a third teacher because of low attendance numbers, it is frustrating to have things in chaos. I know that you have to learn to "expect the unexpected" in a preschool setting, but I don't think it's too much to ask from a director who is getting paid the director's salary to have a well-run and organized atmosphere. For example, I and the other teacher usually have to scramble to get our snack ready in the morning before school starts because our director does not take care of it. Yes, I know that sounds petty, but it doesn't end there. If we have discipline problems or a sick or injured child, we have no one on hand to intervene since our "director" is in her class.

    Just a couple of frustrations that factor in regardless of pay, in my opinion.
     
  10. Hannah's Place

    Hannah's Place Rookie

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    Ok. if I'm understanding you, PreKkay, you would prefer your director to handle "director" issues and have an extra teacher. There is an additional cost factor in having more staff so I can see why the director is teaching. However, not at the expense of her staff. I am trying to set myself up so that I can take care of all the director issues and be support for staff. We are not there yet, but that is my goal. As I have said I am small, but want to establish myself as a place people WANT to work and stay; before I try to grow into a larger place. Small places can't afford much after expenses, but I do not trade that for staff. I pay the norm, and give raises regularly and offer support and praise when needed.
    Do you feel if you had supportive management and acknowledgement of your accomplishments and support when your day has been difficult that these things would make a difference in your staying at one place?
    I'm really trying to see what, ASIDE from salary, makes people stay in one place. Maybe nothing does, and maybe the ONLY motivator is money. I have found that after awhile money doesn't motivate. That is partly the reason for this topic.
    Keep your own experiences coming!!
     
  11. Taliesin

    Taliesin Rookie

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    I think I am treated very well at the center I am at. Here are some things I appreciate:

    10 paid holidays/year
    7 days PTO (sick, personal)
    10 days vacation (15 days after 5 years)
    1 week off when center closes in the summer for cleaning (unpaid but still nice for down time)
    affordable health care
    50% tuition for children
    one 45 minute planning break out of the classroom each week
    3 weekly planning breaks while the children are at specials
     
  12. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I really appreciated knowing that my director would back me up and at least ask em what happened about a situation rather than side with the parent against me. The same qualities are in my principal now and I wouldn't work for anyone that I didn't feel that way about.

    One nice perk I had was that every quarte (3 months) all staff that had not called in or missed more than 2 days (scheduled) went into a drawing for a "free" day off. Another thing was that at holiday times and summer they always asked who wanted to work more and work less. Then, they tried to let the people who wanted the hours stay later if they were under 40 hours.
     
  13. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    In addition to everyone's comments, I have one that is lacking at our center right now; appreciation and being noticed. When a teacher is doing a great job, the owner/director needs to show some form of appreciation aside from the paycheck/raise. One suggestion that we have all loved in the "past" is a gift certificate or bonus check and the reason why we deserve it. A good director/owner walks through the center daily, checks each room and greets her staff, asking how things are going. If a "leader" doesn't have the time to do that, they need to find another business because their employers need that.
     
  14. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Something else is not showing blantently obvious favorites as far as staff members... as a VERY simple example...

    We're asked to put in for days off 2+ weeks in advance... and it's pretty well known that the farther in advance you ask, the more likely you are to receive it. One teacher asked a month is advance for "some time off this particular week because my mom's coming in from across the country and I'd like to spend time with her." She was given 1/2 a day that week. Another teacher asked a few days in advance and was given an entire day to attend a job fair for next year. (And that same week, they rearranged everyone's schedules and bent over backwards to help out a teacher who had a minor illness, at the expense of the teacher who wanted to spend time with her mom.) Favorites? So obviously that it's not a secret to ANYBODY.

    As humans, it's impossible NOT to like some people more than others... but it doesn't help morale when it's obvious!!!!!
     
  15. PreKyay

    PreKyay Companion

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    Yes, absolutely I think that morale and supportive management make a huge difference. This is only my second year teaching, so to be perfectly honest I'm still on the learning curve. I guess I'll leave the insight to the more seasoned educators. I'll just say this much: a supportive, well organized, compassionate director and support staff are greater motivating factors for me. One quality that I truly appreciate in my current director is that she is very compassionate and sensitive to the needs of the families to whom we minister. Without sounding too idealistic (and it's hard to do when you're as green as I am) I value a workplace, not necessarily as a reflection of my morals, but that embraces my teaching philosophy and principles. That's more incentive for me than money. (Boy, am I in trouble.)

    Sorry about the earlier post...I was using this as more of a sounding board than a response to your question. :eek: Bad week...no, make that a bad month. Better day tomorrow...Pray for me!
     
  16. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    To stem off of what daisy said, I also think it's important to have the appropriate number of staff in order to allow people to take days off when needed. I always had a floater for that purpose, to cover sick teachers and to cover vacations/days off. It's an added expense, but happier teachers=less stress=less turnover=a better center=more income in the long run.

    Just remember...these things are all important, but in reality not ALL of them can be met all at once. Just like money is a big factor for staff, it's also a big factor in how a center will run. Less money=less supplies/staff, etc. So, a center or a director really can only work with what they have and sometimes people are not understanding about that. I guess you just have to pick and chose what priorities are most important to your center. :)

    ETA: on a side note...being a supportive and caring member of management is free though. :)
     
  17. hawkeye

    hawkeye Companion

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    Hm

    Health Insurance
     
  18. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    You're not in trouble at all. :) I think your thoughts are pretty common. Sometimes the "compassionate and sensitivity" part can easily be turned into being a doormat to parents, IMO. Sometimes parents see something as a "need" when it's not, and it's the director's job to put her/him foot down. You know...like when little Johnny's mom still thinks a pacifier in the 3 year old room would help keep him calm?:rolleyes: Um...no. And it's his/her job to be supportive to the teacher when the teacher tells the parent NO, little Johnny may not have the pacifier because it is not age appropriate. What is important, is to be equally sensitive and compassoinate to your staff, at the same time being supportive. I honestly think the moral's just as important, but I think those fall into place easily when the philosophy and principles are embraced to begin with. :)
     
  19. Hannah's Place

    Hannah's Place Rookie

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    wow....alot of great thoughts out there. I thank you all for them, and please keep them coming.
    And heath ins. is not offered here and won't be any time soon. Yes, ideally it would be a great benefit, but simply not affordable now.
    I think I took some of your ideas to heart this week....I have been MUCH more a LISTENER to my staff this week and it paid off big time. The person I was on the fence about even keeping has done a complete 180 and showed me so much progress that you could have knocked me over with a feather!
    I appreciate all the input...one of my professional goals is to become a great Director/Owner.
     
  20. hdb2008

    hdb2008 Rookie

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    Consider giving each staff member a years membership to NAEYC. This is a great professional organization for all early childhood providers. To me the resourse alone have been worth the membership fee. I pay $93 per year and recieve 6 publications, 6 issues of their Young Child Journal, and discounted prices on conferences and other publications.
     
  21. lollipop

    lollipop New Member

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    I love where I work and I do not want to leave but it may become a necessity because of distance and gas prices, but if I could place any one reason to stay it would be the people I work with! It is a faith based school medium sized school. We have the good, the bad and the ugly parts of any school...but we are a family of women who really want to be there. If you are lucky enough to get the kind of staff who will plug away with a smile no matter what...do what you can to keep them. Raises are important but so is positive verbal affirmation and if time allows maybe devotions daily, weekly or monthly. If you are not faith based-just having a meeting time where letting the steam out of the day can be beneficial.:2up::hugs:
     
  22. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    I know that it's not a possibility for all organizations, but the reason I stay at my program is the exceptional salary & benefits. I could leave and work in public schools, but I choose to stay where I am because the compensation is competitive.

    My salary is equal to what I would be making in the public schools (though, yes, I do have to work longer days and a full school year).

    My benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance for me & my spouse, short-term disability insurance, life insurance, retirement plan with company match, tuition reimbursement, transportation subsidy, 2 weeks paid center closing, 11 paid holidays, 12 paid vacation days, 15 paid sick days, and administrative bonuses. I also get a raise that averages 8-12% each year.

    Without this package, I wouldn't be at my job.

    FWIW, my last center offered 3 sick days and Labor Day and Christmas Day off (but unpaid).
     
  23. Hannah's Place

    Hannah's Place Rookie

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    wow! I'd stay there, too! You are clearly in a unique place! I have never heard of preschool's offering so much. Good for you!!!
     
  24. tracer330

    tracer330 Rookie

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    i'm actually having issues about staying at my center; the things i appreciate are reduced tuition for my children, yearly raises, paid time off (we get a week when we first start, and it increases after three years)
    what would make me stay is the directors really making changes that would better the center, following through on what they say are they going to do; i would also want to stay if my coworkers took pride in their teaching and really did a good job; too many people work at my center because its an "easy" job and they can get away with a lot
     
  25. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    I know, but the funny thing is that you wouldn't believe how many of the teachers complain that we don't get enough benefits.

    After working at my previous center, I do feel truly spoiled. Teachers who haven't worked anywhere else just don't understand how good we have it. We are federal, so that is why the benefits are so great.
     
  26. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    I'm really curious to know what we're going to be offered when the May contracts are handed out...I have a really good feeling that they're going to have many stipulations and I have already decided that I won't be returning (after almost 10 faithful yrs) if we don't receive a decent raise. ok; in 8 yrs. I've only received a pay raise of $2,000 (just wondering about you all, if you could please share). Anyhow; we have no health or dental benefits whatsoever and 6 personal days (about to be downsized to 3, I heard).

    What do you think about my private school? While I have really loved working there in the past; wonderful parents (most of the time:rolleyes:), parents wanting siblings to be in my class...things have obviously changed and they continue to fill up our classes (+20 students) and some kids are not age-appropriate...that is a big no-no to me.
    So, in a nutshell:

    we have no:
    *Health or dental benefits
    *no pay raises in the last few years
    *Personal days will be down to 3
    And yet we have:
    *full classes
    *no discipline backup
    *3 yr. olds in the 4 yr. old program

    WHAT's TO LIKE?
     
  27. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    WOW! I'm also curious, MsWK, what about the teachers at your school; what are their incentives.
     
  28. hawkeye

    hawkeye Companion

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    ANother thing my boss does is pay for the required stuff (tb tests, CEU, etc.........) Plus she pays for our uniforms (we have to wear scrubs)
     
  29. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Full-time teachers get the same benefits, except only 10 days vacation, and no administrative bonus. They do get bonuses, though they're a bit smaller than ours. Admin. bonuses are supposed to make up for all the unpaid overtime we work. Their raises are about the same, too.
     
  30. Lives4Math

    Lives4Math Comrade

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    I haven't read what everyone else said yet, but when I worked at a "child development center" the biggest problem that I had was that the director didn't handle dicipline problems well. If it had been a full-time job for me instead of a summer job to earn money for college, I wouldn't have stayed for that reason. I loved that everything was provided for me (books, snacks, rest mats, toys, ect.) and I didn't have to purchase anything myself.
     
  31. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I know that it't nice to have the director helping with discipline problems, but I feel a good teacher handles all of her own discipline problems. It comes with the territory, unless a child is such a problem that the class is disruptive or someone is getting hurt. I have had some uncontrollable children that have been impossible to deal with, but I don't think the director should have naughty kids sent in for her to deal with everyday. That's not right. Besides, our director is usually in a classroom helping out or subbing, so she is not able to take care of our discipline problems.
     
  32. tgpii

    tgpii Comrade

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    HEALTH INSURANCE, the way they/I am treated. Able to go to full time. Able to be promoted(thats hard at a small place). I am in the National Guard. A few places would not hire me because of that. I worked at a place were they said I would get insurance, I filled the paper work out and never got it. The day I put my 2 weeks in they were like scrambling to get it. Dress code, I worked at a place were females had to wear dress, and males had to put on a tie. On what they paid you couldn't not a ford the dress code. Also, I had a death in the family and had a wake to go to so I ask if I could leave early. They gave me a hard time for that.
     
  33. tiffsinny

    tiffsinny Rookie

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    I work for a nonprofit childcare center...I don't get paid much, and they've denied us all raises since I started a year and a half ago. There are 2 things really keeping me here. One is that I receive a pretty unbelievable amount of PTO. I'm not sure what the official accrual rate is, but we get "Personal time" as well as "Vacation time". Vacation time...I've racked up around 3 weeks this year. Personal time, I get a crazy amount, because it consistently stays around 75-80 hours accrued, when I take an average of 2 paid days off per month.
    The other thing is that my center is at the college where I go to school, and they are very flexible with my schedule, allowing me to take classes and still work full time. Some of my classes are in the middle of my shift, so I go to work, leave for class, and then come back to work.
    One thing I know for sure is that once I have my degree I will be looking for a new position ASAP. Once you get a degree or CDA, you become a "head teacher", receive a very measly raise, and lose the ability for overtime pay...which I currently get rather frequently as I'm always attending trainings after work (I get paid to go and they pay the costs) Also we have several mandatory meetings/trainings throughout the year that are unpaid for head teachers...they receive "comp time", which more often than not is never seen.
     
  34. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm still contractual. That means I don't have any medical benefits, compensated personal leave or sick leave or even liberal leave (snow days). That part sucks.

    One thing I do like is never having to prove why I am taking a day off. I don't get paid but I don't have to go to the doctor either. I can be off for any reason I want to. They also can't say no. I don't have a prescribed number. Sure, it can make you look bad, but in general it doesn't.

    I also like that I have gotten a 40% raise over the last 3 years. That's not too bad!

    I like that I can talk to my boss. I have had a rough year and consequently I have been late more times than I care to admit or needed a day off. My boss has not only been supportive but it did NOT reflect on my evaluation. Bless her! In fact she gave me a really great evaluation. Double Bless her!

    Sometimes this is a con rather than a pro but most of the time I like that I'm not pigeon holed into my job role. People recognize whatever skills I have and I am recognized for that. That comes from the boss modeling the same respect. Now I just wish we got more specific TRAINING and included in more meetings. There seems to be a wall up for that one.
     
  35. lollipop

    lollipop New Member

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    May 27, 2008

    job...stay or go?

    :)I really like my job. It is not perfect:whistle: but it is pretty darn good! I could always wish for better wages, a director that made sense ALL the time and the best students all in one class, but seriously!

    My problem is the gas prices are killing me::eek: i do not want to have to leave, but I am going for interview closer to home. I don't know what or how to decide if the change is what I should do. I would go from one church to another, same denomination (but not my church). I will be lots closer to home so save on gas, but might have to take pay cut. I also am not sure about other differences between schools. I am so sad to leave where I am but it is costing the better part of one week pay ($200-300) each month to go to work. When does it not become worth the travel? I know I will not have a chance in the near future to move up a class age,(four year old teachers earn more) as I have not finished my degree yet. Currently we have the potential for a raise but no guarantees are made until fall and enrollment is full. I came back this year with hopes for raise but it did not materialize. We do not get merit raises, we get cost of living ($2 hour) every few years. Also, I would lose an hour if I transfer because now I work before and after school =7 hours each day. At the closer job it is only 6 hour day. The other teacher I worked with this year is moving up to pre-k, so we won't be together, but she is still at the school. I really like the the other pre-k teachers too and the assist. director is awesome. I am not thrilled that the new teacher I will work with is moving up, but she is nice enough. We will introduce two new teachers.

    Just talking about it helps, but does not answer question. Big question, with gas crisis... will people NOT do preschool for their kids...is my job potentially at risk? If I leave where I have been for 4 years, go someplace new then be downsized because I was the last hired? Do you leave job you like to save money in gas? please help, I am thinking to much and I can't stop!
     
  36. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    May 27, 2008

    Feedback wanted-gently please

    As an employer of a small program I have a question, when you speak of raises-is this above the raises that your state requires each year? In Wa we have regular January raises of something like 10 cents? I was just wondering. What is a quality raise in your areas? Our program pays $8.25/hr with regular promotions from part time to full time (40hrs). We would offer child care at 50% or better depending on enrollment at the time, and we have coverage for sick days now (no PTO-just the ability to be ill). Plus we pay for all TB, first aid and continuing ed (10 hrs per year).
     
  37. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    May 28, 2008

    In WI there isn't any requirement by the state. It's all dependant on the employer. Some employers gave me wonderful raises. IMO, anything lower than .50 cents an hour is a slap in the face. Other places, couldn't "afford" more than .10 cents an hour. I have never worked at a place that didn't give raises, but I have worked for some that gave lousy ones, and also places that never gave them on time. In that case, they gave you the back-pay for them (not sure if that is legality or just their choice).
     
  38. tgpii

    tgpii Comrade

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    May 28, 2008

    Insurance and the way you treat your employees.
     
  39. tgpii

    tgpii Comrade

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    May 28, 2008

    Insurance and the way you treat your employees. I am not in school, but a lot of pla

    Insurance and the way you treat your employees. I am not in school, but a lot of places say they want college students. However when you show them your school schedule and when you can work they don’t care.
     
  40. tgpii

    tgpii Comrade

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    May 28, 2008

    If you don't have your own kids, like me what good is a discount?
     
  41. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    May 28, 2008

    I will be totally honest with you. When you are paying an employee $8.25 an hour, a 50% discount really isn't much. That is nearly half the employees salary. Anything under a 75% discount is not worth it, IMO. You wont keep valuable employees with a 50% discount, and we all know that many valuable employees have their own children.

    I offered a 75% discount, and had very little turnover with my employees. That isn't one of the only things that kept them there, but being that more than half my staff had children, it certainly was a perk in a crappy economy where the middle class gets shafted left and right. Less turnover in staff=less turnover in children=a fuller capacity=a better center. ;):)
     

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