Daycare Worker Quits $300/Week Job, Citing Low Pay and Policy Concerns

Kayla, a new daycare worker, quit her job after one week due to low pay, an unpaid lunch break, and disagreements with the daycare's policies. Her experience highlights the struggles faced by childcare workers and the need for better wages and working conditions.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Daycare Worker Quits $300/Week Job, Citing Low Pay and Policy Concerns

Daycare Worker Quits $300/Week Job, Citing Low Pay and Policy Concerns

Kayla, a mom and new daycare worker, recently shared her experience of quitting her job after just one week due to low pay, an unpaid lunch break, and disagreements with the daycare's policies. Despite making only $300 a week, Kayla was forced tokeep, workingbecause of the high cost of childcare.

Why this matters: The struggles faced by Kayla and other childcare workers have significant implications for the quality of care provided to children and the overall well-being of families. If left unaddressed, the childcare crisis could lead to a shortage of qualified workers, compromising the development and safety of young children.

Expressing frustration over her compensation, Kayla said, "I just feel like $10 an hour, an unpaid lunch break. It's [expletive]." She also took issue with several of the daycare's policies, including limited outdoor playtime for the children and extended nap times. Kayla noted that the Department of Human Resources (DHR) requires kids to go outside for 60 to 90 minutes a day, weather permitting, but the daycare workers refused to take the children outside without the owner present.

Furthermore, Kayla was disturbed by the practice of leaving kids on their cots for over two and a half hours during scheduled naptime, prompting her to contact DHR about the issue. The stress and frustration of her first week on the job led to multiple emotional breakdowns, ultimately causing Kayla to prioritize her mental health over her paycheck and resign from the position.

Kayla's experience highlights the ongoing struggles faced by childcare workers and the urgent need to address the childcare crisis. Leah Spangler, president and CEO of The Learning Lamp and Ignite Education Solutions in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, emphasizes the necessity of creating an equitable system that provides livable wages for childcare workers while ensuring affordable and accessible care for all families.

The childcare industry in Pennsylvania has been hit hard since the pandemic, with Cambria County alone losing 17 childcare providers and 385 childcare slots. A September 2023 survey revealed that 10% of Pennsylvania's childcare providers reported 3,300 open staff positions, while The Learning Lamp would need an additional 73 workers to be fully staffed in their birth to 5 childcare programs. Low wages continue to drive workers away from the field, as evidenced by a veteran member of The Learning Lamp's childcare staff recently leaving for a $5 an hour pay increase to work in retail.

As Leah Spangler aptly states,"Solving the problem is possible, but not without investment. "Kayla's story serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by childcare workers and the critical importance of addressing the systemic issues within the industry to ensure quality care for children and fair compensation for those who dedicate themselves to thisarticle.