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How to maintain confidentiality in child care
How to Maintain Confidentiality in a Childcare Setting | Work
By Chron Contributor Updated July 08, 2020
Check State Rules
Check whether your state has confidentiality in childcare provisions or regulations on privacy for childcare settings. For help, go to the National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations website and find the interactive map for selecting individual states' childcare licensing regulations.
Write a Comprehensive Policy
When writing a policy, include your state's regulations, where applicable, and then layer in your own policies. State in the policy that you and your employees will treat all parent and child information as confidential, unless you receive written authorization from the parent to release the information.
Be specific about how you will protect the information. For example, state, "We will not release any spoken, written, videoed or photographed information about your child to anyone. This includes pictures, videos and posts on the Internet and in electronic texts." State that the only exception is if the state requires you to disclose confidential information to certain state agencies, such as child protection, child care licensing or law enforcement.
Consider How to Handle Addresses
emergency contact information
date of birth
notes about injuries or behavior
Train Staff and Parents
Review Each Year
University of California San Francisco: Maintaining Confidentiality in Childcare Settings
Westbend: 3 Easy Ways to Meet a Parent's Privacy Expectations
Child Care and Education: Penny Tassoni
National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations
Make sure your staff members understand that it's wrong to talk about a child in their care to anyone except you, the child's parents and any agency that they are required to report to under state law.
Confidentiality: Respecting the Privacy of All Families — Learning Links - Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies
These resources are intended as a starting point to learn more about respecting the privacy of all families, and confidentiality. Some resources may require a subscription or have restricted access due to a publisher paywall. You will need a PDF viewer for some of the resources – download Adobe Reader here.
Ethics and personal-professional principles:
Professional organizations representing the early childhood and school age communities recognize in their codes of ethics the importance of honoring family confidentiality. Some examples:
The Division for Early Childhood Code of Ethics (PDF)
National Association for the Education of Young Children Position Statements on Ethical Conduct
Code of Ethics, National Afterschool Association (PDF)
Legal considerations and confidentiality:
Caring for Our Children – As a collaborator with the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (NCECHW), administered by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the NRC manages the updating of the Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition (CFOC3) standards. CFOC3 is a collection of 686 national standards that represent the best evidence, expertise, and experience in the country on quality health and safety practices and policies that should be followed in today’s early care and education settings. For information on confidentiality please see Standard 220.127.116.11: Written Policy on Confidentiality of Records.
Federal and State laws and regulations such as IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Family Education and Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as Maine Child Care Licensing Regulations hold child care professionals legally accountable for maintaining family privacy.
Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) – The U.S. Department of Education established the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) as a “one-stop” resource for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems and other uses of student data. PTAC provides timely information and updated guidance on privacy, confidentiality, and security practices through a variety of resources, including training materials and opportunities to receive direct assistance with privacy, security, and confidentiality of student data systems.
Student Privacy 101: FERPA for Parents and Students – Ever have questions about your rights regarding education records? This 4-minute video highlights the key points of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Exceptions to the rule about sharing information:
“Need to know” situations exist that can be shared whether or not parental permission has been obtained, such as in cases of:
Child abuse — If the child care professional has a reasonable concern that a child may be neglected or abused, as a mandated reporter, the professional is required by law to report this to the proper authorities. Child care licensing rules state how and where to report suspected child abuse and neglect. In Maine, contact Child Abuse Reporting.
Health conditions that are notifiable (refers to any communicable disease, occupational disease, or environmental disease, the occurrence or suspected occurrence of which is required to be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to Maine’s Disease Reporting Rules) — the director or designee must notify their public health department. In Maine, notify the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ME CDC). Staff and families should also be told about the illness but without disclosing the identity of the ill person. For a list of Maine’s Notifiable Conditions see Rules for the Control of Notifiable Conditions, Chapter 2(J).
3 Easy Ways to Meet a Parent’s Privacy Expectations – this article is based on a chapter in Managing Legal Risks in Early Childhood Programs: How to Prevent Flare-Ups from Becoming Lawsuits by Tom Copeland and Holly Elissa Bruno.
ACF Confidentiality Toolkit (129 pg. PDF) — The Administration for Children and Families have updated their ACF Confidentiality Toolkit (129 pg. PDF) in 2021. The goal of the toolkit is to help state and local efforts understand how and when it is appropriate to share information about a family or individual, in order to provide more effective services, in ways consistent with confidentiality laws and requirements.
Confidentiality and Information Sharing Guidelines for Early Childhood (PDF) — Access and privacy information recommendations from Toronto Best Start.
Confidentiality – This online workshop/presentation on confidentiality is designed to meet federal requirements for staff training while increasing staff awareness of their responsibilities regarding privacy of student records.
Confidentiality (Vodcast) – Expectations and requirements for the job as it relates to confidentiality. Produced by Better Kid Care, PennState Cooperative Extension.
Data Privacy and Confidentiality Info Module Center for Inclusive Child Care — These free short Info Modules are designed to provide an overview on various topics around disabilities and inclusion. Developed in Minnesota, some information reflects Minnesota state laws/regulations.
Family Child Care Association of Maine (FCCAM) – This (2019, February) post on Confidentiality is part of the “Business Tool Kit” section of the FCCAM website.
Maintaining Confidentiality in Child Care Ces (PDF) — Health and safety notes from the California Childcare Health Program.
Sample Authorization to Disclose Confidential Child Information – Developed by Idaho STARS, July, 2014.
Understanding the Confidentiality Requirements Applicable to IDEA Early Childhood Programs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – October 2016 (PDF): The purpose of this document is to assist early childhood programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—Part B section 611 (Grants to States), Part B section 619 (Preschool Grants), and Part C (Grants for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities)—with addressing privacy and confidentiality questions.
The Use of Technology to Support Early Childhood Practice: Protecting Child, Parent, and Practitioner Privacy (PDF) – This research-to-practice brief, from the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, presents some best practices that can guide early childhood programs in evaluating the use of online services to support practitioners in their work with children and families.
Written Policy on Confidentiality of Records – Standard 18.104.22.168 of Caring for Our Children 3 (CFOC3) Chapter 9: Administration.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not and does not take the place of legal advice for any specific situation nor is it offered as such.
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Child care allowance and part-time work
The state provided an opportunity for employees who have children under the age of 1. 5 years to work and receive benefits at the same time. However, they may work part-time or at home to be able to care for the child. The law does not establish restrictions on the length of working hours of such employees with the condition of maintaining benefits. In practice, there are situations when their working time was reduced by an hour or even 20 minutes. At the same time, in one case, the FSS of the Russian Federation and the courts recognize the reduction of working hours by an hour as legal, and in the other, they refuse employers to reimburse the amounts paid, because they believe that reducing work by an hour or less does not allow the employee to take care of the child, therefore, the payment of benefits is converted into additional material remuneration. Read in the article what recommendations government agencies give on reducing working hours, as well as how judicial practice has developed on this issue in recent years. We offer a sample request to the FSS of the Russian Federation for clarification of the legislation regarding the duration of part-time work for employees who are on leave to care for a child up to 1. 5 years of age.
Any member of the family, including father, grandmother, grandfather, can go on parental leave until the child reaches the age of 3. During the period from the day the vacation is granted, persons actually caring for a child up to 1.5 years old and on vacation are paid a monthly allowance for caring for the child (part 1 of article 11.1 of Federal Law No. social insurance in case of temporary disability and in connection with motherhood", Article 13 of the Federal Law of 19.05.1995 No. 81-FZ "On state benefits to citizens with children"). According to Part 3 of Art. 256 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, at the request of an employee, while on parental leave, he can work part-time or at home while retaining the right to receive state social insurance benefits.
Father or grandmother on parental leave: registration
No. 06 / 2018
See the article “Father or Grandmother on Parental Leave: Processing” in No. 6’ 2018
Father or grandmother on parental leave: receiving child benefits
No. 07 / 2018
See article “Father or Grandmother on Parental Leave: Receiving Child Benefits” in No. 7’ 2018
We transfer employees to part-time work
No. 07 / 2020
See the article “We transfer employees to part-time work” with sample documents in No. 7’ 2020
In accordance with Art. 93 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, part-time work can be set in the form:
part-time work week.
At the same time, not a single regulatory legal act indicates whether there are some restrictions on the amount of time worked by an employee who is on parental leave. In other words, can any working time be considered part-time if it is less than the normal working hours (40 hours a week)?
What expenses does the FSS of the Russian Federation reimburse employers
No. 11 / 2021
See the article “What expenses does the FSS of the Russian Federation reimburse employers” in No. 11’ 2021
Position of state bodies
In letter dated October 14, 2020 No. 14-15 / 7710-4421l GU - MRO FSS of the Russian Federation indicated the main criteria for granting benefits for part-time work:
9002 1) the insured person is caring for himself a child, and he has enough time for this;
2) reduction of working time is calculated in hours;
3) the benefit compensates for lost earnings equal to the amount of the benefit;
4) the benefit does not acquire the character of additional material incentives.
Thus, the FSS of Russia directs employers and employees with children to the fact that reducing the working day by an hour or less or reducing the working week by several hours cannot be considered conscientious. In this case, with a high degree of probability, the employee will lose the right to benefits.
On the websites of the territorial Social Insurance Fund of the Russian Federation, there are consultations of specialists who suggest additionally being guided by Regulations on the procedure and working conditions for women with children and working part-time, approved by the Decree of the USSR State Committee for Labor, the Secretariat of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions dated April 29, 1980 No. 111 / 8-51 1 . In its paragraph 8, it is noted that the work regimes established when working with part-time work may include:
reduction in the duration of daily work (shift) by a certain number of working hours on all days of the working week;
reduction in the number of working days per week while maintaining the normal duration of daily work (shift), etc.
When establishing part-time work regimes for employees caring for a child, the length of the working day (shift), as a rule, should not be less than 4 hours and the working week - less than 20-24 hours, respectively, with a five- and six-day week .
At the same time, it cannot be concluded from the mentioned norm that the reduction of working hours, for example, by an hour, will not be a part-time regime in order to maintain benefits.
However, it should be borne in mind that the Regulation has become invalid on the basis of the order of the Ministry of Labor of the Russian Federation dated 29.12.2016 No. 848.
Consultants of Rostrud on the website online inspection.rf 2 adhere to the position that reducing the working day by an hour is acceptable to maintain benefits.
According to Part 2 of Art. 91 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, normal working hours cannot exceed 40 hours per week. The provision of the ILO Convention No. 175 of June 24, 1994 "On part-time work" determines that part-time work should be considered working time, the duration of which is less than the normal working time. Therefore, any working time less than 40 hours per week is recognized as part-time employment.
However, it is the Social Insurance Fund of the Russian Federation that is responsible for assigning and paying the child care allowance 3 . Therefore, in our opinion, it is better to be guided by the position taken by the FSS of the Russian Federation.
The position of the courts
There is still no unity among the courts on the issue of how long the working hours of employees with children under 1.5 years old should be in order to maintain the amount of benefits.
For example, the Arbitration Court of the North-Western District found it permissible to reduce the working day by an hour during parental leave.
In the opinion of the court, the FSS of the Russian Federation did not provide evidence that the bank employees, if there were grounds for receiving benefits, did not actually take care of their young children during the disputed period, or that conditions were not created in their families for harmonious a combination of professional and family responsibilities, so that the mother of the child, taking into account the work schedule and the nature of the employment relationship with the employer, devotes sufficient time to caring for a minor child with a reduced working day.
The Social Insurance Fund of the Russian Federation could not prove that the child was actually cared for by other family members. The allegation that the reduction of working hours for employees by 1 hour a day cannot be regarded as a measure that allows them to continue caring for a child, and the benefit becomes an additional incentive, according to the court, is conjectural in nature and has not been proven.
The final conclusion of the court: The mere fact of reducing working hours for the insured person cannot indicate the abuse of the right to receive child care allowance (decision of the Arbitration Court of the North-Western District dated November 19, 2020 No. F07-13037/2020 in case No. A21-393/2020).
A similar position is held by the Arbitration Court of the Far Eastern District. True, in the case he considered, it was already about reducing the length of working hours by 2 hours a day.
The court found it permissible to reduce the length of the working day by 2 hours. He pointed out that the fund could not prove that the employee's receipt of the childcare allowance had acquired the character of unjustified material incentives for her.
The employee exercised her right to simultaneously care for the child and work part-time with the condition of simultaneously receiving state-guaranteed benefits, which cannot be regarded as an abuse of the right /2020 in case No. A04-2798/2019).
At the same time, there is a directly opposite judicial practice. Below are examples where working time per day was reduced by an hour and 12 minutes.
The court validated the decision of the FSS of the Russian Federation on non-acceptance of the insured's expenses for the payment of insurance coverage for compulsory social insurance in case of temporary disability and in connection with motherhood. He proceeded from the fact that the facts of the presence of children under the age of 1.5 years among the insured persons and the reduction of their working time by 1 hour daily with a working time of 35 hours per week (87. 5% of the normal working time) with the corresponding a proportional reduction in wages does not indicate that these persons have the right to receive the appropriate benefit from social insurance funds.
The court came to the conclusion that the implementation by these persons of labor activity with a slight reduction in working hours and wages while being on leave to care for a child should be regarded as abuse of the right for the sake of simultaneously obtaining virtually full earnings, as well as additional material security in the form of benefits for compulsory social insurance, reimbursed at the expense of the FSS of the Russian Federation.
In such a situation child care allowance is no longer compensation for lost earnings, but acquires the character of additional material incentives for the employee -1884/2020).
The court did not find legal grounds to satisfy the complaint of the joint-stock company, because it decided that a slight reduction in working hours (for 12 minutes a day ) cannot be regarded as a measure necessary to care for a child, the payment of benefits is not compensation for lost earnings (resolution of the Arbitration Court of the Volgo-Vyatka District No. F01-10378/2020 in case No. A43-14545/2019).
The Arbitration Court of the Volga-Vyatka District did not recognize as lawful the reduction of the working day by 1 hour in its decision No. Ф01-10212/2020 dated April 16, 2020 in case No. А43-35783/2019. The court considered that the company, reducing the employee's working time by 1 hour a day, should have been aware that during the specified time it was actually impossible to take care of the child, therefore, the employee paid more time and attention to work than to the child.
What the employer should do as a result
In practice, a strong opinion has formed that in order to maintain child care benefits, part-time work should not exceed 60% of the employee's full-time work.
This point of view has been repeatedly met in judicial acts, for example:
decision of the Arbitration Court of the East Siberian District of August 3, 2020 No. F02-199/2020 in case No. A19-27817/2019. The court indicated that the insured person's lost earnings must be at least 40% of the average earnings from which the monthly child care allowance was calculated, since otherwise the benefit is not compensation for part of the lost earnings, but additional incentives for the employee;
decision of the Arbitration Court of the Urals District dated November 22, 2019 No. F09-281/2019 in case No. A50-22464/2018. The court declared it unacceptable to reduce working hours by 48 minutes a day to an employee, because in this case 90% of the salary is paid and a child care allowance is paid in the amount of 40% of the average earnings, that is, in fact, a payment is made in the amount of 130% of the salary fees;
decision of the Arbitration Court of the Ural District dated December 24, 2018 No. F09-8202/18 in case No. A76-9268/2018. The court decided that the failure to receive income in the amount of 16. 7% of average earnings, taking into account the child care allowance paid (about 40% of the same amount), acquired the character of an additional material incentive for the employee, which in turn is not subject to compensation at the expense of the fund etc.
Thus, with a normal working day (8-hour working day with a 5-day working week), the permissible duration of part-time work should be no more than 5 hours per week, and the duration of the working week should not be more than 24 hours.
However, in order to avoid a dispute, we recommend that you send a written request to your territorial body of the FSS of the Russian Federation to clarify the position on the minimum allowable reduction in working hours for an employee on parental leave (Example).
Example. Request to the FSS of the Russian Federation on the minimum allowable reduction in working hours for employees on leave to care for a child under the age of 1.5 years
90,000 bright disputes for 2020-2021 \ Consultant Plus
If an employee is on parental leave, the question arises: how much to reduce the working day so that he does not lose benefits? In one case, the court may recognize a reduction of 1 hour as lawful, and in the other case, it may refuse to grant benefits if the work is reduced by 2 hours. Let's talk about it in the review.
Family members do not help with the child - it may be legal to reduce work even by 1 - 2 hours
The bank reduced the working day for employees with children by 1 hour.
The FSS insisted that such a reduction is insignificant and leads to an abuse of the right to payments. According to the fund, workers do not have free time to take care of children. So other family members help them. The allowance, in fact, turned into their additional income.
The AS of the North-Western District considered that there were no violations. He pointed out that the minimum limit by which it is necessary to reduce working hours for the payment of benefits is not established by law. There are no restrictions on its payment, it does not need to be recalculated depending on the length of the working day.
In addition, the fund did not prove that employees with such a schedule could not combine work and family responsibilities. The FSS also did not provide evidence that the children were cared for by other family members who are entitled to the allowance.
In another case, the Arbitration Court of the Far Eastern District found it sufficient to reduce work by 2 hours. The court noted that in this category of cases it is important to establish whether the recipient of the allowance takes care of the child himself and whether he has enough time for this. After all, the employee should devote most of it to the child, and not to work.
According to the court, the fund did not prove that the employee did not devote enough time to the child and could not combine family responsibilities and work.
Another case was considered by the Arbitration Court of the North-Western District. He did not find violations in the fact that the father of the child was reduced working hours by 5 hours a week. The court rejected the arguments of the FSS that the mother, who was not working during this period, was actually taking care of the child. Both parents raised two children. The Foundation did not provide evidence that the father devoted most of his free time to work, and not to the child.
However, if there is evidence that other members of the family are caring for the children, the court may rule that the payment of benefits is unlawful. The AC of the West Siberian District came to this conclusion. He established that, in fact, grandparents looked after the children, and the employees themselves could not work at home due to work duties.
Quite often, the courts consider the reduction of work by 1 hour a day to be insufficient for the payment of benefits. In their opinion, such a decrease does not entail a loss of earnings. Thus, the employee receives additional financial incentives. A similar conclusion was reached, for example, by the same AS of the West Siberian District.
In addition, the court noted that a small child requires a lot of attention and care and cannot be provided in such a short period of time. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation refused to review this case.
The administrative authorities of the Volga-Vyatka district also indicated that it was impossible to take care of a child if the working time was reduced by 1 hour.
Earlier we wrote about the case when the court supported the fund in a similar situation.
If an employee can work from home, it is legal to reduce working hours by 1 hour
An employee with a small child has their working day reduced by 1 hour. For the period of maternity leave, by order, he was assigned a work area near the house.
In addition, the employee was given the opportunity to work remotely. We have entered into an agreement on access to e-mail and other information resources. The mother of the child also worked and could not take care of him.
The Arbitration Court of the Urals District considered the payment of benefits to be lawful. He pointed out that the reduction of work by 1 hour a day does not yet indicate an abuse of the right. The evidence presented to the court confirms that the employee has enough time to care for the child.
However, a 1 hour cut and an unsubstantiated instruction to telecommute may not be enough.
So, the AS of the Far Eastern District concluded that the organization formally reduced the working day. She did not provide any evidence of the transfer to a remote location. There is no statement from the employee, no orders, no additional agreement to the employment contract. The organization was unable to confirm the possibility of working outside the office.
There is an example when the court supported the fund, despite the existence of an order to transfer an employee to remote work. From job duties it followed that the employee must be present in the office.
Working day reduced by 4 hours - benefit payment is legal even if it has always been so
Before going on maternity leave, the employee already worked on a reduced schedule - 4 hours a day.