Wage Comparability Study

Are you having difficulty attracting or retaining employees?

Conducting a wage study will help your agency develop a compensation package to attract and retain high-quality employees.

Whether you need an HSPPS compliant study to fulfil reporting requirements, or an enhanced study to inform strategies for employee recruitment and retention, Foundations for Families can provide your agency with a report scaled to your needs. Our Wage Comparability Study provides a snapshot of the local labor market in your area, grounded in wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, local school districts, and a point in time survey of local employers. And, if your Head Start or Early Head Start program is considering a Change in Scope, a wage study is a critical step in this process.

The child care sector has not yet recovered from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past three years, 16,000 licensed child care programs closed nationwide. While historically the child care sector has experienced high turnover because of low compensation, the staff shortages of the last year are unprecedented. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that there are 79,600 fewer child care workers than there were before the pandemic.

In addition to historically low pay, child care workers also less likely to have access to benefits through their employers. Given a changing labor market with more options for low-wage workers, many employees in early childhood education are now seeking better jobs with higher wages and benefits.

The Head Start Act, Section 653, is called Comparability of Wages. It describes the limits and minimums on compensation paid to staff supported by Head Start funds and notes that compensation should be provided according to salary scales based on training and experience. The Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS), Part 1302.91, lists staff qualifications and competency requirements.

A wage and fringe benefits comparability survey is an analysis of an employee compensation system in comparison to similar organizations that offer similar services and demographics. To establish and maintain high-quality program operations and services, Head Start and Early Head Start programs must attract and retain qualified personnel. Employee compensation is an important component of any program’s ability to maintain a skilled and motivated workforce.

– A Guide for Conducting a Wage and Fringe Benefits Comparability Survey

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