Full-Time Equivalent Revisited

  • Business

published | 10/14/2014

Preschool Business Planning

Have you ever looked at the night sky and marveled at the phases of the moon? Although you may be most familiar with a full moon, there are actually eight officially recognized phases that occur in a steady, predictable manner during the course of a lunar month.

If you’re the owner or director of a preschool or early learning center, having a predictable way to measure enrollment is one key to your success. You can count on a full moon to occur every 29.53 days, but what you need is a consistent method to compare enrollment from one week to the next.

That’s where FTE, also known as full-time equivalent or full-time equivalency, comes into play. If you’re brand new to the concept of FTE, take a look at our previous article on how to Measure Full-Time Equivalency at Your Preschool. In this article we’ll look at what to do when your full day is less than the typical 8 hours.

Maximum FTE per Week and Day

The most a single child may count toward FTE during a week is always 1.0. In other words, if a child is scheduled for a full day, every day you are open, their FTE value is exactly one child for that week. The maximum per day is a setting your Child Care Management Software should include in order to automate your FTE counts. To determine your maximum per day, divide 1 week by the number of days you are open. If you’re open 5 days, the answer is 1÷ 5 = 0.20. That means a day cannot count as more than 20% of a week.

8 Full Time Hours per Day

If you’re using Procare Software, you can also control another important setting, the number of hours you consider to be full time. In many cases that’s 8 hours a day—so a child scheduled for 8 or more hours would reach your FTE limit for the day of 0.20. If they were scheduled 4 hours, their FTE for that day would be half the amount, meaning 0.10.

Less than 8 Full Time Hours

But what if the programs you offer run less than 8 hours—should you change the setting? The answer depends on how you would like the hours to be counted. Let’s say you offered a part day program from 9:00 a.m. to noon (3 hours) and anything more than that you considered a full day. There are a couple of different ways you might handle this.

Option 1: If you want your 3 hour program to count as exactly half a day, set your full time hours to 6. That means a child scheduled 3 hours would count halfway (an FTE of 0.10) toward their maximum for the day. A child would need to be scheduled 6 hours (or more) to count as a full 0.20 FTE for the day. Hint: If they were scheduled between 3 and 6 hours, their FTE would fall somewhere in the middle (between 0.10 and 0.20).

Option 2: Another approach is to set the full time hours per day to a little bit over 3 (say 3.10); that means anyone scheduled for more than 3 hours would immediately count as full time (0.20 FTE per day), while children scheduled for exactly 3 hours would count as almost full time (0.19 FTE per day), and children scheduled for 1.5 hours would count as a half day (0.10 FTE). See: How to Change FTE Settings in Procare.

The next time you’re gazing at the moon, just remember your lesson on using full-time equivalent and you’ll have a consistent way to measure enrollment from week to week—no matter what phase the moon is in.

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