Childminder going on maternity leave.........

(68 Posts)
CJMommy Mon 21-Jan-13 22:23:34

Looking for some advice and thoughts. (Go easy......never posted on AIBU before! grin)

My childminder is pregnant (already has a 2y/o DD) and plans to work up until 5 days before her due date. She has my one DC for wraparound 5 days and the other from 8am-6pm 5 days also.

I have asked her if she would like me to do more school runs for her closer to her due date (this would be possible in the short term) but she says she needs the money and is planning to work as long as possible. I love my CM and have offered to be has flexible as I can be in order to support her work as long as she can. However, I am concerned that she is going to be knackered, her first DD delivered 3 weeks early and i don't have enough holiday (or understanding employer) to suddenly go off work if she decides at 36/7/8 weeks that she is unable to continue work.

I realise that this a risk at any time but would I be being unreasonable to plan alternate childcare from at least two, if not four weeks before she is due? I don't want to 'deprive' her of her income but in the same way, I cannot afford to be left without childcare.

There is very little option with cover and nursery appears to be the only option but they want definite dates and deposits; if I leave it much longer the spaces may have gone.

What would you do?

flowery Tue 22-Jan-13 13:50:57

Sockreturningpixie the OP doesn't employ her, she's a childminder, not a nanny. She's providing a service and provided the OP complies with whatever terms and conditions are in place with regards to notice, she is entitled to take her business elsewhere at any point.

Tanith, this CM is taking 8 weeks off, not 2. And this CM is changing the terms of the contract as of new baby, only returning to work 4 days per week so the op needs to find alternative childcare for on day anyway.

I think this will be a very unsettling period for your youngest. 2 months away from CM, and then back to CM but with 1 day elsewhere? This is not in the best interest of your child!

If I were you, I would look for alternative childcare now.

Whether CM loses her job due to pregnancy or not, is then purely down to her own planning. Not all employers will agree to an employee returning to work part time, either. It is not up to the employee to dictate the terms, if comparing this to a normal maternity leave.

MummytoMog Tue 22-Jan-13 14:00:03

If she says she will be fine, she will be fine. I worked up to 39.5 weeks both times, with nary a worry about early delivery or having to take things easy. Why wouldn't she be able to manage? She sounds like a girl after my own heart personally.

flowery Tue 22-Jan-13 14:24:31

"If she says she will be fine, she will be fine"

If only it were that simple, we'd all have straightforward pregnancies and not deliver early or develop problems.

In circumstances where the childminder has already confirmed she will not be able to meet the OPs childcare needs long term anyway, I really think the best thing is to find a long term alternative now.

PatButchersEarring Tue 22-Jan-13 14:28:25

Totally agree with flowery and purequint

OP, you are not this CM's employer. She is self-employed and running a business. If the service which she is offering is not a service which you are currently happy with, you are perfectly entitled to take your business elsewhere.

FWIW- I am a newly registered CM. I am also pregnant. I have been registered as self employed for quite some time, and have always paid my Class 2 additional voluntary contributions.

As such, I am entitled to claim Maternity Allowance of £585 tax free per month, starting from when I am 29 weeks pregnant. I am intending on doing this because I actually can't see that I'll be able to give 100% to childminding after this time.

Each to their own, but remember that you are the paying customer. If you feel uncomfortable with her proposed arrangements (and I would too), do not feel bad about finding an alternative which you're happy with.

CJMommy Tue 22-Jan-13 21:24:42

Wow lots of responses!

Tanith whilst I agree with the principle of what you are saying, the reality is that companies have someone to cover the workload or it just doesn't get done. If my CM finishes early unexpectedly, it isn't that easy to find cover in 24hrs...I'm having enough difficulty finding cover with 5 months to go.

sockreturning in the same way, if one of your employees finished earlier than expected, would you be able to cover the work at the drop of a hat?

Mummytomog a nice thought but without a crystal ball this is not true. Great for you that you could and I would like to think that my CM won't have a problem either but I won't know until it happens will I?

I also don't want to loose her altogether and am happy to make arrangements for the 5th day that she will be unable to cover on her return. I suppose there is always the possibility that she won't want to look after my kids if I don't support her working until 40 weeks??

If I could find someone/a nursery who can be flexible for a month in case she does deliver early then this is ideal but in reality I'm pretty sure that this won't be the case. There are scarcely enough places as it is without asking someone to hold it for me for a month on the off chance.

Is it true that our contracts will be ended when she starts mat leave and then we need to re-do them on her return to work?

Maybe if I moved my son so that she didn't have to do walks to school and back, this would help her work longer (as this appears to be what she really wants) but she will still be taking others to and from school....sorry, just musing out loud.

My gut feeling is that I need to find cover from 36 weeks, perhaps 38 weeks at the latest. I just cannot afford to risk having to take unpaid leave of any duration.

Thanks for all your replies. I do feel very bad that I am potentially going to be reducing her income for the last 2-4 weeks of her pregnancy but don't feel that I have any option confused

DontmindifIdo Tue 22-Jan-13 21:33:20

OP - I would talk directly to the other CM friend, offer to move your DCs from 36 weeks until 8 weeks post your CM's DC's birth, then ask if she would do full time or some days perminately (you need to find someone once your CM has had the baby, why not the person you've already being using for the maternity leave)

Personally, I'd be looking for a full time solution, not just for 10 or so weeks, you don't know how your DCs will cope with several changes, and you don't know how the CM will cope with 2, or how she will cope towards the end. I know some childminders have worked right up until the end, I also know that few were able to do anything other than the basics with DCs, if you can move your DCs earlier, I would. (The CM as a self employed person would be entitled to SMP)

DontmindifIdo Tue 22-Jan-13 21:39:16

Sock - but the CM isn't an employee of the OP, the CM is self employed, the OP if fully entitled to give notice and take her business elsewhere for whatever reason she wants. If she just didn't think the CM was doing a good job, regardless of if it was officially "good enough" doesn't matter to anyone else, it's the OPs choice.

BTW - I'm pregnant, I was talking to HR and they are looking at hiring a replacement from around 30 - 32 weeks, I'm aiming to leave at 36 weeks, but I've got some holiday allowance and might finish earlier. (This time frame hopefully will give them time to train up the replacement).

You are going to have to move your DCs for 10 weeks at least, you will need to find time for them to settle in with the new CM, there's a real possibility that your DCs will prefer the new CM/nursery.

CJMommy Tue 22-Jan-13 22:40:15

Dontmindif Yes, I hadn't considered that; if the kids prefer their new CM/nursery grin

I have e-mailed all my queries to the CM - we agreed to do this as far easier than trying to talk over all the kids at home time. Anyway, have expressed my concerns over working so late, discussed how I need to make contingency/alternative plans from approx 36 weeks and also asked about contracts and how/when they will be terminated/redone?

I suppose I have put everything out there for discussion and we can see where it goes from here.

I'll let you all know how it goes as I do appreciate all your comments; it has helped me think a little clearer about the situation.

Tanith Tue 22-Jan-13 23:12:48

Were it just the reduction in days (change to contract), I'd agree that it was a valid reason for giving notice, but that wasn't mentioned until later in the thread.

Up until then, the comments were concerned with how the childminder would cope with pregnancy and a new baby: those concerns have been used time out of mind to discriminate against pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace.

Just very sad and angry to see that kind of thing on Mumsnet, of all places.

DeepRedBetty Tue 22-Jan-13 23:23:44

agree there was some pretty nasty stuff upthread.

Problem boils down to ensuring continuity of cover if cms baby either decides to turn up early, or she becomes unwell in later stage of pregnancy. This shit happens, and no right-on version of pearl clutching will change that. It's a massive downside to life when one is self-employed <thanks god that menopause is with me and an unexpected extra little RedBetty is now extremely unlikely>

Seems like OP has got a plan in hand, hope she and her cm can continue to work happily together as it sounds like they've got a good relationship and the children are very happy.

CJMommy Tue 22-Jan-13 23:26:40

What do you suggest I should do Tainth? What would your advice be if she has to finish suddenly and I haven't an alternative? I too am a mother trying to stay in the work place.

ceeveebee Tue 22-Jan-13 23:35:13

Tanith, if you are self employed you don't get employment rights unfortunately.

When I was pregnant with twins I was realistic and told my employer I may have to finish earlier than a normal pregnancy and so we employed my maternity cover to start 6 weeks before due date to give time for a proper handover. The OPs childminder is not being realistic and is not coming up with any contingency plans.

hrrumph Tue 22-Jan-13 23:42:58

I would organise a nursery for the one day a week she's not coming back to work. Then get your dc settled there for that day. Then if she goes off early, you could ask them if they can take yours for more days temporarily.

CJMommy Tue 22-Jan-13 23:44:28

I am actually trying to find a flexible placement that will offer me cover for last four weeks of pregnancy just in case needed, and definite temporary cover for the duration of her mat leave, that way we both 'win'. However, this doesn't appear to exist, even her CM colleagues are not willing to commit to this. Surely, I have done by best in trying to resolve this equitably but if I am missing something then please tell me Tainth?

CJMommy Tue 22-Jan-13 23:49:06

Hrrumph, unfortunately, she is unable to tell me which day she will be wanting off until April. The local nursery has availability now for the time I need but they want definite dates, a 50% deposit on first month and TBH, if they can't provide the extra care if needed at the time, what do I do? I can't take that risk sad

gimmecakeandcandy Wed 23-Jan-13 00:05:00

I too think you need to find new care - she isn't giving you a lot to go on is she and she seems to expect you to work around her when what you need Is someone to take the stress out of YOUR working day!

ceeveebee Wed 23-Jan-13 00:09:13

I think you arrange alternative care and then when she returns to work you can give notice at the new place if you want to go back to her

MidniteScribbler Wed 23-Jan-13 03:26:47

Quite frankly I would just find yourself new care and give her the appropriate notice. She wants things all her own way without any consideration for how it will impact her clients. She's running a business, so she should be the person trying to find cover for you and if she wants to only work four days she needs to find a suitable alternative if she wants to keep you as a client. Otherwise, she shouldn't be surprised when all of her customers start going elsewhere.

Tanith Wed 23-Jan-13 07:32:19

You're missing my point.

I'm not talking about employment rights; I'm talking about attitudes - namely the one that arose from the original OP before all the stuff about the contract being changed was even mentioned.
Employed or self-employed, employment status is irrelevant. Either a pregnant woman can be expected to work, or she cannot and millions of women have fought hard to prove that she can.

Regarding pregnancy: Childminders will usually have a backup or contingency plan in place. I know I did. There is also emergency leave if all options break down. Not at all a reason to give notice.

Regarding *change in terms of contract*:
As I said before, this is a different matter and, if you're not happy with the changes proposed in the service, of course you're at liberty to go elsewhere.
That wasn't mentioned in the OP, though.

You have only one issue: that your service is changing, not that your childminder is pregnant.
Saying that the OP should give notice because the childminder may not be able to cope with working while either pregnant or a new mother does a disservice to all working mothers and mothers-to-be.

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 23-Jan-13 07:36:03

I would find new care too, especially given that she only plans to work 4 days a week after maternity. Part time childminders take the risk of losing and not gaining new clients if they work fewer days than five days.

She is SE, therefore if not providing the service for any reason her clients can chooses to look elsewhere.

moogy1a Wed 23-Jan-13 07:48:29

I'm a CM>
I very recently ( 6 weeks ago) had a baby.
I worked until the day before I had him. I had back up from 3 different CM's who could step in at a moment's notice if needs be. I also made arrangements with the local nursery that they could have all the lo's temporarily if necessary.
it all worked out fab.
Mindees came back t me after the agreed 4 weeks, which included 2 weeks at Christmas that the parents were having off anyway. All the mindees love the new baby and "help".
To the people who say op should find alternative care as it will be disruptive for her child, I think you're being a bit dramatic. If the child is settled, it's always best to go back to the same place and why on earth would the CM not cope?
CM's are a family atmosphere. if you were to have another baby as a parent, you don't then start ignoring your older children or giving them less affection.
OP, it sounds like the CM has it covered with her back up CM. Ask for back upCM's number so you can 'phone for a chat and a visit so you are happy with where dc will be for those 4 weeks.

Try not to fret, most CM's are tough and also excellent at looking after a range of children equally.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 23-Jan-13 08:40:16

Tanith that's how I view it as well.

flowery Wed 23-Jan-13 08:58:02

"I very recently ( 6 weeks ago) had a baby.
I worked until the day before I had him. I had back up from 3 different CM's who could step in at a moment's notice if needs be. I also made arrangements with the local nursery that they could have all the lo's temporarily if necessary."

That sounds ideal but the OPs childminder is not doing that. The backup is not guaranteed and the OP is having to find cover for the maternity leave herself anyway. Plus it's all very well people saying oh I worked until the last minute, but believe me when I say a very large percentage of women intend to do that and end up changing their mind. Making plans bearing that in mind is not discrimination, it's just good sense.

As the OP is having to find cover anyway, and as many women who intend to work until the last minute change their minds later or are physically unable to, it is very sensible to get cover that starts a couple of weeks early.

CJMommy Wed 23-Jan-13 09:09:54

Ok, just a few things ........

I have no intention of finding a new CM permanently. The DCs are settled with her and I have no issues with her coming back 4 days, that's what works for her home life and we can work around that.

I am not concerned about it being too unsettling for the DCs-they are sociable, friendly and adapt very well to change-not an issue for me.

Her 'back up' CM is unable to commit to being a back up for another few months. If she could commit now then this would all be irrelevant. However, if in a few months she decides that she can't cover then I could be stuck as very few alternatives.

Emergency leave-a few days to a week I could do but 2, 3, 4, weeks is just not an option.

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