to be sulking about getting a 'late' fine from hour club?

(63 Posts)
SleepOhHowIMissYou Wed 15-May-13 19:16:13

I was 20 mins late collecting my little girl from hour club after school tonight, she was the last one there. Massive traffic queue due to road-works was the culprit.

They've 'fined' me £5.50 for the twenty minutes. Hour Club costs £3.50 for the hour.
Wanted cash then and there, but only had £2 in purse so they're adding it to bill (which is paid already up to 1/2 term).

Is this legal even? What are the rules? Anyone else have experience of this?

Have a massive sulk on, AIBU?

nokidshere Thu 16-May-13 08:18:28

I know lots of places have late fees but I disagree that people take advantage if they are not in place. I have been a childminder for many years now and have never charged late fees, most parents aren't late on purpose and are already stressed and rushing. My parents are rarely late and, if they are, they are very apologetic.

I know childminders that charge £10 for every 15 minutes lateness and then moan because the parents always bring their child to them and expect every penny refunded if the minder is unable to work. My parents are flexible, pay me when I am sick, even though my contract says they don't have to, and happily pick up early or rearrange if I need to be somewhere for my children (like parents evenings).

I know which way I would rather work.

luxemburgerli Thu 16-May-13 09:11:08

Well most people don't Hulababy, so it would be odd to assume that the OP should have called them whilst driving.

Tournament Thu 16-May-13 09:17:46

The only difference calling would have made would be that the staff would be forced to be polite! They'd still be fed up that they had to work over.

I agree nokids, that is the case for the vast majority. However, we have a afterschool club where I work and there are a couple of parents who really do take advantage. The problem is that you have to be seen to be fair and consistent, you can't fine the repeat offenders if you don't fine the others (although it may be waived for a genuine first offender with a good story smile )

In the OP's case, it's not really a "fine" anyway, she's merely paid a very reasonable rate for the extra childcare she had.

Morloth Thu 16-May-13 09:20:35

I don't want flexibility. I want cast iron opening hours/days.

So I agreed to the late terms when I enrolled them.

I absolutely would expect a refund if they were not able to provide the childcare they had contracted for.

Snazzynewyear Thu 16-May-13 09:26:14

Now we've all agreed on this, let's work on phantomnamechanger's problem of the 2 parents turning up 10 minutes late every week for Rainbows pickup. Any ideas?

Maybe tell them that next time the girls will have to miss the week after if they are late?

MrsMelons Thu 16-May-13 09:33:59

We charged a late fee at preschool nut the parents that were constantly late were also the same parents that never bothered to pay their fees or turn up to things etc etc. We always felt like they are facing a losing battle.

Often the staff had to be late to pick their own children up from school which was horrible for them and the parents never called or apologised.

Tournament Thu 16-May-13 09:36:35

I don't think it would be at all unreasonable to have a fine system for Rainbows, especially for repeat offenders. If you want to be nice, you could maybe let each family have one free one per term. The money can go to charity or to pack funds. (Do they have packs of Rainbows?!)

Provided it's clearly set out in writing when they start, I can't see why you wouldn't

Twinklestarstwinklestars Thu 16-May-13 09:39:28

Yabvu, I'm a cm and if a parent was 20 mins late I could miss something I've arranged for me/my children around when the minders go home. I struggle to get appointments at dentist/doctors for my kids where I don't have to take all the others with me without letting the other parents down.

Obviously traffic jams are unavoidable sometimes but if they didn't find people it would happen all the time.

tiggytape Thu 16-May-13 09:42:42

Well the late fees have to be enforced even if it means telling the parents that they will lose their place if they do not pay - like any non payment of fees. No point having the fines otherwise.

Unfortunately people don't really care about inconveniencing others if it doesn't directly inconvenience them too so unless the fines are pretty high and enforced, people won't go crazy to get there on time in the same way they would if it is going to cost them a lot of money.

NoKidsehre - it might depends on your area. My friends is a childminder in West London working mainly for parents who commute to central London. Before she charged late fees she used to get phone calls at 6:30 from parents telling her the trains were bad and they were just leaving central London now (they were due to pick up at 6pm) and this happened with more than one family on many occasions. She introduced hefty late fees and overnight, nobody was late, nobody missed their train, nobody rang half an hour after pick up time to say they'd be another 40 minutes.

If parents are working locally to their childcare, late fees might be less of an issue maybe?

nokidshere Thu 16-May-13 10:23:32

Twinkle if parents are running late and I need tro be somewhere else I just take them with me.

Tiggy - I am not sure it depends on the area, just the thougtfulness of the parents? I have obviously been very lucky with mine.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Thu 16-May-13 12:19:26

nokidshere that's not always possible though, I know it's not very often but I could have booked a smear/other personal appointment or lately I've had to take my ds a few times about a personal problem that I wouldn't want a nosey 7 year old being at listening to what's being said so if the parent was late would have to rearrange.

Dahlen Thu 16-May-13 12:34:42

I've been late several times over the years. If it's predictable (e.g. work crisis, or stuck in significant traffic), I will arrange for someone else to collect my DC so that staff aren't kept on, or on the rare occasion where that's not possible, I phone up, apologise profusely and pre-empt any awkwardness about charging by saying that of course I fully expect to pay the additional charges for being late. If I'm going to be just 5 mins or so late, I wouldn't phone, but would still offer to pay extra so it doesn't have to be brought up.

As a working parent being late is sometimes unavoidable, but rules are rules and people need paying. If lateness is that regular a problem, then it would make more sense to have the child placed for an extra half hour to remove the time pressures. I used to pay for an extra 15 mins at the CM precisely because although I could get to her place with a set time frame, leaving work 5 minutes late, or getting stuck behind something slow, could make me up to 15 minutes late. It was fairer for her and less stressful for me to pay the extra.

EssexGurl Thu 16-May-13 14:27:44

Nursery have this policy in their T&Cs. Only time nearly got fined was when I called and left MSG on answer phone as battery v low. Then it went dead. Normally I would have called again to talk to someone but couldn't. When I got there v annoyed staff talking about fines. I asked about the MSG which they hadn't heard. Once thy listened all sweetness and light. Moral is - always always call otherwise it is your fault and they cannot plan. Never been fined in 7 yrs even tho late due to trains. But always called.

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