Childminder going on maternity leave.........(68 Posts)
Looking for some advice and thoughts. (Go easy......never posted on AIBU before! )
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?
you have to do what is right for your children and your family day to day working.
What's going to happen once she has the baby?
Find another CM and start crossing over to her gradually around 10-12 weeks before your current CM's due date. Your paying for a service. Why would you "offer to do more school runs?" It's her job description. It's her job. If she can't do it 5£3' find someone else.
If you want to continue working, change childminder.
If she wants to work that late I'd expect her to have some kind of contingency plan - another childminder lined up to take over at short notice maybe. Who will be looking after your child while she's on maternity leave?
Wips She says she is going to have 8 weeks off then return 4 days so I will need to find cover for one day anyway on her return.
Fakebook She's really good, flexible and the kids enjoy being there. I hoped by offering that she would perhaps take me up on the offer or perhaps realise the enormity of what she was proposing.
Everything could be fine but I remember being pregnant with a toddler; pregnancy was healthy and I worked full time but was knackered and glad to finish work at 36 weeks. I couldn't imagine what it would be like with several other kids around!!
Natasha She has a CM friend who could accommodate my kids and has some flexibility if my CM needs to finish early. However, says she does not want to commit at the moment in case her regular mindees needs change and then she couldn't accommodate their needs. She says she can give me a definite in a few months but I don't feel I can wait that long with the uncertainty.
I would give her notice and find someone else if she isn't going to be providing enough cover for you after her maternity leave anyway.
I'm looking for cover for half her mat leave and the rest will be in the summer holidays which I can just cover between me and DH taking leave and grandparents.
Feckoff Really?? I have always used a nursery before now so am unsure what I should be doing! When we 'hired' her, she did say that she would be hoping to have another child at some point in the future but did say that she would probably have an assistant to help her out.
I also live in quite a small town which i have not long moved too so don't want to upset anyone; they move in small circles around here!!
Yeah I would look for an alternative in your position, I understand where you're coming from about not wanting to upset anyone but it doesn't sound like it is going to be convenient for you anyway having to look for one day's cover elsewhere when she only goes back 4 days so that would be a good reason to give for terminating your contract and hopefully parting on good terms.
If her first DD arrived 3 weeks early, there is every chance that her second will arrive then as well. Definitely look for alternative cover. Be nice about it, but if she doesn't understand why you need an alternative, then she is being unreasonable.
If the first came at 37 weeks I'd make some contingency plans for care, or you may well be stuck.
Mine never make it to 40 weeks and I was healthy and not chasing a load of kids about I was at home and could rest as necessary.
Does she have someone who is taking over for her while she's off or are all the parents on their own looking for someone?
No matter how much you love her, consider your own family needs first. If she's as good as you say she is then she'll be smart enough to realise that things will change when she has a baby. She'll receive maternity pay if she's done her forms properly.
Can you find the childminder you want to use after, and ask her if she'd be able to have a flexible starting date so you don't have to let down your last childminder by taking her wage just before she's due. If you can find a kind childminder, this should make her think you're a nice person to work for ideally and hopefully she won't mind
I would be careful "overworking" her whether she wants to or not. I worked 7 days a week in childcare from month 3 onwards of the pregnancy due to money worries, and ended up having DD 9 weeks premature. I don't know what the cause was, but I'm not sure working so much helped, especially being childcare which is so active.
What on earth?!!
I'm a childminder and took exactly two weeks off when DD was born; I'm not the only one by any means. I personally know of no childminder who had to let down her clients due to pregnancy, but plenty who have coped.
Why should the OP give notice, for heaven's sake? I bet you'd all be up in arms if you lost your jobs due to pregnancy! Some of these comments are exactly the thinking that many companies use to justify edging out new mothers - and here are, presumably, mothers, women, using the same tired excuses.
OP if you need to make arrangements for when she is on ML, then I would make them from around 36 weeks at the latest. You don't want to end up with no childcare in place.
If you need childcare 5 days a week and she will be not only taking 8 weeks off but also not available to provide the cover you need when she does return, then look for alternative childcare.
arrange childcare for 1-2 weeks before she says
if needs be say things shit at work and cant risk it given that her DD was early
I know when you work in a hospital (in australia) you are only allowed to work to 36 weeks. Then you need a medical certificate if you continue- maybe you should make some back up plans from 36/40 then reassess with her then. What would happen to pregnant employees in an office situation? Maybe that's how you need to think of it? It's nice you're both thinking of each other but you also need to plan for your family.
She has the right excluding any pregnancy related illness that prevents her doing her job to state when she wishes to start ML and that can be on her due date if that is what she wants.
If you chose to obtain additional childcare despite her wish to continue working then you should still pay her in full as she is willing and able to work.
If I told my employees they could not work because I felt they might not be able to due to pregnancy I would get lynched
Obviously after her ML is a different kettle of fish as she is unable to provide the service you require.
It's a tricky one because I do agree with tanith.
However, there is a chance that her baby will come early and the OP will be left without childcare, so I think it's reasonable to sort alternative childcare from 36/7 weeks maybe.
If you need 5 days and the childminder is only going to work 4 days now, then I think it's reasonable to give notice because she has changed her terms.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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
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)
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.
Dontmindif Yes, I hadn't considered that; if the kids prefer their new CM/nursery
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.
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 and to see that kind of thing on Mumsnet, of all places.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tanith that's how I view it as well.
"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.
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.
In principle, I agree with Tanith completely. If we expect women to have problems with working during pregnancy, then we collude in discrimination against women in the workplace. Many childminders only take 2 weeks off when they have a new baby.
However I also think it would be a good idea to have some contingency plans in place as your childminder is pregnant. As a childminder, I made my own contingency plans, and found cover for the child I was minding (just as well I did because I had a fall at 36 weeks and ended up on crutches for the rest of my pregnancy).
I think Tanith that the point you are missing is that you are not the ops CM, and however much you want to project your working situation onto ops CM, it is not going to work, because they are different. Your approach, and the CMs approach differ too much. It is never wise to try fit a square peg into a round hole.
CJMommy, if the CM cant tell you in advance what days she will take off, and cant arrange cover during maternity leave, then I suggest that you find a nursery/different CM for those 8 weeks, and decide whether to return to her at all depending on how well the new CM works.
It may not be 8 weeks, she may decide to take more, or take 2 days off per week, if she is this undecided about things. She sounds a bit unprofessional.
There are CMs on this thread whom have worked with their clients to manage the situation ie set up cover etc. it appears that this CM doesn't want to or isn't able to do that.
Both these women need certainty of plans as they both have commitments etc but it seems to me that the CM wants all the flexibility as she probably wants to work as long as she can for financial reasons understandably.
She may want /need to work up to the birth or as close to, but it's really not at all fair to the OP if there isn't any firm backup plan in place.
I think the OP needs to set up an alternative for 38 weeks, a firm back up from at least 34 weeks and a contingency for 4 weeks before that.
It is a fact that while most working pregnant women are fit and healthy it is possible that she or the baby may develop unforeseen complications or she may delivery early which seems probable. Due to the works she does the CM has to support her clients in finding alternatives to meet their needs.
I also think it's unfair of the CM. to say I want to work 4 days but not say which 4. The OP has to make plans for the 5th day and if OP leaves it too late she will be unable to do this.
OP you don't want to move your children as they are happy and I think most people would understand and sympathise with you. You seem a nice person eg offering to do the school runs etc but as others have posted, you are paying for that service she's not doing you a favour.
I think that CM needs to realise that unless she supports you in this you may well be forced to change providers in order to meet your commitment to your employers and keep your job, if this causes you work problems it will impact on her anyway so surely it's in her best interests to do this.
I think the CM needs to wise up to the fact that she is running a business where she is providing a service. She is not doing "working womanhood" any favours by dilly dallying around over her pregnancy and contingency planning. It should be a business decision to work up to 2 weeks before due date and take 8 weeks maternity leave in total. For example. She should provide contingency cover and source alternative care. If she cant do this, she should be prepared that her clients might take their business elsewhere, because they need to know if they have childcare or not.
yes, she's running a one woman business, it's not like working for any other employer where as if you go off 2 weeks earlier than planned there's other staff to fill the gaps in cover, there's either full care or none. If she had a history of going overdue that might be different, but to have had previous DCs at 37 weeks and be assuming this one will make it to 39 weeks is foolish, she's not actually making a plan that works for her customers who can easily go elsewhere.
Plus telling you she wants to reduce the service she's offering below your requirements and not telling you in what way it will be below your requirements (not saying which day) suggests she's not really thinking about your DCs and their needs.
I'd look at alternatives earlier, you need time to settle your DCs, remember the other CMs are also running a business and can't be expected to turn away business on the off chance of this woman needing help.
I'd talk to the back up CM, see if your DCs like them (again, just because your CM likes this alternative, doen't mean it will work for you and your family, it's still your choice), then I'd give them a firm date (say, 35/36 weeks) when you'll move them over, give notice to your CM and offer to pay a retainer to stop them offering places to someone else. Expensive, but probably cheaper than 2-3 weeks unpaid leave/using up all your holiday allowance.
I'd also tell your current CM a date by which you need to know when she will be returning to work and need confirmation of which days she'll be working.
I can see your point about not wanting to move them - you have to have the security of knowing your kids are happy and this is just a rough patch. I'd ask her to find another back-up child-minder, have another chat with your CM about your concerns and explain you can't live with the uncertainty due to the impact on you if her arrangements change, sounds like you have a good relationship with her, so she should see the point, especially if you bring it up again. Just be direct - better than feeling forced to move.
Have you actually asked her what she would suggest as a contingency plan. Most childminders have some sort of network in the local area.
Generally though, I agree with Sockreturningpixie.
Oops - just realised I only read as far as the end of the first page, so my comments may be completely meaningless!
Slight tangent OP but do you actually know you'll be able to get alternative childcare for one day a week once CM is back at work? I only ask because I've heard it can sometimes be more difficult to get very part time hours. Although I was recently told at a nursery I viewed that Friday is the quietest day- presumably because it's the day that part timers are least likely to work- so if it's Friday she doesn't want to do you may be ok. But it's possible you might actually have to move the DC anyway. probably a good idea to find out now so you have plenty of time to find a suitable alternative if you need one.
I would find someone else for at least the last month. Her last child was 3 weeks early, there is no way I's take a risk like that.
Plus, t be brutal, she'll be knackered in those last few weeks, what sort of care will you be paying for? Before DD was boen, the last couple of weeks DS soent far far too much time with Cbeebies. Clearly I wasn't paying for that though, if I was paying for a service I'd want to know I was getting what I paid for.
Well I worked up to the day before I had ds and certainly didn't plonk the kids in front of the TV. ( just made sure I had a snooze when they did in the afternoon.).
Give the CM credit that she can handle her job and her pregnancy
Quick update. My CM has said that she cannot be expected to find cover for all her children and she asks that if we want to resign contracts with her for September then we will need to cooperate with her maternity plans, although acknowledges that she can't enforce this
So DH and I have done alot of talking and research into other options and on balance, the consequences of being left without childcare would be unmanageable. Therefore, we are going to sort a different long term placement as we are unable to 'cooperate' with maternity leave plans.
Thanks everyone for your views and thoughts-they have been very helpful
Just to clarify, at the CM network meeting, no one was able to offer commitment to help if she needed to finish earlier than planned.
Yep, she's not seeing you as a customer. You need to take your custom elsewhere - it's not about you 'cooperating' with her plans, it's about if she can offer the service you are paying for, and she can't and has no clear back up plan.
I'd start looking now, if you know you are going to have to change long term, you might as well get on with it. No point leaving it a few months and then finding you can't get a childminder when you could have got one you like now.
BTW - it is a shame when your DCs are happy, but you need childcare, it's not an optional extra, so you can't be as flexible as she wants you to be.
Yes sorry to hear it, sounds like the cm network in that area isn't very good, you have no other options so don't feel bad about it. Although transition is tough, they'll come thorough it.
I think in that situation I would find alternative care from 36 weeks (give the CM a month's notice that that will be when you finish). When she is ready to start up again after her maternity leave she can give you a month's notice of your start date, you can give the alternative care a month's notice and go back to her. That way you are covered if she decides she needs to finish early or needs longer off to recover from the birth.
Also, I can see the other child minder's point, it's completely unreasonable for your CM to ask them to hold a place on the off chance she'll need it so far in advance, if it means they have to turn away other mindees in order to hold a place that might not be needed and they might not get any money for. I'm sure if when the time came, they had a place, I'm sure they'd help out, but few can commit this far in advance.
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