To think I shouldn't have to pay CM?

(48 Posts)
DirtyDancingCleanLiving Sat 30-Nov-13 14:48:14

OK, so I have a childminder, and a pretty standard contract - if she can't have my children for any reason (like her/her dc's sickness), I don't have to pay. However, if my children are ill, or I keep them off for any reason, I still have to pay.

Up until now, we've never had to apply these rules - she has never taken a day off and the kids have attended every day (only 3 days a week after school).

On Thursday CM phoned me at 7pm (the night before I was due in work - she was due to have dc from 3.30pm - 6.30pm on Friday). She has an 18month old dd and was calling to tell me that her dd had been very ill over that day and she was taking her to the Dr's the next morning. She wanted to give me the heads up that if her dd was worse the next day, or the Dr diagnosed something contagious, she could well be unavailable. She could let me know for definite by about midday whether she could have them after school, but she didn't think it likely.

I said OK, can't be helped, hope she's OK. Don't worry about it, concentrate on your dd and i'll arrange an early finish. She was thankful for me being so understanding, I was thankful she'd let me know the night before and not the same day.

So, I drop the kids at school the next morning, go to work and arrange a few hours off, so that I finish at 3pm. These hours I had to take out of my holiday allowance and my boss was not thrilled with the short notice.
At 11am I get a text from CM saying her dd is much better, she didn't even end up taking her to the Drs as she seems fine, she thinks it was something she ate and she's now on the mend. So it's fine for her to have the dc, she can pick them up from school as normal.

I reply that I've already booked the hours off and I can't now cancel them as my manager has arranged alternative cover, so not necessary.

Her reply? 'Oh, OK, no probs then smile. Just so we're on the same page though, because I am available, payment will still be due as normal for the day. Hope you enjoy your early finish! smile'

Enjoy my early finish? AIBU to expect to NOT have to pay for the day in these circumstances?

CailinDana Sat 30-Nov-13 14:50:42

YANBU. She is taking the piss.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 30-Nov-13 14:51:18

I think YANBU but I guess it depends exactly what the contract says. Offering to give you 3.5hours notice of whether she is available or not is taking the piss, and in my book = unavailable.

Does the contract say anything about notice periods?

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 30-Nov-13 14:51:46


That was not the deal. She's taking the piss. What did she think you were going to do when she said she was unavailable? Leave the kids to sort themselves out?

namenotmine Sat 30-Nov-13 14:52:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DIYapprentice Sat 30-Nov-13 14:53:22

YANBU at all - You had to make alternative arrangements because she might not have been available.

Just text back 'I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I don't agree with that. I had to make alternative arrangements because of your phone call, they were not arrangements I made by choice. Telling me at 11 am on the same day that you were suddenly available does not give me sufficient time to unmake the arrangements I have made.'

DirtyDancingCleanLiving Sat 30-Nov-13 14:53:35

No, nothing specifically about notice periods. Just that if SHE is unavailable, I don't pay, but if WE are unavailable we do.

I never even considered a situation like this.

Clearly, she is taking this as because she is available, payment is still due - even though she was only available with a tiny amount of notice.

scarletforya Sat 30-Nov-13 14:53:37

Eh yanbu, she's being very cheeky. Telling you on the same day that she's available is too late. You had already made arrangements!

cheeky cow!

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Sat 30-Nov-13 14:56:01

It's a case of blurred lines I think, but no, I wouldn't expect to have to pay. You had to make other arrangements otherwise you've have been in real trouble, so she can't expect everyone to rearrange a second time as her circumstances changed for a second time.

I'm sorry for her, but really, she let you know there was potentially no care available, so you have to arrange something else - the end. You, and your boss and the other person covering you shouldn't have to spend time and effort rearranging their work to cover you, and then have to tell everyone to rearrange plans yet again as its all alright now - professional life doesn't work like that!

No you shouldn't have to pay.

She initiated the situation which you had to respond to.

I'd be well miffed, how are you going to approach this?

DirtyDancingCleanLiving Sat 30-Nov-13 14:56:54

It's the 'enjoy your early finish' part that really got my back up! 4

I know she's not to know it but the 3.5 hours of holiday I had to book needed to be siphoned off the three days annual leave I have booked next week to coincide with df, meaning I now have only 2 and a bit days off and will have to bugger off to work for 3.5 hours on his day off.

PuppyMonkey Sat 30-Nov-13 14:57:58

The telephone call counted as notification that she was not available IMHO. So yanbu and should text back telling her that you're not paying.

MammaTJ Sat 30-Nov-13 14:58:24

I wouldn't expect to have to pay! YANBU!

DirtyDancingCleanLiving Sat 30-Nov-13 14:59:46

I haven't responded to her text yet. The full month of November is already paid (always paid through childcare vouchers on the 1st of the month).

I'm due to pay her for December tomorrow, so I don't know whether to just text her today and say something along the lines of what the pp said, and add on that I have taken the amount from Friday off Decembers payment.

tracypenisbeaker Sat 30-Nov-13 15:01:18

I would send a text saying 'Just so we're on the same page, I WON'T be bloody paying as I have missed out on wages purely because of you. Hope that helps.'

Tee2072 Sat 30-Nov-13 15:01:40

You took her at her word that she would not be available.

Therefore you do not have to pay her.

TidyDancer Sat 30-Nov-13 15:02:27

I don't think you should have to pay, no.

I suspect there will be some ill feeling over this though, be it from you or her (depending on the decision).

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Sat 30-Nov-13 15:03:00

I think some people do say really annoying stuff when they know they're being ridiculous and hope to brazen it out. All that happens is that it winds the other person up massively!

Id find that really bloody rude too

CailinDana Sat 30-Nov-13 15:03:17

For all you know her DD could be fine and she's pulling a fast one in order to have a free paid afternoon of Christmas shopping!

What you should have done was say "Oh great you can pick her up then and I'll use the afternoon to do some shopping smile"

YANBU but is it worth messing up your arrangements with her over this? As it seems to have been working very well up to this point. I would probably take the high road on this occasion and pay but absolutely tell her you're not best pleased or she might feel free to take the piss even more.

Don't text, call and sort it out over the phone.

tracypenisbeaker Sat 30-Nov-13 15:05:15

Imagine if you were to ask your boss for your hours back (as she so obviously expected you to do)? He'd think you were unreliable and a piss-about.

MrsOsbourne Sat 30-Nov-13 15:11:05

Agree with Cailin text back that if you have to pay then she can pick up DD as you have some work to do lie in a hot bath with your book

Scarlettsstars Sat 30-Nov-13 15:13:56

I'd agree with notjustacigar. Yanbu but if your dcs are happy with her you may have to roll over a bit. I'd phone, explain that you're surprised and somewhat disappointed at the 'misunderstanding', that you'll pay on this occasion but would like to clarify what is meant by reasonable notice, and 3 hours is not it. Stress that in the future, you have to change your plans at short notice then no payment will be made. Just so you're all on the same page... wink

LifeHuh Sat 30-Nov-13 15:15:04

Re-reading your post I think the problem is the phone call. "She wanted to give me the heads up that if her dd was worse the next day, or the Dr diagnosed something contagious, she could well be unavailable. She could let me know for definite by about midday whether she could have them after school, but she didn't think it likely."
That isn't an unequivocal "I won't be available",and I think was your cue to say that if she couldn't guarantee being available,you would have to take it that she wasn't as you would need to rearrange work committments etc. But she said she would let you know by midday,and you said ok,from my understanding.

I think YANBU and she shouldn't expect to be paid in these circumstances - but I can see why she thinks she will be.

(Must say if it were me,I wouldn't have thought about any of this at the time,and would have done exactly what you did - hope her DD was ok,sort next day,assume CM was out of the picture that week...)

Sidge Sat 30-Nov-13 15:18:43

Well she said she'd tell you by midday if she was available or not, which she did. So technically you should have to pay, as she'd said she might be available and would confirm by midday the day she was due to have them.

What the issue is here IMO is that she should have said one way or another the evening before, as telling you by midday would not have given you the time to make alternative arrangements for childcare after work.

On this occasion I wouldn't text but speak to her in person, negotiate something (maybe half fees for Friday?) and make it crystal clear that if she is unlikely to be able to have them the following day then a firm decision needs to be made the night before, one way or another. Then there is no ifs, buts and maybes and you both know whether payment is expected or not.

Jinty64 Sat 30-Nov-13 15:20:12

YANBU you should not have to pay however I think I would just pay it on this occasion but sort out with her how this will be avoided in future.

MrsOsbourne Sat 30-Nov-13 15:21:43

OOOPS sorry just saw this was Thursday !

FlipFlippingFlippers Sat 30-Nov-13 15:21:44

Can you agree to pay her half this time and ask to set up a notice period in case it happens again? I can sort of see it from both sides tbh. She said she'd let you know before midday (which she did) but on the other hand it didn't really leave you enough time to make proper arrangements.

SirChenjin Sat 30-Nov-13 15:22:39

What Sidge and Flip said

SeaSickSal Sat 30-Nov-13 15:23:07

I think the problem is that she said she'd let you know for definite by midday and you said that was okay. If you were going to have to make the decision to have time off there and then you should have told her and not said midday was fine.

insancerre Sat 30-Nov-13 15:24:27

so, if you were still at work at 11am couldn't you have told your boss that you now didn't need to take the hours as holiday and let the cm pick up as normal?
she did say she would let you know by miday and she did tell you by 11am that she was available, so she was available, you just chose not to use her

ivykaty44 Sat 30-Nov-13 15:24:34

you can change this arrangement with 4 hours to go - you have now effectively been told you have to pay twice for a service as she changed it late in the day

by paying twice I mean you could have employed someone else or taken unpaid leave to cover her.

i would put pen to paper and explain that this is not contractual to give 4 hours notice that she is now available and expect everyone and every other arrangement not to now count. It is not professional or contractual to be given hours notice that she can work when at such late notice she wasn't available for work.

Possible state on this occasion you will be grudgingly pay but in future you need 24 hours notice of whether she is available to work, as it is very complicated to try to arrange emergency cover pay for it and then cancel with such short notice for someone else. You are not happy with being left hanging in midair

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 30-Nov-13 15:25:45

I think I agree with life et al.

You agreed to her letting you know before midday, but then made arrangements anyway. I can see her side and yours (obviously midday the same day was too late).

What will you achieve by refusing to pay though? She won't give you a heads up next time! She'll wait until she knows for certain.

WhoNickedMyName Sat 30-Nov-13 15:29:04


BUT if she's a great childminder, your children are settled, they've been there for a while and she's never done this before then I'd let this occasion slide, but make it clear that in future 3 hours notice that she's available isn't acceptable and this won't be happening again.

thebody Sat 30-Nov-13 15:40:56

hi op, ex cm here. no I wouldn't work like this purely because good business is keeping the parents happy and recommending your business to others.

however technically you do owe her as she explained when she would he definatly letting you know and she did this.

still can understand you are miffed and I think she is being short sighted and silly to do this for just a few hours pay.

CoffeeTea103 Sat 30-Nov-13 15:41:25

Yanbu, the conditions of the contract are benefitting one party only. You should not pay.

ThanSheSaid Sat 30-Nov-13 16:04:24

YANBU I think it was all a little unclear but I still think she should not ask you to pay.

Jelly15 Sat 30-Nov-13 17:58:35

I am a CM and I would not expect to be paid if you had to make alternative arrangements because I had told you there was a chance I would be unavailable.

Madmammy83 Sat 30-Nov-13 18:17:23

I would give her a call and explain that you are not happy with the situation, and that your own time off has been affected. I would tell her that on this occasion she will be paid, but for future reference, she will need to let you know in the initial phone call whether she is definitely available or not.

madwomanintheatt1c Sat 30-Nov-13 18:21:35

She said she would let you know by noon. She let you know at 11am.

She did exactly what she said she would.

Maybe if you had said the night before 'actually, I need to know now, so that I can make other arrangements first thing' it would have been clearer to both of you.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sat 30-Nov-13 18:47:02

I'd tell her I'd be happy to pay if she'd be happy to reimburse the lost hours at work (due to her maybe/maybe not approach to availability).

She has to be trying it on.

mumofweeboys Sat 30-Nov-13 18:48:59

You shouldn't have to pay but unfortunately you did agree that she could inform you before midday. This time I would pay up but explain that next time you will need a days notice, to allow you to arrange alternative care as in this occasion you have had to use annual leave that was intended for something else.

fairylightsintheautumn Sat 30-Nov-13 18:53:24

I think you either shouldn't pay, OR if you are otherwise happy with her and don't want to rock the boat have her take your DD and take the time for yourself. We are teachers and have to pay for some (not all) of our regular CM hours in the holidays, so we use them for DIY, shopping, cinema trips etc, stuff that is MUCH easier without the DCs. That way you make the most of your holiday time.

Morloth Sat 30-Nov-13 19:29:05

I would respond to that text with 'in that case please collect the kids as usual'.

Next time don't agree to such short notice.

Thurlow Sat 30-Nov-13 19:44:48

Difficult one. I would have made other arrangements in that situation too, but the CM did tell you before the cut off date.

If you like the CM and don't want to sour the relationship I would be tempted to suck this one up but have a friendly conversation about how you lose money taking time off, and so next time it will need to be a yes/no the night before. She might not have realised it would cost you money to take time off.

RandomMess Sat 30-Nov-13 19:48:21

I think she covered herself by telling you she would confirm at midday. I would suck it up this time but discuss a different strategy with her for next time.

Good childcare is difficult to find and around here you are expected to pay if your CM is sick!

IThoughtThat Mon 02-Dec-13 23:20:26

Any update OP?

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