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childminders being paid for school holidays - is this normal?

(47 Posts)
lisalisa Thu 15-Nov-12 00:16:44

I have used nannies a lot in the past but this is dc number 6 and we have no real need for a nanny anymore so have decided to use a local and fantastic childminder. Admittedly and rather shamefacedly I didn't really read the contract we signed ( childminder is a very close acquaintance) and had such a good reputation that we just signed.

We have already had a 10 day holiday ( that was for religious reasons - childminder same religion as us) and now half term is for 6 days . During those times we have paid her. We pay monthly so there is no deduction for holidays.

I don't begrudge this money as she does a fantastci job and well beyond what I imagine is provided elsewhere ( she has a long waiting list and is very well repsected in the local area). Its just that 16 days since starting in September is quite a lot and as I work I have had to pay for alternative childcare duing those days meaning that I have paid twice really.

I am self employed and if I don't work I don't get paid. I would have imagined that most self employed people would work the same way as me ( simply by virtue of being self employed).

Do all childminders work like this?

kdiddy Thu 15-Nov-12 00:24:16

Ours takes 4 weeks' paid hols a year, plus BH. Any other time she has off eg sickness, she doesn't charge for. If we choose not to use her any time then we still pay. Obviously we will try and coincide our holidays as much as possible so this doesn't happen.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 15-Nov-12 00:24:58

If childminder takes holiday, I don't pay.

If I take holiday and DS doesn't need childminder, I pay.

If you pay the same monthly amount, are you sure she hasn't averaged it across the year somehow to smooth payments? Read your contract!

lisalisa Thu 15-Nov-12 00:30:45

she might have done i suppose, yes. Trouble is I don't know where it is! Can I ask kdiddy what is the BH you refer to .
I do recall in her contract then she can have up to 5 days sickness in a row paid.
I just feel a bit of a deep swallow coming on when it gets to a 6 day half term adn I feel that one quarter of the paid month we can't use our childcare!

kdiddy Thu 15-Nov-12 00:31:32

Sorry it's bank holidays.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 15-Nov-12 01:08:38

You can ask her for a copy of the contract and I think you should.

sabine Thu 15-Nov-12 01:15:16

The arrangement i have with my childminder is that we average out the time she works, ie school holidays when she has dc for longer than during term time and she is paid 52 weeks a year. I would not like a job without paid annual leave so i would not expect her to do so. Also her expenses like insurance etc dont stop duri g holydays.

malovitt Thu 15-Nov-12 06:45:53

Childminders should not be paid for their holidays or their sickness days.
They are self employed. Other self employed people do not get paid for their holidays or their sickness days. Ludicrous.

ZuleikaD Thu 15-Nov-12 09:13:58

I charge half-rate for my holidays and half-rate for parents' holidays (we have ten days per year each). I certainly don't charge for sick days.

If her service is not available during school holidays then I wouldn't expect you to be paying for it. But I would also say that you should really have read her contract and queried all this before signing! If you've lost your copy then ask her for another so you can read the small print.

minderjinx Thu 15-Nov-12 12:03:22

There really isn't a normal set of terms and conditions - childminders and families agree terms which are acceptable to both. I know some get very heated about CMs charging for holiday, but in my view it is a red herring - what really matters is if you find the whole "package" affordable and good value for your own needs, and whether the care offered suits your own children. Some charge for holiday, some charge for meals or outings, some charge per day or per week, others per hour - to make comparisons you just need to be sure you understand the charging method and work out what it will cost you per year for the hours and services you need, and even then, cost is not the main consideration for most families.

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 15-Nov-12 12:11:45

I pay my CM termtime only because DH is a teacher and so covers the holidays. We have taken her annual pay and divided it by 12 and pay her monthly. I don't pay her sick pay.

Prior to this with DS1 (different CM) I paid for 48 weeks a year on the basis that my CM had 4 weeks unpaid holiday. I didn't pay sick pay for her either

please don't turn this into a child minder bashing thread....net huns have enough of those types of thread.

Parents sign contracts, they sign to say they agree with the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions are what the childminder decides on...its his/her business. They can do what they want....and if parents sign up then its their lookout.

Not every childminder is the same. Some charge for their hols, some don't. I don't charge for any of my time off....that's the way I work...lady down the road might work differently.

Lots of parents have a "budget contract" with me. They pay the same every month whether i am on hols etc. This is worked out as 52 weeks - my hols divided by 12. ....this is all put on an excel spreadsheet and i keep an eye on the running total and if the payment needs an increase i advise and if it needs a decrease i advise. I try and do it so a parent might have a reduction or like one parent not have to pay for a week or two just before Christmas.

At the end of the financial year it works out exactly right.

so....should OP pay for school hols? well OP if you signed the contract then yes you do....but it is your prerogative to go and find another CM with different terms and conditions. i also advise you get a copy of your contract ASAP....i would've thought that might be the first thing to do before coming on here and asking if you should pay.

i apologise...OP didnt question if she should pay.

BUT what gets my goat is the "childminders shouldnt be paid holiday pay etc" ....yes they are self employed but no one is making parents sign up.

No one makes them agree to the terms...

again....apologies...red mist and all that

green4lynn Thu 15-Nov-12 18:31:05

Hi, are you saying she doesn't work school holidays but still charges? Didn't quite understand as you mentioned half term! I charge half fee for parents time off but I don't charge for my holidays, bank holidays or sick days. If I'm not available to work then don't see how I can charge! Have had term time only contracts, and don't charge for school hols!

Lynn x

TiredBooyhoo Thu 15-Nov-12 18:38:02

childminders set their own terms. no-one is forced to sign the contracts. if you dont want to pay for a CMer to have a holdiay then dont sign a contract that says you will. CMers are self employed, but unlike most self employes people, they dont do a job for six weeks then move on to another client. they could care for the same child for 6 years. i certainly wouldn't want someone caring for my child that hasn't been able to afford a break in 6 years.

this is to malovitt.

minderjinx Thu 15-Nov-12 19:22:14

...or 14 years.

TiredBooyhoo Thu 15-Nov-12 19:38:28

exactly!

malovitt Fri 16-Nov-12 05:56:14

Trotting out the old 'if you don't like the contract, don't sign' again.
Sometimes there is no choice available so CM's have parents over a barrel. My friend lives in a smallish village and both childminders there have identical T&C's - 6 weeks paid holiday and five days paid cm sickness. How is that right? Potentially, with parents' three week holidays as well, they will be charged up to ten weeks in full when they have no service. Can't afford a holiday? Most parents these days can't afford a holiday either. Boo hoo. You can't pick and choose which bits of being self employed suit you.

HSMM Fri 16-Nov-12 07:40:37

Malovitt - yes, I see your point, but in my area we have a wide range of different care options, prices, etc and parents still do not always read their contracts before signing.

I get both parents (where possible) to sit down and go through the contract with me, so there can be no confusion.

TiredBooyhoo Fri 16-Nov-12 09:02:31

"Can't afford a holiday? Most parents these days can't afford a holiday "

who said holiday? i said a break. as in time off work, away from the children the care for all week long.

and no, CMers dont have parents over a barrel. they are trying to make a living like everyone else. it's unfortunate that some people live in places with few options but CMers should not be working for a loss to make up for that.

" You can't pick and choose which bits of being self employed suit you. "

er, yes you can.

RosieGirl Fri 16-Nov-12 09:25:24

Malovitt - Of course we are all holding customers over barrels, as we are all hard businesswomen just making as much money out of children as we can!!

I live in a very small rural area and I am held over barrel by my local garage and local plumbers and electricians because there aren't that many around here. Funny how I don't hear constant barraging on the media about how much these people charge for their services.

Those businesses charge over the odds to cover for their holidays, as a childminder I am very aware of the difficulty in doing this and have not put my fees up for 3 years, have never charged for my holidays, but after only taking 3 weeks holiday this year, watching every one of my parents have at least one holiday abroad, 3 of my families have had 2 holidays this year, and am bombarded how expensive we are, I am personally getting fed up and am myself on the cusp of starting to charge for 4 weeks holidays a year or putting up my hourly rate to allow for holidays.

TiredBooyhoo Fri 16-Nov-12 09:32:23

you should rosie.

i have used 3 different day nurseries and 2 childminders in my time as a parent. all 5 charged for their holidays. i expect to pay for the people who look after my child to get a break. i want them to be able to take a break. it wont benefit my child to be cared for by someone who is exhausted. i know how refreshed and eager to get back to work i have felt after even a few days off. nobody can deny how much difference it makes to have that break from normality for a few days or a week. everyone needs a break and when it's someone whose looking after children i think it's very important that they get it.

and if people dont want to be seen as charging for their holiday time then they'll just put their prices up to cover it so you'll be paying for it either way.

minderjinx Fri 16-Nov-12 09:32:44

Malovitt - regarding how is that right? Well it's neither right nor wrong imo, it's just business. The CMs charge what their local market will stand I guess. If they were raking in the cash, surely more local parents would want to be childminders and there would be more competition, or more parents would be travelling further afield, hiring nannies, or even choosing to look after their own children full time. The fact is that most families are willing to pay only a certain proportion of their second income for childcare, and that keeps childcarer incomes low. My point was that you cannot reasonably say a childminder is "wrong" to structure their fees as they see fit as long as they are open about it. Would it be okay, in your view, if they charged say an extra fiver a day, or an extra pound an hour, and no charge for days off? Surely one of the few benefits of being self-employed is that you can decide exactly what service you are willing to offer and on what terms, provided there is a market for it. I do offer term time only contracts incidentally, but that's my choice.

picturesinthefirelight Fri 16-Nov-12 09:36:13

It's normal to pay for any childcare over school holidays if they are open & available. Dh is a teacher but we still had to pay nursery over the summer holidays as they were open

I personally (being seld employed myself) would not sign a contract where I had to pay for a service that was not available but would fully accept my child's sickness/holidays had to he paid for.

MaryPoppinsBag Fri 16-Nov-12 09:52:59

I don't charge for school holidays, because I'd rather not work them.

I have 2 families who are term time only and 2 who need holiday care - however I will only work 3 days during the holidays.
And then one who is quite flexible.

I could've charged a retainer to my term time only families. But I really did feel like I'd get them over a barrel as I am one if 2 CM able to provide pick up at our school.

I do however, charge at the top end of the price range for the borough - because I have to make my money. And cover the fact I don't get the 20 days paid holiday afforded to most other working people.

CM is such an intrusive job and subject to rapid change and decline, it should be no surprise that people who do it want a decent reward for what they do.
Or do people think its money for old rope?

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