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Can a nursery charge when they are not open??

(31 Posts)
STACEYANDKAY Sun 02-Jan-11 15:38:22

Hi,

I have recently been having a dispute with my daughters nursery. This has been about the Early Years funding as they are trying to give me back the fees that the local authority pay, as opposed to the actual hourly fee the nursery charge.

I know this is wrong as I have the Early Years Funding guidelines. So whilst challenging them, I said I am only going to pay the amount I should and calculated their hourly fee of £865 per month divided by 49 weeks of the year (they close for 3) etc etc.

Last year when I asked them how they can charge when they are closed and I was told that they dont, they calculate and annual figure and divide it by 12, so that we pay the same each month, but they dont technically charge for those weeks.

Now however, they have changed their minds and say 'well, the staff have to be paid too'.

I'm sure there will be a law that stipulates that a company cannot charge for a service they are not providing?

Someone please help, I go back on Tue and really need to have a convincing argument. I refuse to pay £865 a month, when I know I shouldnt be!

Thanks

classydiva Sun 02-Jan-11 15:40:30

It would depend what is in your contract with them, some charge some do not.

If they do not then you only pay for the time you use.

ILoveItWhenYouCallMeBoo Sun 02-Jan-11 15:41:47

try posting this in the childminder/nursery section.

but i think i understand what they are doing. they dont charge for those 3 weeks but they work out the total and divide by 12. it's so tehre is no break in wages for staff and they don't have to alter their own bill payments on teh months they are only open 3 weeks.

my last nursery did this.

fluffygal Sun 02-Jan-11 15:55:35

My nursery do this, so we pay the same amount every month and I was told this when mine started there. Was you not told when she started? Its very common to do this in the nurseries in my area. I don't have a problem with it. Check the paperwork you got when she started, I presume it will say in there?

STACEYANDKAY Sun 02-Jan-11 16:03:51

Yea thats what they said they were doing when I questioned them last year. But now they are saying that they do actually charge for those 3 weeks, it seems ridiculous to me!

STACEYANDKAY Sun 02-Jan-11 16:11:57

No, I wasnt ever told it, thats why Christmas last year I asked them about it. They told me about the even amount monthly from their annual figure, in which they do not charge for the three weeks which was fine.

Now what they do is reimburse the Early Years Funding on a termly basis, rather than minusing it from the monthly invoice. I have the guidelines for this which state that this is unacceptable, and they should not be charging me upfront for this, and that the 15 hours a week should be deducted from what they charge per hour, not what the local authority pay per hour.

So when working this hourly charge out, I worked it out on a 49 week per year basis but they said no, on a 52 week basis because we still need to pay our staff.

It seems that they change their mind to suit their own financial situation.

FakePlasticTrees Sun 02-Jan-11 16:15:42

Do they state their daily rate? Our nursery also says they allow for the 2 weeks they aren't open in their monthly rate (so you are charged the same each month) also allowing for 5 week months etc so you pay the same every month, except for your first month which is worked out on just the sessions you use.

If they do, take the daily rate, times that by the days a week your DD goes, times that by 49 weeks (if they are shut for 3 weeks) divide by 12, if that comes out at £865, then you have already had your discount for the shut time, if not, then you should have it reduced.

TattyDevine Sun 02-Jan-11 16:19:06

I think its more likely that they are just not explaining it well or were misinformed before when they explained it to you.

They are allowed to charge you a monthly fee that is basically your usual days and hours made into a monthly fee, even if on certain months or days they are closed (bank holidays, Christmas etc)

It is annoying - I paid the same for December as I did November, even though there have been 2 Thursdays my daughter hasn't gone this month (she goes one day a week) - one was because I was away, one was because they were closed.

But it is all averaged out, and they are allowed to do this, even though it is "bad marketing"

MumInBeds Sun 02-Jan-11 16:24:47

A lot of nurseries have been doing that, they aren't allowed to (any more?) so more and more are pulling out of the government scheme as it just doesn't cover costs. The government are all big on saying they provide this wonderful 15 hours but they don't actually fund it properly.

MumNWLondon Sun 02-Jan-11 16:29:35

i think you'll find that they charge an annual amount which takes into account the total number of days they are open over the course of a year and then divide this by 12.

I made a fuss that this was fine if you attended full time, but unfair if you used the nursery on a monday since lots of bank holidays. they agreed that i could get days in lieu provided they had spaces for the bank holidays but they wouldn't give me any money back.

it means that you pay the same each month but it evens out eg october, july should cost the most since no bank holidays and 31 days and december should be cheaper due to bank holidays etc.

MumNWLondon Sun 02-Jan-11 17:16:36

to calculate what monthly should be, take daily rate, count up number of days nursery open over the course of a year and divide by 12.

LoveBeingADaddysGirl Sun 02-Jan-11 17:21:21

Mine does not charge when they are nit open but I know many others do.

Pantofino Sun 02-Jan-11 17:23:26

I had to pay for 49 weeks of the year and they only infact closed for Xmas. They assumed that everyone would take 2 weeks holiday at some point. If you took more holiday than that, you still paid.

LIZS Sun 02-Jan-11 17:33:14

I think you will find a lot of nurseries charge for 12 months equally and reimburse the EY funding termly (or offset against next invoice). Not sure which guideines can dictate otherwise as each LA operates indepemdelty in how they administer it and in some areas the amount a nursery charge p/hr may well exceed the LA maximum. If you look at it differently you could say they charge 12* 4weeks and you get an extra week.

GoldFrakkincenseAndMyrrh Sun 02-Jan-11 18:28:10

Many nurseries do offer 12 x fixed rate which is worked out as daily/weekly charge x 49 (rather than 52) / 12 so they're not charging even though it seems they are.

The EY funding I have no idea about - I'm confused just reading the guidelines!

katiestar Sun 02-Jan-11 19:33:25

But the EY funding is paid to the setting per session per term.If you leave part way through the term the money doesn't transfer to your new setting and certainly not to you!!

5ofus Sun 02-Jan-11 19:47:26

I have never used a private nursery but I do know that Early Years Funding should transfer with the child if you leave the nursery to go to another registered setting. It shouldn't be transferred to parents.

katiestar Sun 02-Jan-11 19:50:30

Maybe it's different in different LEAs, in our LEA we have a 'census day' and any new starters/leavers are treated as ' knock for knock' with no adjustments until next term.

STACEYANDKAY Sun 02-Jan-11 21:16:58

The EY funding is paid to the nursery termly. However the nursery should be invoicing the parent weekly/monthly the cost less the 15 hours per week for the next month.

Reimbursements should not even be mentioned nor acknowledged. No monies should be paid for those 15 hours p.wk.

My nursery is just taking the mick by reimbursing us the money paid to them by the local authority (They pay less that what the nursery charge p.hr).

I have the Code of Practice for ALL Local Authorities (the rules and guidelines are the same for all LAs) as sent to me by a person working for the Department For Education.

The nursery charges £55 per day, and say that its cheaper the more you use, i.e. £865 per month is less than paying £55 per day for a 5 day week. So still rather confused!! Thanks for all replies

cumfy Sun 02-Jan-11 23:59:40

So is the basic disagreement over what the hourly rate works out at ?

Or is it more complex than that ?

adelvice Mon 03-Jan-11 00:13:34

My nursery add up all of the days that you'll be there, take off bank holidays, Christmas etc and then divide it by 12 so that every month you pay the same amount.

It sounds like your nursery do something similar and then the person who's explained it to you does not know what they are talking about.

They probably thought that you were saying that you wanted to pay a weekly amount for 49 weeks of the year and then when they are closed, just not pay them those weeks. They've probably lumped it all together and then given you an average figure to pay per month.

If my nursery were not so efficient, I'd be asking for a written calculation saying:

* Total for 52 weeks with your normal nursery hours
* Number of days taken off when they are closed/bank holidays
* £ value for these days to minus
* Number of term weeks that you get the 15 hours taken off
* £ value for 15 hours
* Total £ for the year
* Average £ that you should be paying each month
* AGREE with them that that is the amount that you will be paying from now on/are already paying

Ask for an appointment, make them take you through the cost system to get the answers that you need step by step - take/make notes if that would help

Refer to your T&Cs that they will have supplied you with when you registered - or, phone them up posing as a mum wanting to put your child in the nursery and ask about the 3 weeks "as a friend of yours told you that they charge for it"....?

HTH, nursery is so expensive at the best of times, though I do not believe that they are charging you for 3 weeks when they are not open.

STACEYANDKAY Mon 03-Jan-11 00:14:10

Yea pretty much. Because they're saying that they charge for 52 weeks a year, so that their hourly figure is less than what I make it, on a 49 week p.yr. Also that they are attempting to reimburse me the Early Years funding termly, rather than minusing it from the invoice monthly. To no suprise this reimbursement is at the price of what the LA pay them, not the nursery's hourly rate (so therefore saying i'm entitled to less allowance than im supposed to be getting!

I know the law stipulates that any contract must have a benefit and a detriment- so them trying to say that they charge for those 3 weeks that they are not open, is all of benefit in their case with no detriment, deeming the contract void, but I would like to know if anyone has any more information for me

STACEYANDKAY Mon 03-Jan-11 00:20:54

Thanks Adelvice.

When questioning them about this last Christmas (Niavely I expected the invoice to be less, so questione them when it wasnt) thats exactly what they said- they charge weekly by 49 then divide by 12, so equal invoice amounts, meant less confusion.

However when I was trying to calculate their hourly figure to work out my 15hrs entitlement.. (I was doing this in front of the manager) when I divided this by 49, she said to me "no, it's by 52" then I said "but I thought you only charge for 49 weeks of the year blah blah" then she said "No, we charge for 52 weeks of the year. Even when we are closed the staff still have to be paid".

So i'm really not confused, and know what they are saying. It was also the manager explaining this to me, who has been in the post for 9 years, so it wasnt as though I was speaking to a junior.

Thats what i'm saying, its totally wrong.

STACEYANDKAY Mon 03-Jan-11 00:23:47

But you are exactly right, I will be demanding a calculation. Im just in a bit of a pickle, coz they have invoices me £865, but I know It should be £865- The Early Years entitlement.

I do not under any circumstance pay the full £865, but need to pau something in case they kick her out- but not sure what I should be paying!

PenguinArmy Mon 03-Jan-11 02:44:10

I'm confused, why can't you just work out what you think you should legally be paying?

Then take this in and talk with them, stating what they're trying to do is against guidelines.

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