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Childminder going on maternity leave.........

(68 Posts)
CJMommy Mon 21-Jan-13 22:23:34

Looking for some advice and thoughts. (Go easy......never posted on AIBU before! grin)

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?

greenbananas Wed 23-Jan-13 09:15:39

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).

PureQuintessence Wed 23-Jan-13 09:22:33

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.

IDontDoIroning Wed 23-Jan-13 09:48:44

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.

PureQuintessence Wed 23-Jan-13 10:01:31

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.

DontmindifIdo Wed 23-Jan-13 10:43:31

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.

Ionasky Wed 23-Jan-13 11:01:39

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.

Permanentlyexhausted Wed 23-Jan-13 11:07:55

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.

Permanentlyexhausted Wed 23-Jan-13 11:09:51

Oops - just realised I only read as far as the end of the first page, so my comments may be completely meaningless!

Chunderella Wed 23-Jan-13 13:23:26

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.

Astley Wed 23-Jan-13 13:51:28

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.

moogy1a Wed 23-Jan-13 14:38:09

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

CJMommy Sat 26-Jan-13 10:14:55

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 sad

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 smile

CJMommy Sat 26-Jan-13 10:17:53

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.

DontmindifIdo Sat 26-Jan-13 10:44:57

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.

DontmindifIdo Sat 26-Jan-13 10:46:13

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.

Ionasky Sat 26-Jan-13 12:51:32

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.

SamSmalaidh Sat 26-Jan-13 12:58:29

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.

DontmindifIdo Sat 26-Jan-13 18:52:32

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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