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am I being unreasonable?... using childminders while working shifts.

(24 Posts)
louisejane101 Sun 24-Jan-16 20:05:36

Basically my childminder wants me to pay for 20 hours at £5 an hour to cover any shifts that may fall into the 20 hours. (She is also my friend so this is new for her as well from what i understand)

She states this is because this is the maximum amount of hours that I could use throughout the week and I need to pay that much to save his space and because she's flexible to include weekends as well.

While I understand that childminders need a certain amount of hours paid for regardless of if they are used or not is it not the minimum? so three days instead of 5. This month it comes to £220 for the amount I've used which is no where near the £400 she is suggesting (if it was £320 I wouldn't mind so much). I feel a bit mugged off in a way because I've never used a childminder before so I don't know if this is the norm or not although she insists it is.

Am I being unreasonable to assume that it's unfair I pay so much a month based on the understanding that potentially some days I would just need her to pick my son up and it's highly unlikely that he would be at hers for 20 hours a week during term time?

this is the childminder hours next week: £35:00 5 hours 30 mins (extra £5 for after school activity pickup)

This doesn't seem to different to what the shifts would be normally so while i understand a certain amount of hours need to paid but paying 20 hours for around 5-10 hours seems a big jump. Am I wrong in thinking this?

BillSykesDog Sun 24-Jan-16 20:15:45

I think that's pretty much standard. For example my son goes to nursery but I am charged for the time he is there as my childminder cannot fill the space with another child during that time so she charges for keeping those hours free in order to continue to have a space available for my son because of restrictions on the number of children.

In your case a childminder is very unlikely to agree to keep 20 hours a week free for your son (meaning that she can't take another child during that period to make up the shortfall) but only be paid for 10 hours. If you want her to have those hours open to you, you will have to pay her. Otherwise she would be losing out significantly financially.

MillionToOneChances Sun 24-Jan-16 20:18:38

I'm a childminder. If somebody (A) wanted to book a slot so that I couldn't allow a different client to book it because some days A would be using it and some days they wouldn't, they would have to pay for all the slots they wanted to keep available to use. Otherwise I would earn much less which wouldn't be fair to me. I have lots of different regular part-time clients, so having a spot blocked but not paid for would be an issue.

That said, for a friend I would probably take the financial hit and let her just pay for hours used because I work well within my ratios, but maybe your friend can't afford to or simply doesn't think she should have to earn £180 less a month because of your shift patterns.

Notthisnotthat Sun 24-Jan-16 20:19:17

Sounds pretty standard to me. DH is a shiftworker and we still need to pay our nursery fees based on 3 full days, despite the possibility of DH being off in those days, but we need the place when he is working.

MillionToOneChances Sun 24-Jan-16 20:20:53

Would you accept a gift to the value of £180 from your friend every month? That's pretty much what holding a place but not charging for it would amount to.

JeanGenie23 Sun 24-Jan-16 20:22:38

Perhaps posting this on home childcare board will give you a more accurate representation of cm charges.

I am a cm. If I had some one come to me who only needed 5 hours a week sometimes and then up to 20 others, I would be doing one of two things, either politely turning you away or charging you for 20 hours a week.

She is charging you 20 hours so that she can guarantee you those hours, if she charged you for 5 she would well be within her rights to fill the remaining 15 hours and then what would you do when they weren't available?

It's tough finding shift work and childcare to match up. But no from what you have said she isn't BU, whether she is your friend or not, sorry!

AndNowItsSeven Sun 24-Jan-16 20:24:52

£100for 20 hours is a lot. That would cost approx £70 in a nursery, who incidentally would often not charge the hours you didn't work.

MillionToOneChances Sun 24-Jan-16 20:27:56

I had a client who only wanted 1.5 hours every night after school. Every other childminder in the area had turned her down, and I explained why.

I work 3.25 hours after school every day, and I can't let somebody pay for only 1.5 hours when I could easily fill the space with someone who'll pay for 3 hours. She and I agreed that she would pay for 3 hours (my minimum) and only use 1.5 hours, and she was very grateful to me for explaining why the others wouldn't give her a place. We became friends.

MillionToOneChances Sun 24-Jan-16 20:29:47

Andnow where do you live? Even our local after school club (not for profit) charges £5.25 an hour, though admittedly they don't charge if you're not there one day. Not sure of their position on shifts.

louisejane101 Sun 24-Jan-16 20:32:46

thanks for all your replies. I feel better knowing it's the norm as I've not done this before. I think I assumed he was part time because it is very unlikely that he will ever do 20 hours but I assume if the days are unknown it would be a full time position from a childminder point of view.

AndNowItsSeven Sun 24-Jan-16 21:54:08

NW our nursery is £33 8-6 shift work is ok as long as arranged when shifts are known.

missymayhemsmum Sun 24-Jan-16 22:02:38

Reasonably, there are a few options. One is you book and pay for all the hours you want her to reserve for your son. And then try to fill them with work so you are not out of pocket

Or you give her your shift pattern with as much notice as possible, and she tells you which shifts she can have your son for, ie that are not already full with other children. Which then only works if you have backup childcare.

Or you could compromise on some kind of retainer for the extra hours maybe, and she is free to fill them if you don't want them, but you get first dibs.

But no, she is not being u

Strangertides1 Sun 24-Jan-16 22:05:26

I've never used a cm so this is a bit confusing to me really but, if you are paying her to basically keep certain hours free every week why don't you just use up these hours every week, even those you might not be working shift. It would keep your dc in a routine and give you some 'me' time.

donajimena Sun 24-Jan-16 22:10:26

I'd certainly use them if I was paying for them.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 24-Jan-16 22:28:49

totally the norm

you may use the hours one week but not the next but if she didnt keep the space free for your son what would you do

you either pay basic hours and hope she has space for you when you need more BUT if she doesnt then tough

or you pay the full 20hrs

RumBabaPudding Sun 24-Jan-16 23:00:26

Use the spare hours. Leave your DC with the CM and do your shopping, go to the gym. Do some batch cooking at home, in peace, whilst he is having fun and being entertained. Just don't waste the hours if you don't have to if you are paying for them.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 24-Jan-16 23:06:02

I work shifts and pay for 20 hours a week even if sometimes I only need her 10 hours. In those situations I still send him there for his remaining 10 hours even though I'm not at work simply because I'm paying for the hours anyway and having 10 hours to myself is heavenly!!!!

GreatFuckability Sun 24-Jan-16 23:11:06

I pay my childminder for 5 days before and after school for all 3 kids. i never actually use all 5 days and my eldest rarely goes to her at all, but i pay it so that if i needed them too they COULD go. just how it works.

Noodledoodledoo Sun 24-Jan-16 23:27:45

£100 for 20 hours sounds reasonable to me. We pay £55 for 8-6 for over 2yr olds. We are in the pricey part of the country.

MillionToOneChances Sun 24-Jan-16 23:47:16

Funnily enough, some parents who need childcare 5 days a week would prefer to collect their children after 1.5 hours if they're free, or fetch their kids from school if they can hmm. They might get chores out of the way that the kids wouldn't enjoy, but people using every minute of childcare just because they paid for it might be losing sight of the most important element.

PennyHasNoSurname Sun 24-Jan-16 23:50:41

I work shifts, and my CM and I have agreed a fixed price (I only need term time care and some weeks I need 30hrs, other weeks I need 16). Essentially she has to keep a full time place open for me, so I have to pay for it.

LumpySpaceCow Mon 25-Jan-16 07:16:59

I think I'm probably in the minority but my DD has a flexible place (any 2 days mon-fri, I just tell them the week before) and I just pay for the 2 days even though they keep all 5 days free for her. I'm also a shift worker. Think they have more flexibility as there are 2 of them (husband and wife) and one of their main advertisements is their flexibility.

JeanGenie23 Mon 25-Jan-16 08:18:56

Wow lumpy- I would be interested to see how they make it work financially! I'm in a busy London borough but even I wouldn't risk that! You are exceptionally lucky to have found that set up smile

FishWithABicycle Mon 25-Jan-16 08:34:40

If the 20 hours maximum could be any time any day of the week then yes you are effectively having a full time 40hour place reserved and your friend is kindly allowing you to pay half price for it at only 20 hours per week.

In this situation I would use the 20 hours or as close to it as you can by doing something else with the spare hours that you are paying for anyway. Will your work let you sign up for extra shifts if your standard assigned shifts in a particular week only require 10 hours of childcare? Could you take on another job which can be done flexibly in hours that you choose (I know these are gold dust but they do exist) or could you use the hours productively at home with chores that aren't easy to do with a child in the house? Or sign up for an open university course and spend your spare hours improving your employability for the future?

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