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To be annoyed at nursery charging for days when they're closed?

(35 Posts)
BlueJayBear Wed 22-Jun-16 12:11:37

My son's been at his nursery for over two years. He goes full-time (yes I know, but needs must), and is incredibly happy there.

I've just received an email to say that they're introducing a new system of payment - Direct Debit - to avoid issues with their accountancy software, and will work up some sport of formula to make it a consistent rate every month (due to the number of days in each month varying, the bill can change by £100 or more month to month).

In order to do this, they will now start charging for Bank Holidays. When they're closed. Which to my mind, equates to over £300 a year.

AIBU to think this is pretty unfair to suddenly introduce this charge now? To my knowledge, they've always paid the staff for bank holidays regardless, so it's not like it's to cover staff costs.

They're saying that they won't add an inflationary rise to the fees this year to mitigate the inevitable rise, but still...?

Sukistjames Wed 22-Jun-16 12:16:38

I very nearly started a thread about this topic over May bank holiday when I realised my daughter's nursery charge for bank holidays.
In our situation though, this isn't new and it does state that they do this in their prospectus.
I'm not sure whether to raise this issue with them or not. I don't want to rock the boat iykwim.
Sorry, nothing helpful to add but would welcome advice!

LottieDoubtie Wed 22-Jun-16 12:18:39

It's annoying- BUT pretty much standard. You're lucky you haven't had to pay so far tbh!

Pseudonym99 Wed 22-Jun-16 12:27:19

It is normal to include bank holidays in the fees. However, if your nursery hasn't so far, then I would refuse and tell them you will be continuing to pay as originally agreed when you signed the original contract.

PeterRabbitt Wed 22-Jun-16 12:27:20

My DS was at two different nurseries at the same time due to my strange working hours. When I went back on maternity leave we decided he only needed nursery as a fun setting so we reduced hours and changed days to be more convenient.
Nursery 1 stated straight away that the bank holiday Monday's coming up would be charged at normal rate.
Nursery 2 told us they only ever charged for days actually in nursery.
Both family run small village style settings. We obviously went for nursery 2 as financially we are about £400 better off each year because of it.

Separately when we have notice at nursery 1 the owner got very snotty with us and said no one in the industry wouldn't charge for BH days. Very awkward last month there.

Oysterbabe Wed 22-Jun-16 12:28:46

Pretty much all nurseries do this already so I guess you've been lucky up to now.

whois Wed 22-Jun-16 12:29:17

Thats redic! How can they charge when they aren't providing the service?

Pico2 Wed 22-Jun-16 12:32:27

The issue is really about how they make the change. If you are currently charged per day, then they should really just work out the number of days they are open in a year X day rate / 12 months in a year. That way you pay the same but the income is evenly spread.

LouBlue1507 Wed 22-Jun-16 12:32:54

Pseudonym99 I disagree.

The nursery are changing their term of business and giving notice in advance. (It should be at least 28 days notice).

OP has two choices...

A) Accept the new changes.

B) Give the nursery notice and send child elsewhere.

You can not dictate how much you pay a nursery.

ClopySow Wed 22-Jun-16 12:35:31

They charge for bank holidays because they have to pay their staff for bank holidays. They have to recoup those costs somehow. So either they up their daily rate without charging for bank holidays or they just charge for bank holidays.

I'm not saying it's fair, it's just how it is.

WreckingBallsInsideMyHead Wed 22-Jun-16 12:36:39

You can't refuse to pay. The change will be in line with the terms and conditions you agreed to which will state that the nursery can change the terms with X amount of notice

Either suck it up and pay or find a different nurser

Gazelda Wed 22-Jun-16 12:37:30

whols would you expect an employer to pay you for bank holidays, even though you don't go in to work?
I appreciate many businesses need staff to work BH, but that is usually accepted and expected when you join the company.

OurBlanche Wed 22-Jun-16 12:42:24

Oddly every business that employs people has to pay for Bank Holidays - every employer in the country .

It is not unusual for BHs to be included in charges for service providers. I imagine the nursery has always covered BHs but with the new breakdown you are now noticing it, specifically. Or they have realised they have made an error previously...

BlueJayBear Wed 22-Jun-16 12:45:33

They've always paid staff for bank holidays out of the fees - even without bank holiday charges. If that was given as a reason, I'd be much less annoyed.

It's just the sudden change that irritates me - as Pico mentions, that's exactly how they should be charging. 300odd less 8 less other shut down days/12.

Nursery fees are already a second mortgage (in fact, the monthly fees are double our mortgage) - and you can only get 4 weeks a year at half-price if you give 8 weeks notice each time (so of course I've always had to pay full whack all year even when he's not in).

I can't change nursery now - there's no way I'll be able to find a place for September, and it would be enormously damaging to my son to move him away from the carers he's known since he was 8 months old.

Oh and plot twist - I don't think we'll see any or much of the free 15 hours either when he turns 3. It's funny the things you're forced to accept when you become a parent.

CatsRule Wed 22-Jun-16 12:47:00

Our nursery do charge for bank holidays but they charge half the rate. I can see where they are coming from and they do have staff costs and overheads to cover when the nursery is closed. I get bank holidays off/paid for in my job, why shouldn't they. And, ds loves it and gets treated very well. The staff all seem happy too which makes such a big difference to the children. Not that having bank holidays off/paid alone makes staff happy at work but it contributes to a good working environment with good conditions.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 22-Jun-16 12:47:26

It wouldn't be hard to do fairly. Just have a lower Monday rate to take into account not being open as many Mondays as the rest of the week. Problem is to cover this you'd then need to up the rates slightly for the other days. Given how competitive nursery rates often are this could be a problem, and they could lose business. (And it would make it more of a pain to invoice and keep track of).

So they do like everyone else does. Really it means that the parents with kids in on Mondays are subsidising the others, but it's understandable why nursery's don't want to do it differently.

SaveSomeSpendSome Wed 22-Jun-16 12:48:45

The nursery dd is at doesnt charge for bank holidays or the week that they close at christmas.

Every other nursery in the area does charge. However the nursery we are at is around £6 a day more expensive so they have hidden the bank hoilday and christmas charge in with their normal fees.

DinosaursRoar Wed 22-Jun-16 12:50:43

Are you sure they are charging for bank holidays? My DC's old nursery used to charge for 50 weeks divided by 12 (to cover bank holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year they shut).

Otherwise, check your contract, if you are charged for Bank holidays, there's not much you can do about it, other nurseries don't charge for bank holiday, but IME they charge higher daily rates to allow for it.

It does tend to be a competitive market, so most full time childcare in the same town won't be massively different once you factor these things in.

NeedMoreSleepOrSugar Wed 22-Jun-16 12:50:47

Our nursery charges for all their closure days, including a fortnight at Christmas, another in summer, a week at easter. .. All in the contract though. If they are changing the pricing structure they should be providing a new contract.

whois Wed 22-Jun-16 12:53:17

whols would you expect an employer to pay you for bank holidays, even though you don't go in to work?

That's not at all the same and you know it. Its not a cost you can directly pass onto customers. I do not bill my clients for BH holidays.

Clients are billed by the hour. That hourly rate is set to achieve an appropriate profit margin so as to cover staff sickness, BH, etc.

if you directly bill for BH you massively hit the people who use nursery Monday-Wednesday and don't hit at all the ones who use it Tue-Fri.

Hugely unfair.

The hourly rate or daily rate should be set at an appropriate level to ensure a profit margin after all expenses such as BH.

You can't add on extra to a clients bill 'because Tracy was sick so we had to use expensive agency staff the day you were in'

mummyla Wed 22-Jun-16 12:54:57

Our nursery is closed for 2 weeks at Christmas and takes 4 bank holidays a year, our fees are daily rate X days at nursery X 50 \ 12 monthly payment so each payment per month is the same! I had never thought about paying for the bank holidays, but I am guessing it's standard practiced

DinosaursRoar Wed 22-Jun-16 12:58:48

oh and paying full price when you are not sending is normal - they have to provide the staff, and 8 weeks notice so they can alter staffing is very good! (Do you not normally book holiday a few months in advance?) It is unlikely many other childcare providers will offer anything better. Most will have you paying full price for every day they have a place available, even if you don't use it, regardless of how much notice you give them.

My DCs old nursery also just averaged the 15 hours over the year rather than having a very low bill in term time (they can only claim the 15 hours a week during school term times) then big bills in school holidays. This did mean that bill didn't fall by as much each month as I thought it would, but at least we could plan.

Having standard monthly bills all year round is considered good for most families, it's a lot harder when you have to remember to save money for school holiday care costs.

BlueJayBear Wed 22-Jun-16 13:25:48

Since returning from mat leave I've always hoarded my annual leave to cover for nursery sick days so we don't tend to have proper holidays. When we have been away, we've either never been for a whole week or have booked it too late to take advantage.

Not complaining at all about the half-price weeks - i know they're good, but we just haven't been able to take advantage.

I think they may well do the splitting over a year thing when it comes to the 15 free hours, so it might be we nearly get a day a week over the course of a year. The question will be if we then lose the full-time discount (so only see the equivalent of 5 or 6 hours a week back).

I genuinely don't know how that will work, so have also asked about that.

Nurseries, eh? grin

WaitrosePigeon Wed 22-Jun-16 14:22:21

They charge because they have to pay their staff bank holidays. They could scrap it I suppose if you're happy to loose your bank holiday pay also?

BlueJayBear Wed 22-Jun-16 14:28:19

Waitrose they've always paid their staff bank holidays. If that was the reason, I wouldn't think twice about it (although i'd worry about the staff getting fleeced previously).

The new charge has been pitched as being 'more convenient' when they bring in a direct debit payment system. That's why it's annoying.

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