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To have asked for £160 from a single mum on income support

(515 Posts)
lucindia Fri 03-Mar-17 19:54:41

I'm a childminder. I looked after a child for a single mum on income support. She was doing the 15 hours free hours. She phoned to tell me she would be sending her daughter to the local school in 4 weeks time.

So I contacted the funding department to explain that I would no longer be having the child and the date that would start.

They got back to me and said they would only be able to pay the first week of the notice period and the rest would have to be paid for by the parent.

Even though the mum had given me a months notice, I didn't actually have her child at all during that month. The day she text to say she would be going to school in a months time, was the day she stopped coming to me as the Mum was visiting family for a month.

But I was still entitled to be paid for that month. It was also a compulsory notice period.

So I sent a very polite message to the Mum explaining that she would have a balance of £160 to pay as the funding department could only pay 1 weeks notice.

She said that was fine but would need to wait until her income support payment came in the next day and would then send me that. She would send the £60 the following week from her child tax credit.

I thought nothing of it.

I mentioned it in passing to my mother in law (who I get on very well with) and she said she couldn't believe I made her pay £160 when I never even looked after her child for that notice period month and that seeing as my husband and I have a joint income of 40k we could have easily afford to let her off with the £160 which was a lot for a single mum on income support.

I never considered I was doing anything wrong. I'm entitled to be paid for that month and there's a notice period for a reason.

I really like the girls mum and we always had a great relationship when her daughter was with me. She's been with me from before she was 1 as her mum was finishing university.

What do you think. Was I unreasonable to ask for the money?

She's on benefits but qualified in a professional job and job hunting. So does have options.

Happyandhungry Fri 03-Mar-17 19:56:24

No its business you're not her mate/relative doing her a favour which is why she reasonably didnt argue when you asked to be paid. YANBU

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Fri 03-Mar-17 19:57:11

Maybe accept half the money?
Not saying you are right or wrong to take the whole amount but maybe it would sit better with you now it's been brought to your attention by others?

Mumzypopz Fri 03-Mar-17 19:57:24

Not at all. She owed you that money, presume it was in your contract with her.

Not unreasonable to stick to your contract at all. If you start making exceptions for one situation you'll find yourself making them for all sorts. The contract is the contract.

lucindia Fri 03-Mar-17 19:57:33

Thanks happyandhungry. There were three times I didn't charge her when I kept her daughter longer than the set hours when there was an emergency.

I do do favours for the parents sometimes. If there's an emergency and there late I don't charge. But this was a whole months pay.

Trills Fri 03-Mar-17 19:57:38

YANBU to stick to the terms of your contract.

You require a month's notice. Your customer knew that (and is not complaining).

The circumstances of your customer are not relevant.

Mrsknackered Fri 03-Mar-17 19:58:24

I wouldn't have done it myself. But I don't think you were U. It's life.

Frarling Fri 03-Mar-17 19:59:55

It's a hard one. You haven't done anything wrong, but given the circumstances out of goodwill I would have offered a discount.

iamapixiebutnotaniceone Fri 03-Mar-17 19:59:57

There's no sentiment in business. There was a standard notice period and the mum obviously understood this would need to be paid one way or another otherwise I expect she would have said something.

DuggeeHugs Fri 03-Mar-17 20:00:43

You are involved in a contract, not a favour-based situation. YANBU to follow through as you would in any other contract situation

lucindia Fri 03-Mar-17 20:01:42

She's already paid it. I just wondered if it was mean to ask.

CuppaSarah Fri 03-Mar-17 20:01:56

I can see both sides. But you are a business, not a charity. If you wanted to give her charity and let her off of course you could. But that's your choice and you are in no way obliged, morally or any other way to let her off it. Mil may have chosen to let her off in your position, but that is her decision and has no baring on you. It's not like you could have another child during her session at that time, so you lost out too. You have no reason to feel guilty.

harderandharder2breathe Fri 03-Mar-17 20:01:59

Yanbu

Her financial situation is nothing to do with you. She knew your charges and your terms. It's not your fault that her mum is having the dc during the notice period. If she knew this would happen she should've given notice a month ago so her last month with you would be the notice period

AndNowItsSeven Fri 03-Mar-17 20:02:21

Yes yabu , sometimes in the life you just do the right thing.

Tootsiepops Fri 03-Mar-17 20:02:27

YANBU, but I couldn't have taken that money from her.

Jamhandprints Fri 03-Mar-17 20:05:10

It's business so you didnt exploit her or anything but I think it's sad you made her pay if you don't need the money. Imagine what she and her dc may have sacrificed to get you your money. Heating, food?

MamaHanji Fri 03-Mar-17 20:07:10

No way were you mean to ask. It's your job and money you are entitled to. I was expecting the thread to be that she wouldn't pay, so I'm pleased that it isn't that. But no. Not unreasonable to ask for money owed.

RedHelenB Fri 03-Mar-17 20:07:19

Yabu to be part of the free15 hours childcare scheme if you then charge that person the notice period when you didn't have the child. Best to do it just as a private arrangement imo.

Patriciathestripper1 Fri 03-Mar-17 20:07:57

I would have given her half off but you have done nothing wrong.
Things are hard when you are a single mum. In the spirit of good karma I would do her a good turn.
Plus it will do loads for your good reputation.

lucindia Fri 03-Mar-17 20:08:59

Private nurseries charge a notice period fee for the 15 hours too if the funding can only cover a certain amount.

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 03-Mar-17 20:09:53

If I had got another child to fill the slot then I wouldn't have charged. Otherwise......I don't know, maybe gone halves.

Summerisdone Fri 03-Mar-17 20:12:12

I'm a single parent earning a minimum wage so £160 would be a lot for me to find, however I would still expect to pay what was owed to you. In fact I did when I had to come out of work for a few months last year. I gave months notice to the nursery but I didn't require their services for the last 3 weeks, I still ensured I paid in full because they are running a business and that's exactly what you're doing also, so don't feel wrong for charging this woman as YANBU

wildpoppiesanddaisies Fri 03-Mar-17 20:12:21

It depends if there was another child filling the spot. I think you were being a bit - not unreasonable, but certainly very business minded, which is no bad thing I suppose.

Mrsknackered Fri 03-Mar-17 20:13:15

People will probably disagree with me but I think seeing as the amount is more than she gets fortnightly from IS, I would've either have asked for half or nothing.
I don't think it makes you mean and you are so within your right as people have said it's not your responsibility how much money she has or hasn't got, however that is a big amount of money for someone on benefits and it will probably affect them a fair bit. sad

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