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If i pay childcare until 6.30pm, surely that means i can collect my child any time up until 6.30pm?

(213 Posts)
KettleAlwaysBoiling Fri 23-Feb-18 18:54:06

Just had a bit of a ticking off from the manager of my daughter's after school care! Feeling a bit confused and embarrassed.

I've recently switched before/after school childcare companies as I needed somewhere open until 6.30pm. I live quite rurally and this place advertises itself as being the only childcare in X open past 6pm.

I usually collect DD around 6pm but a few times over the past few weeks it has been 6.25pm.

She's a big girl near the end of primary school so there is no need for any 'catch up' such as you might expect with babies or young children. So i don't need to allow any time for this. There's no signing out or anything like that. It's simply - open the door, take coat/bag from the hook, shout cheerio. Pick up time takes no longer than two minutes maximum.

Tonight I collected DD at 6pm and the manager took me aside to discuss my collection times. She said she wanted to remind me that her staff finish at 6.30pm as that is all they are paid until. She said she has never had to consider introducing a 'late' fee before but might have to unless I'm more punctual. I double checked that their clock is the same time as my watch/phone clock. I told her that me and DD were always out the door by 6.30pm. She said that her staff report i didn't actually leave until 6.29pm the other night, and they ended up having to stay until 6.45pm to do all the last minute jobs they couldn't do while DD was there.

I said that I can't guarantee what time I'll get there each evening but can promise it will always be before 6.30pm. I reminded her that this is the reason i've put DD specifically into this childcare place - because i need care past 6pm.

The conversation ended rather awkwardly and she just said that all parents will be getting a letter next week about lateness/late fees.

Surely this is more of a managerial issue than a parent one? I pay for childcare up until 6.30pm. But staff are sometimes having to stay until 6.45pm to do the jobs needing done after all children have left. She needs to extend their hours i would think.

Any ideas what I can do, going forwards? I'm obviously going to be contesting any late fees added on to my bill since i'm always out of there by 6.30pm. I might also suggest they do introduce a sign out book so it's documented what time i've collected DD.

I really need this place to work out as i absolutely do need childcare past 6pm some nights. Also, DD seems to really love it!

overmydeadbody Fri 23-Feb-18 18:57:59

That just seems bonkers!!
I'm a child minder. I effort my parents to pick up at our before the time they have booked for. If they pay until 6pm then they don't need to pick their children up till 6pm. Anything else would be crazy!!

You need to speak to them and clarify that you pay them to look after your DD until 6:30.

Marcine Fri 23-Feb-18 18:59:01

I would email her to clarify so it is in writing - say you understood that you were contracted and paying for childcare until 6.30pm, but following your conversation childcare is now not available to 6.30pm. Ask what time childcare is available until and if there is a fee reduction due to the new opening hours.

NerNerNerNerBATMAN Fri 23-Feb-18 18:59:03

YANBU. How ridiculous. We pay for childcare until 6pm. There are a few occasions when DD has been picked up at 5:55-6. Not an issue at all. I'd only expect it to become an issue at 6:01pm

OddBoots Fri 23-Feb-18 18:59:29

On the face of it they are acting very badly.
What would they say if you asked by what time children need to be off site? If it takes them 15 minutes to clear away that would be a 6.15 closing time.

DalekDalekDalek Fri 23-Feb-18 18:59:30

Cheeky buggers - if you've paid until 6:30 then you should be allowed to stay until 6:30. They need to plan their staffing accordingly with shifts ending later to allow for any closing down procedure if necessary but that's not your responsibility. Fair enough if you are turning up at 6:35 but not if you are leaving before or at 6:30 each day.

WTFIsThisVirus Fri 23-Feb-18 19:02:50

I would expect that staff might need to stay to clear up or regardless of what time you pick up your DD. As you're paying for care up until 6:30, as long as you leave the premises by then, I don't see the problem. I think she is BU.

ourkidmolly Fri 23-Feb-18 19:03:15

Very weird. Unheard of in all my experience. That manager is delusional if she thinks her request appropriate or even rational!

MrsHathaway Fri 23-Feb-18 19:03:47

Yes, that's bad management. If she wants her staff to do 15 minutes' sorting out after the last child leaves, she needs to pay them for those fifteen minutes whether that's 6.15-6.30 or 6.30-6.45.

My children's keyworkers (etc) have tended to tidy up round them anyway, or get the children to tidy up with them. At DC3's nursery they'd consolidate children into one room so most of the staff would be free to clean and tidy, and so most of the rooms could be mopped.

AppleAndBlackberry Fri 23-Feb-18 19:05:40

Have you got a contract or handbook or anything?

Pengggwn Fri 23-Feb-18 19:05:48

Clearly they have the right to change their hours of work pertaining to your child, but that's what it would be: a change. You pay until 6.30, so if work needs to be done by staff after hours and they want to be gone by 6.30, they need to reduce your payment.

KettleAlwaysBoiling Fri 23-Feb-18 19:06:54

Thank you! The way she was talking made me feel as though I was in the wrong.

It's a really small place with no more than 10 kids at a time. Even at 6pm, my DD always seems to be the last one there. A few weeks ago, i picked her up at 6.10pm and we sat in the car park for a bit afterwards as she wanted to tell me this big animated story that i HAD to look at her for and wasn't allowed to drive. The staff shut everything off, took bins out, locked up and drove by us at 6.20pm.

So I think they're just getting a bit annoyed that they don't get to leave before 6.30pm on the days that i'm not there by 6.15pm.

Great idea about emailing to clarify what time childcare hours are, and what time children need to be collected by exactly. I just don't want to annoy anyone or cause an atmosphere. Apart from this issue, it's the perfect place for us.

FizzyGreenWater Fri 23-Feb-18 19:07:17

Errr NO.

You're paying til X.

If they want you out before X, so that their staff can do other things - you don't pay for that time.

If they're changing their contracted hours, you want proper notice.

If they seem confused by what provision of care they are able to charge parents for you would be happy to contact OFSTED and outline the situation and ask? (said with an innocent head tilt, etc.)

FizzyGreenWater Fri 23-Feb-18 19:08:24

Oh nice update.

I would describe that to the manager too.

They're totally taking the piss, basically. But it's hard - once you feel they're not on side, you don't want to be leaving your child there...

Butterymuffin Fri 23-Feb-18 19:08:27

In my experience the staff always start cleaning up in the last 10 minutes or so as they are very few children left by then. Very odd to suggest it can't be done till the last child is out of the door.

ivykaty44 Fri 23-Feb-18 19:10:02

Sounds as if she doesn’t want to pay her staff passed 6.30 but if the last dc isn’t picked up until 6.39 it means her staff are 15 minutes out of pocket....

As suggested write and ask if you are paying for childcare until 6.30 what is the latest you can pick up your child?

KettleAlwaysBoiling Fri 23-Feb-18 19:10:02

I don't have a contract or a handbook, no. I did sign a form when DD started but the manager kept it and didn't give me a copy. I'll request a copy of this and scrutinise the small print. All of their advertising and even their sign outside says they are open until 6.30pm. It's really confusing!

blackteasplease Fri 23-Feb-18 19:10:28

She is a cheeky beggar for sure!

MrsSiba Fri 23-Feb-18 19:12:43

Then they need to sort out their advertising, decide exactly what time they offer childcare until and arrange their staff appropriately. If you have paid until 6.30 you should be able to pick up at 6.30. Not your problem is staff are only paid till 6.30.

I like pp suggestion of asking what the new shorter hours are and if there will be a reduction in fees.

Cheeky mare.

slashdragon Fri 23-Feb-18 19:13:30

How bizarre!

You should be allowed to be in the building collecting your dd until 6.30!

Definitely a case for an email to clarify.

AppleAndBlackberry Fri 23-Feb-18 19:15:17

If they're advertising that they're open until 6:30 then she's in the wrong. My childminder offers 8-6, that means we can arrive at 8 and collect at 6 if we want to. The staff maybe need to do the clearing up while the children are still there if they want to actually walk out of the door at 6:30.

Talkingfrog Fri 23-Feb-18 19:15:36

They advertise they are open until 6.30, you pay until 6.30. Your daughter should be able to stay until 6.30 without any additional fees.
It sounds yo me like the staff were there until 6.30 anyway to clear away, and she has decided to advertise she is open until then, possibly thinking that the children will be gone a bit before. She possibly gets extra fees, but most days the children are gone by 6.15 so staff can still clear away and leave on time.
You have taken her at her word and wish to utilise the full time (as you are entitled to), and it has backfired on her.

If she brings it up again, and can't understand your reasoning as to why you consider yourself to be late, I would be tempted to show her the responses here. (she make not take kindly to it though do probably not the best plan for good relations).

Icomehereseekingpeas Fri 23-Feb-18 19:16:31

Hi, my childminder is ace. Her closing time is 6pm and I always pick up before 6pm. On the couple of occasions where I thought I might be late after work I told her in advance and said I don't mind if she charged me extra although it would only be 5 mins late at worst. She said no worries, if I didn't pick up til just after 6 she wouldn't bother charging me extra.

Your child care sounds mental! You've paid for a service up to a specific time and they are in breach of that. Check any contracts you signed before signing up. If they say they expect parents to collect children no later than 6:30pm they would have to lawfully honour that agreement.

SluttyButty Fri 23-Feb-18 19:17:54

I don’t have any in childcare now but used to pay for dd until 7pm. I didn’t always turn up that late (trains sometimes dictated when I arrived), anyway mine was the last there at 7 and although I got the look they never called me aside or gave me any grief.
You pay until a time so you have every right to leave your child there until said time. It’s a managerial problem if they’ve not organised the rota properly to clear up the last bits when the provision is said to end.

honeylulu Fri 23-Feb-18 19:18:08

If the contractual arrangement is that (for the fee you pay) a service is available until a certain time then you have the right to use it all! I'm a solicitor btw.
I'm sure that it would be nice for the staff to leave earlier when they can but that should be considered a windfall not a right.
My son's nursery used to have all the remaining kids in the hall, coats and shoes on during the last 10 mins so that they could tidy the rooms and parents could grab and run. It was great.
My daughter's nursery (different one some years later) pays it's staff for extra 15 mins after closing time to tidy up So they are even more relaxed if you turn up on brink of closing time.

If I'd been told that part of the service was no longer available to me I'd expect the fee to be reduced!

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