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dispute with CM

(46 Posts)
Cheeks4970 Wed 15-Dec-10 11:51:02

Hi everyone, hoping someone can give me some advice.

I have recently had a dispute with my CM and she has now terminated our contract. I don't want to go into too much detail as she may read this website but basically, she believes that I broke one of her policy rules and I disagree with her and we had an argument about it.

She has given me notice in writing but has not told me the final date and was due to collect my child this week as usual but has not done this - does she legally have to provide the usual service and work out the notice?

Sorry, this is a very stressful and difficult time for all involved and I have really simplified it in this post but hope to get some information on what the correct procedure is.

Many thanks

ChippingIn Wed 15-Dec-10 11:55:31

When you say she was due to collect your child this week, do you mean from you or from school?

I would be very curious to know what you could have possibly done that would 'break one of her policy rules' - but really, that's an aside.

She has given you notice in writing, this should have a date on it, if it doesn't have a date on it then it will be whatever notice period is in your contract surely?

Unless the 'thing' you have done is the equivalent of a 'gross dismissal' type action then yes, she would need to provide the service and 'work out' the notice - otherwise it's effectively no notice but you pay her and that's not how it works.

Are you OK for childcare in the meantime or do you need help sorting something out?

muddleduck Wed 15-Dec-10 11:58:59

Been there, done that. You have my sympathy.

Yes. She should work the notice period and you should not pay if she does not.

Cheeks4970 Wed 15-Dec-10 12:00:51

She believes that I sent my child to her when she was not well and I believe that I didn't. She then said that it caused her to become ill and some of her other mindees. She did not discuss this with me at the time, just told me by text 3 weeks later that she would not be refunding me the money due.

My CM is fab at looking after children but I have always thought her communication with me (especially with an issue such as this) has been seriously lacking.

Anyway, it's a horrible situation now. She was due to collect my child from me.

Cheeks4970 Wed 15-Dec-10 12:06:19

I should add that I have already paid her for the month so I guess it's unlikely that she will refund as she believes I am totally in the wrong but has not had any communication with me saying that she wouldn't be collecting my child etc.

Cheeks4970 Wed 15-Dec-10 12:16:14

Sorry ChippingIn, did not respond to your query re needing help - to be honest, I feel so sick about this experience, I think I need to re-evaluate going to work. Is it truly worth it? I know a lot of childminders on here have a lot to say about how bad parents are and this makes me feel even sadder about the whole situation.

I find it incredibly stressful when these situations occur, especially when I feel she has made quite a personal attack on me saying that I deliberately did it and listing off a whole range of other things (in her termination letter) that she doesn't like about me.

So, in response to your offer, the answer is possibly, but I just need to sit with it and see if we can manage to live without me working or I will find a weekend job.

muddleduck Wed 15-Dec-10 12:16:34

Check your contract v carefully. Most contracts woul require that she works the notice period or refunds the money.

Novstar Wed 15-Dec-10 12:21:18

So she's unilaterally sacked you with immediate effect by text AND is keeping the money? Unbelievable. You should take her to court.

ChippingIn Wed 15-Dec-10 12:28:58

She is completely in the wrong here.

No matter how good she is with the children, she is (like it or not) running a business and you are the client. Her behaviour towards you is unprofessional and nasty.

IF she felt your DD wasn't well enough to be there, she should have said so at the time and refused to have her, turning around weeks later and blaming you for making her & other mindees is ridiculous and I assume this isn't actually the reason, but something she thought she could 'peg it on'.

Depending on how her letter is worded and what it actually says I would consider contacting Ofsted.

I would also be writing her a formal letter stating what you require from her now - for me that would be a full refund of the period for which you have not had care for your DD.

I'm in the SE, PM me if I can be of any help with childcare or if you just want to chat about 'going back to work - or not'.

As for the 'going back to work' - only you (& DH) and can decide what is right for your family. There are a millin back threads on it if you want to read through some of the pros/cons.

Aside from the fact that she is a CM - writing someone a letter to tell them all the things you don't like about them is a shitty shitty thing to do and it says far more about her than about you. I'm not suprised you were upset by it, but please try not to be.

muddleduck Wed 15-Dec-10 13:02:50

Agree with chipping.

And please don't read too much into the negativity on here. It is where cms and parents come to whinge when things go wrong. This is not typical of the vast majority of rl childcare.

I went through a very similar situation 4 years ago ( thrown out by cm on made up reasons and made to feel like shit). Since then I have used two fantastic cms who made me realised quite what a nutter our first cm was. We used nursery briefly to give ourselves time to think and to find the right cm. Like you I nearly gave up but am now very glad that I did not.

Good luck

wingandprayer Wed 15-Dec-10 13:09:54

This is wrong in so many ways, but the fact is that she has broken your contract by not serving her notice and she therefore owes you money.

Please don't let her get away with this on top of the insults. Write her a letter stating that you want your refund by X date and suggesting that if she gets some legal advice from her insurers or CAB then they will confirm this. If you don't get your money take her to small claims - it should be a very simple case as you have a written contract.

Dlamis Wed 15-Dec-10 13:28:10

Check to see what your contract/policies say about termination of contract, immediate or otherwise. Usually the correct notice period is required unless there are specific things written in entitling the cm to terminate with immediate effect but these are usually serious things like theft, threatening/bullying behaviour by parents etc.

Contact Ofsted and i think the NMCA might be able offer advice too.

looneytune Wed 15-Dec-10 13:31:28

Another Childminder here agreeing that your CM treated you very badly. Yes, some parents DO get caught our lying (I'm not saying you of course) but even so, if she wants to give notice it has to be as per the contract!

If in the contract it states that she will collect from you then she should continue as she did during the notice period. If it didn't but this is something she did unofficially as a favour then she should be available to work her notice but not necessarily having to collect your child from you - does that make sense? Either way, she should be working her notice (I'm guessing 4 weeks?)

Also, she was terribly unprofessional how she wrote the letter. It shouldn't have been a personal attack and should probably have just stated that she was giving notice and when their last day would be.

As for the 'arguement' - was it a proper arguement or just a disagreement? I'm only asking as I know my friend used to CM years ago and one of the parents got scary in their arguing and in that situation I'd say she was within her right to remove the child immediately (although I'd expect them to be refunded).

Anyway, she was bang out of order and you shouldn't let this drop! Our job is not just working with the children, we are to work in partnership with parents too and tbh, I always did before it was written down that we had to. I couldn't possibly run my business without friendly and open communication!!

Hope you get it sorted

MJB66 Wed 15-Dec-10 14:46:01

Sorry Cheeks, I dont want to stress you anymore, but I have to say, its not just childminders on here saying how 'bad' parents are,
there are quite a few threads on MN on how 'bad' childminders are! some threads can be really nasty!
Please dont think we are all the same.

thebody Wed 15-Dec-10 15:01:31

sorry to hear you having problems..

God if I gave notice for bringing ill mindees to my setting then all my lovely parents would have been fired this month....

her business will go under at that rate..

i hope you get it sorted as well and remember there are fantastic/strange/wonderful and frankly psychotic parents and child minders out there... and some post on mumsnet!!!!

Cheeks4970 Wed 15-Dec-10 15:24:43

thanks so much to everyone for your responses. I've had such a crap day and just feel v stressed about it all. It was a horrible argument she had made my blood boil over her accusations and all the time, I thought 'why didn't you just call me to come and collect my child' and then discuss the situation with me'.

I have drafted a letter but just need to go over it tonight with my DH so let's hope it gets sorted amicably - I just hate having this kind of angst with anyone.

thanks to all

ChippingIn Wed 15-Dec-10 17:05:09

You really don't need to say much more than -

We received your letter of termination dated xx/xx/2010 and as per our contract the notice period is x which would take us to xx/xx/2010. You ceased working, during this notice period, on xx/xx/2010 and therefore owe us a refund of £xxx for theperiod not worked. We look forward to receiving the refund within the next 5 days as we would rather not have to get our lawyer involved.

Don't discuss your daughters health or anything else she has brought up in her nasty letter - it's not relevant. Stick to the facts.

Have a glass of wine tonight and try not to think about it anymore - she's not worth it!

Cheeks4970 Wed 15-Dec-10 18:01:32

what if she has a couple of days annual leave over Christmas, do I ask her for a refund for that too?

I've been with her since the start of June and she's already taken 2 weeks off and now has another two days at Christmas so I'm not sure how to work out if she would be over her quota for leave now anyway?

Help? FYI - We pay her in full for all of her holidays (and ours).

looneytune Wed 15-Dec-10 18:19:04

I don't charge for my hols but I would have thought you're due whatever you paid for and won't be receiving, regardless of any holiday during that time. It's not like employment and accruing(sp?) holiday, it's just that she's paid for her time off but if she's informed you she's immediately no longer looking after your child then no, you shouldn't pay.

Was she paid for December in advance? If so, look at the date she's no longer providing care and work out the amount for every day you've paid for (holiday or not) and that's what she owes you!

Cheeks4970 Wed 15-Dec-10 18:34:00

the thing is, is that she has never said that she is immediately not looking after my child, she just gave notice in writing and she just didn't come and collect him as she always has this week (this isn't as a special favour, she collects all her mindees) and has not contacted me about it since.

Should I have contacted her and asked what's happening?

BoysAreLikeDogs Wed 15-Dec-10 18:41:19

what did the notice say?

eg I am terminating immediately, hence there being no final day in her letter?

It does sound an awful mess you poor thing

pollywollyhadadollycalledmolly Wed 15-Dec-10 18:50:04

i would contact her and ask what is going on. Don't be mean or rude about it( as tempting as it may be) just nice and calm.

If she is not working her notice then she should refund you the money. As someone said, count up all the days she has already been paid for and that is how much she owes back to you.

If you do send the letter, sned it by recorded delivery. (i think it shows u mean business) and also proves she got the letter if it does go to a small cliams court.

Please don't stress about it. I lost a mindee once when i took a holiday!!! 2 hours off and they terminated their contract. Even though i am entitled to 4 weeks holiday lol and i stressed about it sooooo much that i made myself ill. I know ur situation is not like that, but i am sure you are feeling exactly the way i did.

Also there are lots of lovely cms out there. I think i count myself as one


muddleduck Wed 15-Dec-10 18:51:29

Agree with chipping. Again.

Don't get drawn into discussing details of accusations. That way madness lies. Stick to the legal details of payment and notice.

<tentatively offfers hug>

looneytune Wed 15-Dec-10 19:09:40

Agree with last posters.

Right.......are you able to get your child to the CM? If so, that's an option. WRT her doing the collection service, unless this is part of the contract then she can't be made to collect, however, she can be made to refund or care for your child as per the contract. I know it's annoying if she usually picks up, just thinking of the legal side of this.

I real feel for you, I hate hearing of CMs like this angry. I'd probably send the letter by special delivery as I think it should get there by 1pm the next day. Need to be quick as you're loosing care as things are at the moment

Good luck.

Cheeks4970 Wed 15-Dec-10 19:12:51

I honestly don't feel that I want to contact her. I know that it will just turn into another argument and it always makes me get overly emotional about it things.

I think I will send my very brief letter (as Chipping said above) by recorded delivery and see what happens. I feel that she will definitely say she's not refunding my money.

I don't want to have another slanging match with her but will see what transpires.

thanks again to you all. I know there's good CMs out there, I think I just feel hurt by all of this.


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