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CM Q - Is charging retainer in holiday standard if CM isn't available then anyway?

(19 Posts)
SmethwickBelle Mon 23-May-11 21:50:21

I know there is a similar thread on the board but I am not sure it answers my particular question. Sorry if this is idiot stuff, I am new to Childminders, having used nurseries up to now.

I need childminder to cover 52 weeks of the year (two days a week) but some of the best ones (who I have fallen in love with) don't work the school holidays BUT still charge a retainer.

I could understand the retainer if I had chosen not to use their services over hols... but is it standard practice when I'd LOVE to use them, but they take all the school hols off.

If I proceed I'll have to find other cover for holidays and pay the retainer for the term time one on top. If this is normal then that's fine, I just wanted a sanity check on it.

Grateful for any perspectives.

Jojay Mon 23-May-11 21:54:22

Seems unusual to me.

My CM charges for when she is available to work.

If I choose to not send Ds in, due to holiday or sickness, then I still pay as she is available to work.

If she decides to take holiday then I don't pay, as she is unavailable to work.

Strix Mon 23-May-11 21:56:38

No. A retainer should only be for when she is waiting for you to show up. (i.e she is available and you aren't yet)

KatyMac Mon 23-May-11 21:59:17

There are 2 sorts of retainer (I generally charge neither)

1) For you to not use a space when you don't need it
2) to hold the place until you need it again

In the second case it's to hold your space over the holiday so the CM doesn't just take on someone else & you lose your space or the CM lose out because you decide not to come back after the holiday

Ripeberry Mon 23-May-11 23:13:07

Are they term time only for all? Or is your contract just term time only?
I personally do term time only for all clients and don't charge a retainer as I don't work holidays full stop.

Strix Tue 24-May-11 12:15:19

I think my child is the only term time only contract with my CM. She is obviously really good to me. Maybe I should buy her a pressie. smile

sixpairsofhands Thu 26-May-11 16:46:22

Best practise is- If the childminder is not available to work then she should not be charging a retainer. She may however negotiate a period of paid holiday each year. Depends on how much you want the childminder - its her business at the end of the day.

looneytune Thu 26-May-11 18:26:09

What Katymac said, however, I wouldn't expect a CM to charge during the holidays if they don't even work them, that's plain greedy!!!

sandym3g Thu 26-May-11 18:40:27

We (I cm with my DH) don't charge for any hours/days not used. We do however charge for unathorised illnesseses as we have planned to work that day. We have children that are flexi time, occasional after school/nursery and term time only children currently but we are open to have whatever the parent wants as long as it doesn't go over our ratios.

Strix Fri 27-May-11 09:59:45

Katymac, what is the difference between 1 and 2?

KatyMac Fri 27-May-11 10:49:58

1 is for not using the holidays which are available
2 is ensuring you have a place for after the holiday - "it's to hold your space over the holiday so the CM doesn't just take on someone else & you lose your space or the CM lose out because you decide not to come back after the holiday"

I had a child booked for the after school they paid July, then told me in Sept that they weren't returning; I had refused other children who could have started after school in Sept.

Tanith Fri 27-May-11 12:22:40

I had that happen to me too, Katymac. Would you believe, she actually gave me the written notice as a footnote at the bottom of the card she sent me to congratulate me on the birth of my baby!
My Network Co-ordinator was visiting when the card arrived and she was speechless smile

minderjinx Fri 27-May-11 12:40:45

I have had that happen too (change of heart over the holiday I mean - not having written notice on a baby congratulations card!).

I don't charge for the long holiday but I now take payment for September at the end of term in July if they want me to hold a place for the next term. That way I can be pretty sure they will be back but no=one can moan about paying for anything they are not getting.

SmethwickBelle Thu 09-Jun-11 14:09:46

I REALLY appreciate the comments, they've helped me see all sides and decide what to do.

I tried to negotiate and she wouldn't, as is her perogative of course, so I have told her that I won't be proceeding. I went on to see two other CMs neither who charge for holidays and will be going with one who's a lot closer too!

Having given it a LOT of thought and asked around I do think it is rather strange policy she has at best and cheeky at worst.

I absolutely understand that it is fair ask for a deposit to discourage people from changing their minds in the holiday, but then set it against fees in the term time - don't ask for extra money for doing nothing!

Thanks again all.

BootyMum Thu 09-Jun-11 17:41:43

I have just struck the same issue. Am looking for childminder for 2 days a week. One charges for my child being ill or on holiday, which seems understandable as the cm is available to work and needs the income. Also would be that I am paying for child's place to be kept open, not the cm's issue that he is not using it that week for whatever reason. However that cm does not charge for the place when she herself is on holidays which seemed fair to me.
However the second cm I saw [who I really liked!] charges when child is sick or on holiday and also when she herself is on holiday. I was also a bit hmm at that. Because it means I will have to pay double cm fees those weeks, once for her and then again for cover I get.
Interesting to read this thread and get other opinions and hear what other childminders do. I guess I will now have to weigh up all the positive and negative points about both and see which overall I prefer. But it is a shame, the second cm charging for her holidays has put me off a bit as it just seems cheeky somehow. And I probably would have gone for her otherwise.

ChristinedePizan Thu 09-Jun-11 18:01:20

It's quite common for CMs to charge when they're on holiday but for a max of four weeks. Most of the parents try and arrange their holidays so that they coincide with the CM's holidays.

BootyMum Fri 10-Jun-11 09:13:23

But I don't quite understand this Christine... I can understand nannies and au-pairs being paid for holidays as you are their employer and as an employee they are entitled to paid holiday leave.
But a childminder is self-employed and when they are oh holiday they are then charging you for a service that they are not providing to you.
I myself am self-employed and I charge clients for sessions they cannot attend due to their illness or holiday as they are then paying for me to hold their session day/time open for them. It is not my choice not to earn income then.
But I don't charge clients when I go on holidays. Why should they pay me when they are not receiving the service due to my not being available?

ChristinedePizan Fri 10-Jun-11 09:35:37

I agree with you Booty but all the CMs where I used to live charged for their holidays. So either you accepted that was the status quo or you found another form of childcare. A CM is still generally cheaper than a nursery or a nanny.

Really what they should do is put their prices up by 50p a day or something and not charge for their holidays and then people wouldn't feel they're paying for something they're not getting!

BootyMum Fri 10-Jun-11 09:44:47

Yes Christine that's a good idea!

It just doesn't sit well with me to have to pay when the childminder is unavailable to work [and then have to pay again to find alternative cover]

However if I had a nanny I employed I would feel differently.

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