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Minding teachers' children and holiday payments

(33 Posts)
banjaxed Mon 11-Jul-11 22:44:39

I am interested to know what childminders generally do about payment contracts for minding children of teachers who don't require childminding during the holidays.

We have had a varied experience. Our first CM did not charge us for the holidays at all (a friend of the family), the second was half fees for short holidays but not for the summer holiday, the third was half fees for all holidays and our new CM (yes, we haven't had good luck with our CMs, no, it's nothing to do with our kids) is planning on charging us full fees all year round. This leaves us in the ridiculous situation of paying a lot more for CM during the holidays when dd is not at school (and so is technically needing minded for a full day) and also NOT AT THE CM!!! I understand that CMs need to secure their income, but I can't help feeling we have been got by the short and curlies.

Mousey84 Mon 11-Jul-11 23:03:40

Well, I had one family where the mum was a teacher, and said if I could fill the spaces there would be no fee to her, but no access to childcare, but if I couldnt fill it, it would be half fee retainer (only for hours Id have them after school anyway) or full fee if I actually took them.

If you have to pay, then Id expect you can send them any day you want - you have paid for the space.

Danthe4th Tue 12-Jul-11 01:15:50

Banjaxed how much is she per hour, I only ask as I used to charge a slightly higher rate for a term time only contract and it didn't work out much different to a full time contract at a cheaper rate. Perhaps you could suggest paying a slightly higher rate and then suggest she advertises a holiday place as she could be better off.

RosieGirl Tue 12-Jul-11 08:06:55

I recently charged 50% for school holidays for a teacher, as the children were under 5 and counted within my early years group and I couldn't fill their space during the holidays.

I have lost business recently because I wouldn't enter into a term time only contract with a teacher in a private school. She had a 1 year old and they have 17/18 weeks holiday a year, I just couldn't justify it. I could do with the business from Sept but would rather wait a little than feel cross when I turn away someone who would take the space over the whole year.

banjaxed Tue 12-Jul-11 13:12:18

This cm is 50p an hour more than our last one, and only charges for full hours too, so this is kind of adding to my grief since I need her for 9hrs 15mins and get charged for 10 for my youngest dd. I was hoping that now my eldest is in school we could start saving some childcare money but we will be losing it at this rate, just at a time when we really can't afford to.

Dozer Tue 12-Jul-11 22:04:54

Guess it's up to her, and up to you whether you accept it. Are there other CM's locally who offer terms you'd prefer? If not, you may be stuck.

banjaxed Tue 12-Jul-11 23:16:27

Yep, Dozer. We are stuck. C'est la vie. Sigh.

Tas1 Wed 13-Jul-11 07:56:03

All my families are Teachers.
I add up all the term days (full pay) and all the holiday days (half pay), add them together and divide by 12. That way I get paid the same amount each month whether I'm working or not.
They all pay half fees in the holidays as I am available to work but they chose not to use me.

Jelly15 Wed 13-Jul-11 16:08:01

I have one parent on term time only contract and she pays half fee to keep the space (under 5). I take 4 weeks holidays a year (two in the summet school holidays and two at christmas, therefore, she only has to pay me half fee for 9 weeks.

banjaxed Wed 13-Jul-11 23:37:10

So do you think I can ask her to reconsider charging full fees for the 13 weeks (minus her holidays) or is it a case of like it or lump it? I don't want to create bad feelings. She is a new childminder but is just so much more expensive than the others...and because of the days off I was given in my timetable this year she is the only one available when I need childcare.

Numberfour Thu 14-Jul-11 07:18:45

Yes, of course you can negotiate, Banjaxed. The contract is / will be between the two of you so you can both negotiate. Whether or not she is prepared to budge is another thing.

Even as a CM myself, I feel that charging full fee is very harsh. Mousey84 has a far fairer system, which I will borrow! And of course if the child DOES come to you then full fees are payable as Mousey84 said.

Good luck... let us know how you get one [nosey parker]

HSMM Thu 14-Jul-11 07:43:20

You can ask her about taking (ie) 4 weeks holiday unpaid, but what are her personal circumstances ... is she likely to take this during term time?

I have a child on a term time only contract, but that is only because another family wanted a holiday only contract. Both families know that they would normally be charged for a full year space.

banjaxed Fri 15-Jul-11 17:54:53

I will ask her, but we aren't at home until August so it will have to wait until then. I'm not a fan of email negotiation. Mousey's way of doing things is more like what I have come across previously, but it must be a very variable income for you?

sandym3g Sat 16-Jul-11 18:19:00

We don't charge for holidays. We have one term time only parent that spreads her payments thoughout the whole of the year. It works for both of us. She has a lower payment and we get paid during the holiday. But the space that she isn't using during the holidays is available for others that need holiday only.

woahthere Sun 17-Jul-11 23:28:27

not being funny, but who DOES work for 15 minute periods. I dont think its unusual that she will only charge hourly.

ChildrenAtHeart Mon 18-Jul-11 09:25:54

About 1/2 the children I care for are teacher's children or on term time only contracts for various reasons. I used to charge 1/2 fee retainer & 1/2 fee for my holidays but for the past 3 years I stopped this as I found it didn't work for me. I put all my fees up by a slightly higher percentage than usual as a one off which covered my 'lost' income for my holidays & I don't charge when I'm off for any reason now & I charge an enhanced rate for term-time only contracts which again covers 'lost' income during the school holidays. I charge by the 1/2 hour. A few of my parents have their fees annualised so they pay a fixed amount each month. I get all my fees paid into a separate account along with any EYE funding and I work out roughly how much I'll be getting over the year, divide by 12 and 'pay' myself that into my own account each month. That way I don't have the problem many cm's complain about ie reduced income during holidays. Obviously I have to adjust it if a child leaves/starts/changes hours but it seems to work.
TTO also suits me as I'm then quieter in school hols so I can do stuff with dd/ds on their own

Isla77 Mon 18-Jul-11 22:28:51

I am a teacher and I always pay my childminder the same amount in the holidays as I pay her in term-time. I feel this is fair as I am paid for the holidays and also she has to budget for 52 weeks of the year just like the rest of us. She has told me that the other parent who uses her (for one child) does not pay her at all during holidays so she feels bad taking the money from me. My DH and I told her we were happy to pay her for holidays regardless of what this other parent does. She is a fantastic childminder and does great activities with the children - cooking, art and crafts, sewing, knitting etc. They are never left to sit in front of the TV but always doing something fun, creative or active. I was reluctant to go back to work and leave children with childminder so waited until they were all full-time at school. Even then, I was worried as my son was reluctant to go to a childminder. He loves it there though and it has been very good for him. I am very lucky to have had her recommended to me. I now teach full time and the children are thrilled to be going 5 nights a week rather than three. I consider myself very lucky.

rememberingnothing Tue 19-Jul-11 15:08:17

Lots of professions charge by the 15 mins (or even 6 mins), however, we all know that there is no clear 'cut-off' time when picking or dropping off children. I try to be out of the door by the 'pick-up' time but sometimes we get chatting and it is 10 minutes later so be fair to your CM BUT a whole extra 45 minutes is not reasonable. I wouldn't pay any of my employees a whole hour and then be happy when they skipped off after 15 minutes, why is this any different?

I think that there is far less negotiation done about transactions now than in the past and many people are uncomfortable doing it. Just remember she is offering a service you want to purchase - at the right price. You aren't trying to cheat her just get value for your money that I'm sure you work hard for.

Put together a package you would be happy with - set it out clearly in writing and start the negotiation from there. You can always compromise and there are lots of good ideas here (like the saying retainer must be paid over the holidays but if the space is taken you don't have to pay)

banjaxed Fri 12-Aug-11 16:07:30

OK, so I spoke to the cm yesterday. Apparently all the cms in the village got together to decide on their policies, which would be the same village-wide to avoid any undercutting, etc. These policies were informed by guidelines from their governing organisations, plus the fact that some cms were finding that they weren't earning a whole lot over the year.

The new policies are that they charge £4ph, for whole hours only and full rates during parent holidays to secure their income. This applies to teachers too. So, the cms in the village are running a cartel which means that I'll be charged 43% more for 'keeping my place' during school holidays when the children are not being cared for by the cm. I feel utterly deflated. I have based my financial calculations on my part time status on 'normal' cm policies. I turned down a place for my eldest in school-run after school care because I wanted my girls to be together, not knowing that these new policies were in place. I am sadsadsad

boombangabang Fri 12-Aug-11 18:33:28

I'm sure I read somewhere that this kind of price fixing is illegal, even for cms. Anyone know more?

Flisspaps Fri 12-Aug-11 18:41:04

I think it is illegal, I'd check with your local council banjaxed - the Family Information Service, Early Years Team or whatever it is called in your area.

You can also contact the NCMA to ask - 0845 880 0044

However, as a CM myself, I do care for one teacher's child and don't charge for holidays which I do regret somewhat as we're left really short over the holidays, and I also charge for full hours rather than for parts of an hour. I won't negotiate with parents over my fees - I charge what I charge, but then I've not set my prices following discussion with others!

boombangabang Fri 12-Aug-11 18:53:07

Yep, illegal, I just looked it up. You don't want to contact FIS or NCMA or anyone about this though, it's a legal matter. It's illegal under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998.

Competition law prohibits almost any attempt by competitors to fix prices - for example, it will generally be illegal to:

agree prices with your competitors - eg you can't agree to work from a shared minimum price list

this from businesslink. Contact the police maybe? Bit harsh but who else is there policeing these things?

banjaxed Fri 12-Aug-11 20:56:30

I'll have to double check her story before I get in touch with anyone about this. Police seems a bit drastic. All I want is the ability to negotiate, but was told that these were the policies that had been agreed full stop. I hate confrontation. But we will be 2 grand out of pocket compared with what we were expecting and that is money that we just don't have, nor can get hold of.

nbee84 Fri 12-Aug-11 22:44:40

I have a question - term time only you use 4 hours per day ie 7.30-8.30 and 3-6 (guessing at hours here) so 16 hours per week on a 5 day week. Is she proposing that you pay for 16 hours per week all year round or that in school holidays you would need longer hours and that you pay 16 hours per week term time and in the holidays you are paying her whole day rate? This is how I read your op. Seems very unfair to me.

lagrandissima Fri 12-Aug-11 22:50:25

I had a CM who was married to a teacher and who only took kids in during termtime, because she wanted to spend time with just her own family during the school hols. So sometimes that does happen.

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