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How much notice is it reasonable to expect/ask for for a change of hours?

(17 Posts)
Sleepglorioussleep Fri 16-Sep-11 05:48:41

Going to have chat to childminder today because she would like to change ds's hours with a week's notice. I am on maternity leave, so technically I could accommodate the change, but really I feel that i shouldn't have to and I also want to firm up what notice is required if this happens again. I am frustrated by the situation and am feeling nervous about the discussion

mnistooaddictive Fri 16-Sep-11 06:03:31

I would say 4 weeks, the same as the notice period so if it isnt doable you give notice.
When my dc were at nursery I had to give 4 weeks notice to reduce hours, but could increase hours instantly! I thunk it should be the same on both sides- you may have made plans for the days he isn't with the childminder!

minderjinx Fri 16-Sep-11 06:13:32

I would say your Cm should give 4 weeks notice of her wish to change hours (assuming that is your agreed reciprocated notice period) as she is in effect giving notice herself that she no longer wishes to be bound by your current contract. If you don't accept the change, and she cannot continue as is after this time, the contract ends at the end of the four weeks - she has terminated it. Obviously if the changes are mutually acceptable, you could agree to make them happen sooner than four weeks and have an agreed change to your contract or a new contract.

Sleepglorioussleep Fri 16-Sep-11 06:15:31

That was my feeling of what was reasonable. I get the feeling that if I were working this wouldn't be happening. We have a flexible arrangement but I have never asked for fewer than our agreed ours because I think cm needs to be able to depend on certain income and I have always seen extra hours as to be requested and agreed rather than expected. This had worked well. This change, which is an hour less out of my ds's six hour day, has been presented as this is what will be happening as from next week. I don't feel it's reasonable and although I will be able to pick up the slack, I am nervous about what might happen in the future. Also, I have maintained ds's hours so that I can have a predictable day in the week where I can catch up on sleep and not have to do the school run with three of them. It is a luxury, but part of my strategy to avoid Pnd and having to ask friends or family for favours. Hate stuff like this. my own fault for not clarifying how the flexiibilty worked in writing at the start.

Sleepglorioussleep Fri 16-Sep-11 06:17:42

Is verbally agreed binding? Not that I want to get technical but it helps me know where I stand? Can't believe mumsnet-thank you for such quick and logical replies.

WoofToYouTooLady Fri 16-Sep-11 07:57:17

You would need someone like MrA to come along and say for definite but I would say without a contract in writing you are on shaky ground

However, you seem to have a good relationship with the CM - has she given you a reason for the change?

Sleepglorioussleep Fri 16-Sep-11 08:16:04

Yes-to accommodate one of her children's activities. I am sure I don't have a legal standing, but I do have a good relationship. I hope to discuss and come out mutually satisfied, but I am prepared for it to be a deal breaker. I think we might be seeing things a bit differently at the moment, and I am really hoping that there isn't more to it than that. But I do need to rely on childcare just as much as I did when I was working so I need to make sure we at least get notice times clarified. Otherwise I won't be sure this won't happen again.

WoofToYouTooLady Fri 16-Sep-11 09:06:44

good luck, I am sorry that it's all a bit stressy for you x

Sleepglorioussleep Fri 16-Sep-11 09:15:42

Bless you. It's just a case of getting down to the business side of things I think and remembering that this isn't a favour a friend is doing but a business relationship with a bit of friendship as a bonus. We'll work it out one way or the other.

ChitChattingWithKids Fri 16-Sep-11 09:22:07

If you dont' want the new hours, then you dont' have to accept them. If she can't fulfil her usual hours then she should be giving you notice to end the contract.

Verbally agreed IS part of a contract, if there is no written contract then verbally agreed would definitely be part of it as there is nothing else!! Also, industry standard is taken into account, and industry standard is 4 weeks notice.

Sleepglorioussleep Fri 16-Sep-11 10:03:53

Well that went better than expected. I haven't accepted new hours and have given notice but amicably and way open for me to ask to childmind again when I go back to work. What we both needed couldn't be accommodated and although had I been at work I think the hours would have been honoured, I had no desire to push someone to do something they didn't want to. Have given proper notice and will find another solution...or use money it would have cost for childminder for gin if it all gets too much! In a few months I'll start looking again for when I go back to work. But everything properly agreed so it's not messy again. Thanks for all your help-much appreciated. I needed to know how firm I could be in the hope that I wouldn't need to.

minderjinx Fri 16-Sep-11 10:09:51

I'm afraid I don't think the legal position or industry standards really have any bearing here, especially if there is no written contract and SGS admits there was always a suggestion of "flexibility", whatever that means. Legal action really only works for recovering money or getting financial compensation - it all takes too long to be effective in making a party to a contract actually perform the service.

If the CM really doesn't want to have the child for that last hour, even if she did accept that she is obliged to do this for four weeks, that probably just defers the issue as she would surely then just give notice. I'm sure SGS wouldn't want her to be cared for in an atmosphere of bad feeling or resentment anyway, even for a month.

SleepGloriousSleep, I think you need to discuss this with your CM, but having thought through what concessions you would be happy with, and what your plan B is. For example would you be happy for her to be taken along to watch CMs DC play football, drop them off at cubs or whatever the activity is? Or is it something your DD could do too? Or could you change the day of your DD's session? Finally, do you have any other childcare options? A lot of providers might not even offer a single day place, so you need to know how realistic a plan to go elsewhere might be.

minderjinx Fri 16-Sep-11 10:13:56

Sorry - crossposted there.

Glad it's all sorted out.

Sleepglorioussleep Fri 16-Sep-11 10:23:56

Glad you did! It shows that the thinking I did about how the bargaining and discussion might go was prob worthwhile. In the end it was that idea of care possibly being given grudgingly that made me give notice and accept reduced hours too. It's a relationship here-tangled with business too but the reason why I chose the cm in the first place is because she is fabulous with ds and he loves her. Sounds weird then to have terminated the contract but I needed more than she could give and without the extra hour there were better things to do with the money.

mranchovy Fri 16-Sep-11 19:04:56

You would need someone like MrA to come along

Here I am grin I'm glad it has been sorted amiciably.

For the record, a contract that is not written down is just as binding as one that is, but there are two issues here: (i) nothing appears to have been agreed regarding notice, verbally or in writing (ii) even if it were correct to infer 4 weeks notice of termination, that would not mean that there must be 4 weeks notice of any change to the contract terms or conditions.

WoofToYouTooLady Fri 16-Sep-11 19:12:28

hellair MrA

<waves and taps nose>

Sleepglorioussleep Fri 16-Sep-11 19:23:22

Thanks mr a, an taking notes for next time. Don't suppose you can explain why I feel sad and tearful tonight?blush guess it's the end of a relationship of sorts, albeit amicably sorted. Think I'm best staying out of the business world for now-not tough enough for this kind of stuff.

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