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Majorly messed around, Mum upset, Im upset...dont know whether Im being unreasonable or whether she is.

(15 Posts)
woahthere Mon 01-Oct-12 20:06:47

Bit of a long story...

Childminding mindee for 2 years. When she first started she was contracted to 28 hours a week (2 x full days, 2 x 4hours). We agreed to review every 12 months in contract. However, after 2 months she asked me to do 38 hours a week for that month, I never changed it in the contract because I thought it was changing back, but it didnt, it then became 39 hours per week and remained this way.

Come April this year she told me that she was going on a big holiday in July for 6 weeks. I cooed about how lovely it was and what an opportunity...money never mentioned as it is in contract that parent pays if on holiday. In May she sent me an e - mail saying her uni would not pay for July and August so she was sorry and she was worried her child would lose the place. I replied saying that she could consider paying half the amount as a retainer. Then we spoke in person and she said she could not pay June either and so would not bring the child. We eventually came to an agreement that she would pay for June, I would let her off paying July and August, and she would bring her child back in September. In other e - mails to me, she talks about how her university will not pay for July and August, and another one she will not pay me before end of August (her words).

I wasnt happy about it because I basically had to sacrifice 2 months wages, but to be perfectly honest, I didnt manage to find anybody else to fill the place anyway...otherwise I might have ended the contract. It was annoying as in the April, before she told me all of this I had turned down a few people because i didnt have the space.

So I kept regular contact with her updating her, telling her about new EYFS ETC (all one sided, she never replied but I didnt necessarily expect her to while away) Then when she returned I spoke to her, was assured child was coming back and so I sent her invoice at beginning of September for whole of September.
Then I got an e - mail saying she would not be coming back until near end of month. I replied that regardless, she had to pay for whole month. Several times I reiterated this point to her, and she agreed I would be paid but she was having trouble with uni.

Now after all of this she has put her arms up that I am charging her when she didnt bring her child and saying she cant/wont pay. On the same day, she has dropped her hours by 15 hours and expects it to be implemented immediately. Now she is questioning the contract because we have never officially reviewed it...but this is because after a certain amount of time it was just an agreed thing that she would pay for 39 hours a week...I realise I should have done this officially, but its always worked well ofr her anyway as i have always worked extra hours for her if needed.

Im now still owed 2 months money, plus the advancing one for October.

Right sticky wicket isnt it. We both got quite upset about it today. She was upset because she was going to have to find an extra 420 pounds, and Im upset because I already feel Ive lost 2 months money and now potentially another 2..... What can I do now, part of me feels like I dont want to back down on this. I cant afford to work for 8 months of the year and then not get paid for 4....

Newlysingleandstuck Mon 01-Oct-12 20:10:11

I'd fill the place with another child tbh. I couldn't be doing with the messing around. I don't mean to sound rude, but if you are a childminder the likelihood is you need the money, and she needs to pay for the place.

BobbiFleckman Mon 01-Oct-12 20:11:47

you are running a business. It's a strange sort of business in which everyone's family life gets drawn in, but a business nonetheless. A contract does not have to be written to be valid and from the course of action taken by both of you (you looking after child for 39 hrs / week, her paying for 39 hrs /week) indicates that it was succesfully varied, although verbally.
Unfortunately, given how personal these relationships get given that you're looking after her child, my suggestion would be to find a new mindee and tell her to get lost. You should of course give her whatever notice period of your termination of the agreement (at 39 hrs/ week) that the contract specifies.

woahthere Mon 01-Oct-12 20:16:07

You see I was wondering if I have legally done wrong, because the 12 month review did not officially take place...because it was changed after 2 months, and the fact that for the next 18 months she was being charged for 39 hours per week, I thought was enough evidence of agreement. But she is arguing with me, that she thought we should sign a new contract every year.

ProphetOfDoom Mon 01-Oct-12 20:18:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Noseynoonoo Mon 01-Oct-12 20:22:42

I have to agree, you and the mum have to trust each other for it to work and she doesn't seem to respect you and your livelihood, leaving you uable to trust her.

I am past the CM years but I would have never treated our CM like that. I respected her professionalism and paid her what I owed. I'd have hated it if they'd been an atmosphere between us.

Newlysingleandstuck Mon 01-Oct-12 20:22:50

You have both agreed to the changes in the contract through conduct, so she has nothing to come back on by saying that the 39 hours weren't correct. I think you are ok as long as she would have been able to terminate the contract at any point after any "lock in" period by giving the notice described in the contract. All that would have happened if she had signed a new contract would be that the new contract terms would replace the previous contract's terms.

raspberrytart Tue 02-Oct-12 13:36:35

My understanding is that the 12 month reveiw is just a reccomendation .

ZuleikaD Tue 02-Oct-12 18:42:38

She needs to pay you for the notice period, end of story.

PropositionJoe Tue 02-Oct-12 18:48:13

It sounds as though you are going to have to get what you can from this mum and give her notice as soon as you find another mindee.

AThingInYourLife Tue 02-Oct-12 18:50:10

You have done nothing wrong here, she is trying to pull a fast one.

Lots of people seem to think that they should only pay for childcare they use, regardless of any agreement or contract with the provider.

They are not people to do business with.

Time to tell her to find someone else to look after her daughter.

She owes you more than your notice period would cover.

VerityClinch Tue 02-Oct-12 18:51:11

Ditch her. More trouble than its worth and you're just storing up trouble for the future when her needs change again.

Sounds to me like she withdrew her child while on holiday from Uni in the summer and expected (a) not to pay and (b) you to hold the place.

Which is a bit one-sided.

Unlikely you'll recover any list earnings now but a quick text tonight to say you cannot accept mindee back until the outstanding amount of x relating to period y is settled in full and if you do not hear from her within z days you will advertise mindees place as available, might focus her mind.

VerityClinch Tue 02-Oct-12 18:51:37

lost not list

Northernlurker Tue 02-Oct-12 18:59:15

I agree. She pays for September AND October before you take her child again. If you have agreement inwriting to 28 hours and she wants 24, that's tough. She pays for 28 and you vary the contract if you're minded too after the appropriate notice. Then look about for somebody else and give her notice. Next time stick to your contract and insist on a retainer for place.

Saltire Tue 02-Oct-12 22:02:42

Personally, having been in similar situations before, I would send a letter again asking for the money upfront and if need be, (and I hope for your sake it doesn't get to this stage) threaten court.

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