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Childminders, a question please

(35 Posts)
EnglishGirlApproximately Tue 06-Nov-12 10:44:32

I'm visiting childminders this week ready for my return to work and one if them has emailed to ask if I get tax credits. I replied that I've never claimed them before but as I'm going part time I may be eligible and that I planned to phone about it this week. The CM replied that she would let me know her fees when I knew as she charges different amounts. Her reason being that its not fair on families who don't get help to charge the same as families who do.

I'm intepreting this to mean that if I claim tax credits I will be charged more for childcare. Is this standard practice? It seems a bit odd to me to have two sets if fees and surely defeats the object of tax credits?

catkind Tue 06-Nov-12 10:53:22

That sounds dodgy to me. Surely it can't be legal to charge more for a service just because someone's on benefits?? (No legal knowledge, just sounds odd.)

SarkyWench Tue 06-Nov-12 10:56:20


Flisspaps Tue 06-Nov-12 10:56:35

It has nothing to do with her (and I'm a CM).

She shouldn't be charging you more so it's 'fair' in her eyes, WTAF does she think Tax Credits are for?!

SarkyWench Tue 06-Nov-12 10:57:03

maybe she means childcare vouchers?
I have heard of CMs charging more with them.

MaryPoppinsBag Tue 06-Nov-12 10:57:15

Sounds strange.
I charge one price for everyone.

YourHandInMyHand Tue 06-Nov-12 11:02:01

Strange. I used to child mind and charged everyone the same.

Did she mean she charges people she perceives as being better off more than those who are eligible for tax credits? Either way I've never heard of this before.

EnglishGirlApproximately Tue 06-Nov-12 11:08:12

I'm glad its not just me that finds this strange. I'm seeing 4 CM's and the others have just given me their fees. I think she's charging more for those who do get tax credits as she knows they don't gave to find all of the money themselves.

I'm seeing her tomorrow so will question it then but I wanted to make sure its not standard practice before I do. She looks great on paper but if that's what she's doing I won't be weaning Ds there. I don't like the idea of a cm making a value judgement based on income.

EnglishGirlApproximately Tue 06-Nov-12 11:09:22

Weaning = sending. Fat fingers!

YourHandInMyHand Tue 06-Nov-12 11:59:15

Hmm I don't like that! The whole point of people receiving the childcare element of TCs is that they are working but on a low income, so they get help wih the childcare costs to enable them to be left with a living wage. He wanting to charge more in this situation seems very unethical! hmm

When I child minded the only families I had who got childcare element were single parents on NMW working PT. They got 70% of their childcare costs paid through the childcare element of TCs, and rightly so, they wouldn't have been able to afford childcare otherwise and I'd never have considered charging them MORE due to them being in this situation. Appalling!

ZuleikaD Tue 06-Nov-12 15:05:17

I wouldn't even bother with seeing her again, tbh. I charge the same regardless - it wouldn't occur to me to question people's personal circumstances.

EnglishGirlApproximately Tue 06-Nov-12 15:08:52

zuleika I'm hoping I've misunderstood her.

Italiana Tue 06-Nov-12 18:41:50

I doubt it is a question of misunderstanding?

lisa1968 Tue 06-Nov-12 18:54:29

Sounds odd to me! I know some of my parents claim tax credits but it would never occur to me to charge more!Very unfair!!

procrastinor Tue 06-Nov-12 19:00:25

Wow. I first thought that she was going to offer a lower amount to those who receive tax credits as it meant that they would be on a tighter income. And I though that sounded pretty nice. I wouldn't mind paying more compared to someone else who needed tax credits. Are you sure that's not want she meant?

Tanith Tue 06-Nov-12 19:14:40

I haven't heard of this before, either. Seems a strange thing to do!

Do let us know what she means if you find out!

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 06-Nov-12 19:18:42

I would also not bother going to see her!

ZuleikaD Tue 06-Nov-12 19:19:54

The thing is, I find it offensive either way. I can't imagine looking at a set of prospective parents and thinking 'you look well-off, I'll charge you more.'

Tanith Tue 06-Nov-12 19:24:26

It could catch on!

Shop at Waitrose? Double fee!

Holiday abroad? Right, that's an extra 20%!

Sliding scales of charges according to profession and address...

grin grin

Tanith Tue 06-Nov-12 19:25:26

Seriously, though, it really does sound an outrageous thing to do!

EnglishGirlApproximately Tue 06-Nov-12 19:53:58

I'm going to see her because in all other respects she sounds great so I'm hoping her email was really badly worded and I've completely misunderstood! Its on the way to another one so not out of my way. I'll report back.

Flisspaps Tue 06-Nov-12 21:25:36

I'd ask to see her Equal Opps policy.

Mine says "I will make sure that I actively promote equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practices for all children. I will make sure that I treat all children with equal concern and respect. I recognise and welcome all legislation and guidance which promotes equality". This is a fairly standard sort of thing to write in this policy.

If you have read the email correctly, then I would suggest that operating a two tier system which means she charges families who receive Tax Credits help for childcare payments is discriminatory - the point of TC as you say, is to enable you to meet the cost of childcare. If she is charging you more than others because of your financial circumstances than that is discriminatory too.

Might be worth mentioning that to her.

YourHandInMyHand Tue 06-Nov-12 21:34:05

Exactly ZuleikaD it's wrong whichever side of it you fall on. Do let us know when you've met her OP.

missymoo2411 Tue 06-Nov-12 23:21:10

It could be something to do with not paying tax

Flisspaps Tue 06-Nov-12 23:47:01

How, missymoo? It makes no difference to the CM's tax.

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