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CM not providing holiday dates

(16 Posts)
cinderella78 Fri 22-Feb-13 11:33:39

Hi there,
I am looking for some advice with a problem I have with my CM. Unfortunately, my CM is currently going through some difficult personal issues and as a result, has been unable to give us any idea of their holiday dates for the forthcoming year.
Normally the CM would let us know at the beginning of the year and we would coincide holiday dates since we pay the full amount when they are on holiday.
I have asked if it is possible to have some idea since we cannot afford to potentially cover the cost of a possible two weeks of double payment for childcare and we do not have enough holiday days ourselves to cover extended time off. We also have no family to rely on who could help out.
The response has been that the CM just does not know what is going to happen.
We have now had to book our own holidays for the summer and are hoping that things turn out OK.
Additionally, our contract does not state the number of days holiday that our CM will take. It just says that the 'CM will try to let us know at the beginning of the year when the holidays will be' and that 'any holiday is charged at the full rate.'
What should I do? Any advice gratefully received!

Karoleann Fri 22-Feb-13 11:56:10

I suspect a lot of people wouldn't know their holiday dates for the year in feb.
However, its cheeky enough asking for paid holiday (and before someone comes on and says that most people have paid holiday - she is SELF -EMPLOYED). Potentially she could go on holiday for three months and you would have tp pay!

I would give her your holiday dates and ask her to try and arrange at least one week around you. At the very least the amount of holdiday needs to be put into your contract with the minimum amount of notice time.

It may be easier (and cheaper) just to find someone else.

I only used a child minder for a couple of weeks as she wasn't able to give me sufficient notice for her holidays and my job wasn't flexible enough to allow me to take time off at short notice.

stomp Fri 22-Feb-13 11:58:47

If your contract says you will be charged full fee for your holiday when your childcare is open then there is nothing much you can do about it, its not an unusual contract condition.

Your contract with your childminder states she will try to let you know holiday dates at the beginning of the year. This year she hasn't been able to, but sounds like she has valid reasons for not. You can ask again but if her personal circumstances are difficult she may not be able to plan that far ahead or she may not be able to afford to take holiday at all this year.

I do not charge for my holiday, I expect full fee if I am open for business, however if my holiday coincides with parents then they do not pay because childcare is not available. Is this the sort of arrangement you have?

I do not state how many weeks I will take, I'm self-employed and work & income fluctuates so I find some years I may only take two weeks and other years I may take 5. I give as much notice as I can, often 3 or 4 months but the contract states I only have to give 4 weeks, same with parents. I think if you were using a nursery you'd have to pay and probably pay for bank holidays too.

You need to weigh up the benefits of using a childminder against these unforeseen happenings. As you've already booked your holiday you could let her know your holiday dates. But be prepared to pay her if she is open when you take your holiday.

HSMMaCM Fri 22-Feb-13 12:19:01

I am a CM and I don't give my holiday dates at the beginning of the year (but I know some do). My contracts state I will give 4 weeks notice of holidays and I will not be paid for them, but they do not say how much holiday I will take. I told parents in December about my 2 weeks at Easter. Last year I only took one week off, but hope to take more this year.

Hopefully you will be able to work this out with your CM.

cinderella78 Fri 22-Feb-13 12:29:46

Thanks everyone,

I am probably worrying about this more than I need to! smile Your comments have been helpful.

I am more than happy to pay for CM holidays and also empathise with the difficult situation. I guess for me it was that the expectation was set that this was the way that we would work and so I am now in a bit of unknown territory.

Finances aside, I am also worried that I will have to potentially put my young DD into an unknown environment for a short time which is not ideal and something I wanted to avoid when she is still only a year old.

I am sure it will work out!

ReetPetit Fri 22-Feb-13 16:51:43

sorry i think you are being unreasonable, especially as your cm is having personal problems!! hmm if you signed the contract then you have to abide to those terms. what does it say for notice required for holiday dates? some cms only provide 1 or 2 weeks notice. some cms have to book cheap, last minute holidays too, just because you want to book yours, she may not be ready or able to book hers!!
as for your dd having to go to someone else = does your cm say she will provide cover on her contract? if not, then you will have to find cover yourself, thats what happens when you have a child and if you have used all your holiday cover, that is hardly your cms fault, is it??

doughnut44 Fri 22-Feb-13 18:25:48

Unfortunately the amount of holidays your childminder has should have been discussed when you met her for the first time. I always tell prospective parents my holiday terms are at the initial meeting.
If she doesn't know she doesn't know. I am surprised that you are not giving your CM a little bit more consideration especially as she is going through a bad time.
Was it that important that you booked your holiday?

HSMMaCM Fri 22-Feb-13 18:32:05

I can often pass on numbers for other CMs who the children already know from toddler groups etc. Maybe your CM can do this if she books holiday?

badguider Fri 22-Feb-13 18:38:40

This isn't helpful to point out now I realise but I am shocked that you have signed a contract agreeing to pay her in full when she is on holiday and thus her services are not availalbe and not including any limit on the number of weeks that might be for!
What if she declares she's taking seven weeks in the summer and another four at Christmas???? you'd have NO recourse.

Titchyboomboom Fri 22-Feb-13 21:32:40

I take 4 weeks unpaid with minimum 2 weeks notice. No way would I know what I would take at the beginning of the year.

mrsthomsontobe Sat 23-Feb-13 09:14:46

I take 6 weeks and usually give holidays out at start of year as all bar 1 week are the same every year. That one week is usually the week I actually go away on holiday and can usually be anytime between may and July. As soon as holiday is booked (usually by april) I then let parents know

Akasa Sat 23-Feb-13 10:15:43

Whilst it is becoming more common for CMs to charge for their time off (so many threads on the topic on this and other fora), the big concern is that there does not appear to be a contractually agreed amount of time that this CM can take under such an arrangement as badguider has said.

Personally, I do not charge for any time I take off for whatever reason but I would find it impossible to be able to give my holiday dates in January for the calendar year. As soon as I have made a booking, I of course advise all parents but that might be 6 weeks ahead or 26 weeks!! I appreciate it is helpful for mindees parents to have as much notice as possible but I know of very few people who can (and even wish to) decide in December/January exactly when they will be taking holidays throughout the forthcoming year unless they are restricted (for example) by the partner's employer.

But back to the original point, make sure whatever you sign for in a contract is accetable to you - just because it is what the CM is proposing, doesn't mean to say it is not negotiable.

ZuleikaD Sat 23-Feb-13 12:22:53

It's not unreasonable for her not to have her plans settled in February - however I think your question is a reasonable one given that as you say, you can't afford to pay for the extra childcare.

The response from some posters that 'oh well you signed the contract so suck it up' is unhelpful, I feel. Contracts can be reviewed and amended at any point agreeable to both parties.

To give you some idea, I and most CMs I know don't charge when we're not available - I am surprised a) that your contract doesn't give you any indication of how much holiday she'll take per year and b) that you pay full price for it. I also think that the relevant notice period should be clear.

I would suggest that your best way forward is a contract review and get these terms sorted out.

RosieGirl Sat 23-Feb-13 15:51:48

Agree with the majority of posters on here. Sit down and talk to her and look for an amended contract. You have a basic right to know how many holidays she is going to take and how much notice she will give before taking them.

lechatnoir Sat 23-Feb-13 18:01:33

As a cm who charges for 4 weeks holiday per year (with option for additional 1 week unpaid) I think she is being a bit naughty as having to notify holiday dates at the start of the year so parents can tally dates is surely the only downside of being paid for your annual leave. I didn't realise it was so uncommon not to charge - they recommended it on my pre-reg course so I did & not lost anyone because of it I don't think!

lechatnoir Sat 23-Feb-13 18:04:00

Eta I would discuss with CM about not having usual notice for holidays and if this means Childcare costs then you won't be able to pay her. This is contrary to the terms of your contract so you're essentially asking for an amendment which she may not agree to then you're only options are lump it or move elsewhere I'm afraid.

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