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Is the childminder right to charge me this way?

(112 Posts)
Fiona2011231 Wed 19-Nov-14 20:04:54

Could you pls advise?

Since September, for the first time I have been using a childminder. We pay her a full-day fee (8 hours) for fiver days per week.

During the week, there is one day when we always pick up our child one hour early. However, we still pay her the full-day service. Initially we did not know we could have picked up the child early. And when we know that we could, we still pay her the full fee.

Last week, we came a bit late, exactly 6 minutes late. She said that we need to pay her for another half an hour.

This is not about the money. I want to ask if her payment request is normal for a childminder. On our part, we had thought since we always pay the full fee even though we pick up the child early once a week, she would be more reasonable when we are a bit late.

Is my expectation reasonable? From now on, should we not pay the full fee on the day when we can pick up the child one hour early?

Your advice is greatly appreciated.

If you don't pay her for that last hour, she won't be able to replace that hour's lost wages - presumably the hours are in your contract with her, so she is expecting a certain income.

If you turn up late, are you expecting her to look after your child for free? Are the late pick-up penalties in the contract?

You could try to negotiate with her - ask if she could balance the hour that you pick,up early with the occasional late pick up - though having never used a childminder myself, I don't know if that is possible or if she would welcome it.

Remember, late pick-ups cut into her personal time - I don't think anyone likes having to do extra work for free.

Mrsgrumble Wed 19-Nov-14 20:09:47

I think she should have used her discretion here and not charged you for the extra few minutes as it was not typical of you. (I totally undersad how annoying it must be though as her day was done)

So I would certainly ask for a reduction for the days you pick your little one up early.

It was mean of her.

noblegiraffe Wed 19-Nov-14 20:10:04

If you want to pay reduced fees then she is perfectly allowed to ditch you and find a child who will attend the full hours.

You are taking a full time place so it is reasonable to charge you for a full time place.

Re late fees, it should be in your contract.

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 19-Nov-14 20:10:32

You need to pay what is in the contract.

If she specifies a late fee then you have to pay it. If she wants to be paid for the full day even when you pick-up early then you need to pay that. A childminder runs their own business so you either do want they want or you don't use their service.

Many childminders will have a late fee. Although charging for a one-off 6 minutes late does seem a bit harsh.

BellaBearisWideAwake Wed 19-Nov-14 20:12:50

Can I get this straight? You pay for the last hour but you don't use it. Yet you were also charged half an hour for six minutes of an hour you had paid for anyway?

PrimalLass Wed 19-Nov-14 20:13:20

If she charged me for a one-off 6 minutes late then the trust would be gone.

I am self employed and charge by the hour. I would not add an hour in for a project that ran 6 minutes over.

bamboostalks Wed 19-Nov-14 20:13:32

I think a bit of discretion on her behalf would have been appropriate. Don't really get purposeful aggravating of clients. As for not paying the hour, well you can ask can't you and if you're paying by the hour she should take it off.

BellaBearisWideAwake Wed 19-Nov-14 20:14:19

Or were you late on a day when you used the whole day?

I suppose that, as far as the childminder is concerned, she has no way of knowing that the six minutes late was a 'one off'.

Maybe she has had bad experiences in the past with parents who start out punctual but then start turning up late just occasionally, and it just built up to real piss-taking - and she has decided better to crack down first time than to get taken advantage of again?

Or she's seen that happen to other childminders she knows - I have certainly read anecdotes about it on here, so it does happen.

mamadoc Wed 19-Nov-14 20:21:09

She was within her rights to charge you for being late but it does seem harsh.

The early pick up is neither here nor there. You pay for the hours you contracted to pay for and if you want to pay for one hour less you must ask for a change to your contract. It is completely separate and can't be 'traded off' against lateness. I doubt it would go down well if you suggest this.

Otherwise where will it end from CM POV.
There will be tit for tat arguing 'I was 10mins early to pick up on Monday' 'well you were 20 mins late to pick up on Tues'

The hope is that you develop a good relationship where she will let you off 5mins occasional lateness with good reason as long as she knows it won't become a regular habit.

(Other settings would charge just the same or more BTW. My son's CM used to let me off occasional lateness but my daughters afterschool club charged me a huge fine for literally a one off 5 mins lateness in 3 years)

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 19-Nov-14 20:23:24

I think it could be a 'start as you mean to go on thing'. I bet the OP will try very hard not to be late again. If the childminder had a more relaxed approach....6 minutes creeps to 10 and then 15, a one off becomes once a month and then once a fortnight and then once a week.

Fiona2011231 Wed 19-Nov-14 20:24:32

Thank you for all your kind replies. I appreciate that you spend your time to share your thought and advice with me.

To answer the question on whether I pay by the hour or the full day, the contract states that I pay for the full day. So after re-reading the contract, I agree that legally, the childminder does nothing wrong as I am required to pay for the full day even though I pick up the child early.

That being said, I still think she could have been more reasonable. But I agree that she has the right to charge.

Mrsgrumble Wed 19-Nov-14 20:27:11

Fair enough op but i wouldnt be oveky impressed ith her and I wouldn't bother giving her ny kind of Christmas present - a tiny bit of wiggle room isn't much to ask. I am very kind to my cm, but she is very kind to me

thanks the man above I have a lovely cm

OhReallyDear Wed 19-Nov-14 20:31:10

It is her right to ask. It is greedy and a little bit ridiculous, but she has the right to make you pay

Mintyy Wed 19-Nov-14 20:33:52

Fiona, it's fairly obvious that the childminder has to charge you for the full day even though you regularly pick up an hour early. That's because she can't magic up another child to look after for that odd hour to make up her salary. You pay her by the day, not the hour. I'm surprised you would even ask about this, as it surely must be obvious?

I do think she was mean to fine you for lateness, however. She should give you at least one day's grace, and charge you if you are late on the next occasion.

TooMuchCantBreathe Wed 19-Nov-14 20:37:52

Am I right, Mon - Thurs (for example) you pay for 8 hrs and use 8 hrs. Fri you pay for 8 hrs and use 7.

One Fri you used 7 hrs + 6 mins and were charged a late fee for the 6 mins?

If so she is wrong (morally and contractually unless she has a strange contract) if you were late on an 8 hr day then she is right.

HSMMaCM Wed 19-Nov-14 20:41:32

I charge full days. I charge double time for lateness, but for a few minutes the first time, I would just give a warning, even though my contract allows me to charge.

ProveMeWrong Wed 19-Nov-14 21:11:59

I think if she is going to be this stringent, I would want her to put the exact procedure in her contract. Frankly, she has been harsh. I do understand some parents really start to take the piss, but she could have just said something to you the first time it has ever happened. With my lovely cm, I was very occasionally late and she was relaxed about it. In turn, whenever I could be early, I was as I knew this eased her burden.i also paid her a little more per hour than the rate she wanted to charge me as I wanted to pay the amount I felt was correct for the job she was doing. I don't think your cm's approach is encouraging the good relationship it can be, even if it's contractually and legally correct.

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 19-Nov-14 21:55:05

I think we should bear in mind that half an hour at childminder rates is likely to be less than £5. It's not a massive fine.

TooMuch you've misunderstood. She was late i.e. outside her contracted hours. So she pays 8-6 (regardless of whether she collects early or not) for example and turned up at 6.06pm. If she turned up at 5.06pm she'd have been 54 minutes early and not 6 minutes late.

TooMuchCantBreathe Thu 20-Nov-14 01:16:44

Where did the op say that outraged? I wanted to clarify because I can't see where she's said which day that's all?

LittleBearPad Thu 20-Nov-14 01:26:32

Because Toomuch that wouldn't be logical. The OP can't be 6 minutes late on an early pick-up day, she'd be 54 minutes early.

Fines are pretty common for childcare. Be grateful it wasn't £5 per 5 minutes as in some nurseries.

LardyDa Thu 20-Nov-14 01:27:04

I think the CM should have used her discretion if it was a once off.

SavoyCabbage Thu 20-Nov-14 01:27:18

I think she could have just given you a warning for being late the first time.

I don't think the hour early should be taken into consideration or used as a trade off.

Cullercoats88 Thu 20-Nov-14 08:50:48

It does seem a little tight-fisted, however I've been there where a parent is constantly 10mins late and I always wished I just charged from the start!

Also worth noting 30mins fee for me would be £2.50 so it's not going to break the bank, but if you are miffed you need to mention it. She hasn't done anything wrong but you need to be very open with one another!!

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