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Should I serve notice?

(24 Posts)
Circlesroundandround Wed 04-Dec-19 13:19:12

Am I being too hasty?

Childminders and nursery places are like gold dust where we live. After a long search (I was still pregnant when I started looking) we found a childminder. Childminder is great with little one, dc is very happy in the setting but ........... over the course of 16 months the childminder has gone off sick on 5 occasions each lasting at least 2/3 days at a time. This has resulted in me calling in sick to work or taking holiday at very short notice. I now don't have much time off with the family at Christmas and it makes my sickness record really bad (I am also trying to look for a new job so could do without a bad sickness record). I am concerned that my employers understanding is wearing thin. DH works away so childcare falls to me.

I appreciate if the childminder is unwell then she is not able to look after dc and of course being around children you do pick up bugs etc. The childminder does not charge when ill but its more the inconvenience of it all and as mentioned I am sure my employer is getting annoyed and I understand that. At one stage I voluntary paid for the sickness incidents as I was concerned for the childminder. I think her illness was stress/mental health related and thought she needed some time to recoup but she said she couldn’t afford to be off so I paid anyway. I think she does have stress/mental health issues but I don't think this has impacted dc and dc is always well cared for.

I know some amount of sickness is to be expected, I accept that with a childminder but is this too much? I am looking into alternative childcare options or am I being too hasty considering that in all other aspects things work. I am also concerned that by serving notice I won't be helping the childminders stress/mental health issues but this is really is becoming a big issue for us and our family

OP’s posts: |
Apple40 Wed 04-Dec-19 17:03:07

If using a childminder no longer works for you it’s probably best to start looking into alternative care like a nursery that way if someone is off sick you do still have the care. Sadly that is one of the down sides of using a childminder if they or member of the family are ill and they have to close you have no care. I have to say the only times I have had to close was when a parent was dishonest with the fact there child had been up with a sick bug the night before( not saying this is you) and that night my whole family and myself went down with it, the parent then kicked off as she no longer had care and needed to work.

GreenTulips Wed 04-Dec-19 17:06:32

Some childminders do a deal or a rota to help each other out - local ones here are made up of 5/6 minders who go to groups so the kids know each other.

Might be an option

SeaViewBliss Wed 04-Dec-19 17:12:26

I keep seeing lately that people are taking sick leave to look after sick kids. You aren't sick yourself so why sick leave?

Genuine question.

Circlesroundandround Wed 04-Dec-19 18:25:52

Just purely because I am not sure what the alternative would be. I have also been using holiday at short notice to cover. I have used emergency leave but I think I have exhausted this option with my employer now.

OP’s posts: |
Circlesroundandround Wed 04-Dec-19 18:30:48

Definitely haven’t done that here. In fact I tend to air on the side of caution with sending DC if I think bug/illness Is looming. Especially as childminder works with other families and has her own children. Wouldn’t be fair.

Trouble is I like having a childminder opposed to nursery. I know illness happens and I understand this can occur, maybe we have just been unlucky with the amount of episodes.

OP’s posts: |
Todaythiscouldbe Wed 04-Dec-19 18:31:08

You should be using emergency leave. It may be unpaid though

Circlesroundandround Wed 04-Dec-19 18:31:53

Yes good back up but when I have asked no one has availability to take little one 🥴

OP’s posts: |
TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Wed 04-Dec-19 18:34:40

The problem here is the fact that your husband works away. He needs to look for something nearer so both of you can share those days

Circlesroundandround Wed 04-Dec-19 18:36:48

I have done this but think I have now exhausted this option. Understandably my employer is also getting annoyed. Aside from the fact I couldn’t afford to not get paid. Sadly if this was an option I would be a stay at home parent.

OP’s posts: |
Fouroutoffour Wed 04-Dec-19 18:44:51

It's really not on to call in sick yourself when your childminder has to close. I know that plenty of people do it, but I'd say that that your employer would take a far dimmer view of that than of you taking last-minute annual leave or emergency leave. I know in my workplace it would count as gross misconduct/ dismissal and I don't have the option of taking annual leave, so we either fork out for an emergency sitter, DH takes AL or I take emergency leave. In our case, DS has missed 4.5 weeks off nursery over the past three months. It's not possible to "exhaust" the option of emergency leave, it's a legal right. You can get emergency babysitters through websites like or

Fouroutoffour Wed 04-Dec-19 18:48:41

And yes, it costs a bomb. We have used money that was earmarked for paying off a loan from a family member and have realised that saving up for a deposit is going to have to wait a bit longer. No Christmas parties for us this year. If your CM closes and you're not required to pay you're daft to do so out of some sense of guilt. Nursery still needs to be paid. Sorry OP, I'm probably being a grump, but something about your OP grates on me.

Rainycloudyday Wed 04-Dec-19 18:54:01

A huge part of this problem is that your husband is taking any share of the leave so your employer is taking the full force. His job is not family friendly so without a stay at home partner, he simply needs to rethink it. You (plural) don’t have the luxury of him working away and opting out of this aspect of parenting entirely. It is evident from your situation that one parent taking all the days off simply isn’t viable if they also want to maintain a career. Your problem would be totally manageable if it was shared.

Serious chat with husband needed.

MoonlightBonnet Wed 04-Dec-19 18:59:09

Her DH could be in the armed forces away serving, there’s not much point in suggesting he leaves his job.

OP, personally I think that as the sole back up care you need to use a nursery instead of a childminder.

BritInUS1 Wed 04-Dec-19 19:01:51

You shouldn't be taking sick leave when your children are sick, you should be asking for emergency dependents leave

Circlesroundandround Wed 04-Dec-19 19:02:04

Yes there is an element of that but it’s not that simple just to change jobs unfortunately.

OP’s posts: |
misspiggy19 Wed 04-Dec-19 19:05:16

*over the course of 16 months the childminder has gone off sick on 5 occasions each lasting at least 2/3 days at a time.*

^I would get rid and look for someone more reliable.

PlatoAteMySnozcumber Wed 04-Dec-19 19:16:28

I would never use a nanny or childminder for this exact reason. I would be far more inclined to put my child into a nursery than get my partner to quit his job, I am not quite sure why that has been suggested when there is clearly a much better option.

1CantPickAName Fri 06-Dec-19 10:55:40

I think it’s unreasonable of pp to suggest the problem here is that your dh works away?! Or questioning why you are taking sick leave when you are not sick!?

The problem is that you have unreliable childcare. For whatever reason, your childminder has not been able to meet her contractual obligation to you and your child. It is time to move on and find an alternative childminder.
I would have an honest conversation with her and say that you are having problems with work due to the amount of sick leave she has taken, you understand that it is important for her not to work when she is sick, but you are going to have to make alternative arrangements.

10-15 days sick in 16 months is a lot by anyone’s standards. I have had 2 days in 2 years, I work very closely with 17 other childminders and nannies in a cooperative/network and between us we’ve had about 12 sick days in the past 5 years.

jannier Fri 06-Dec-19 21:57:08

That's a lot of illness and not normal. I work alongside loads of cms and none take time off unless it's really bad most of us dont even have a day a last unplanned day was 18 months ago...migraine...and cm friends stepped in.
I'd talk to her about what's going on and the problem its causing if its stress and mental health related it is affecting her care if she cant come up with a plan I'd look at others and ask what they do if Ill. Cms can have co minders, assistants and network.

NameChaChaChanges Wed 01-Jan-20 12:39:10

I'd switch to a nursery personally. We used a great childminder for DC1 and she was very reliable, but in a single carer situation there will always be times when the childminder is unavailable. If your employer isn't understanding, and you have no back up, then you would really be better off with a nursery.

We've opted to send DC2 to a nursery, partly for unrelated logistical reasons, and partly because (particularly with two children in the mix) the address reliability of a nursery feels necessary.

I'm of the opinion that a small home setting has many advantages for small children, but unfortunately as working parents there has to be some practicality in the decision too. We're lucky that we have a lovely nursery local to us, and we know the staff as it's part of DC1s preschool, so I'm relatively comfortable with the decision. It's hard though!

I don't think you should keep your child with the CM to help with their mental health/well-being. As difficult as it is, that isn't your responsibility. What about your well-being/the stress caused by absence of childcare? It works both ways!

NameChaChaChanges Wed 01-Jan-20 12:40:22

added not address! hmm

looselegs Sat 04-Jan-20 18:28:46

Maybe the childminder is ill because she's picking up bugs off the children?
Dies she have a childminder friend that you could use as back up?

itsaboojum Fri 10-Jan-20 11:17:23

Be aware that children frequently lose more time at nursery than a childminder, because they get ill more often. This crops up on MN from time to time, and was a theme just before Christmas.

In my area, nurseries close at thedrop of a hat if it snows, and poor infrastructure results in regular plumbing, electrical emergencies, etc.

A recent trend is the volume of nurseries than can no longer afford agency staff to cover sicknesses. So they either operate illegally or turn away families at the door.

It is now a regular thing in my area for childminders to get emergency (ie. immediate) childcare requests from nursery customers.

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