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Retainer paid for school holidays guarantees what?

(8 Posts)
nessus Tue 16-Jun-09 00:07:18

Having just read anothere thread on MN, am I right to assume that paying a retainer during school holday means that the childminder has to be available in case of emergency and the space is needed??

Last childminder did not charge a retainer because I never needed her during the holidays but a couple I interviewed last week said they charge 50% - even though I wouldn't need them.

Please help me understand this or is it literally a case of everyone makes up their own rules?!

navyeyelasH Tue 16-Jun-09 00:53:29

As a childminder is self employed they make up their own rules and you as a parent pick which rules and person you like best.

If the childminder is open as usual they could quite easily say to you, "sorry you have to leave in July and there will be no space for you in September as I need to find a child who will pay during the holidays as I am running a business".

You pay a retainer, a fair rate of 50% as decided by this new childminder, to keep the space open until you need it again in September.

If you do need to use the space in the holidays that you pay the retainer for you can, but you will have to pay 100% of the cost on the days you might need - normally.

Does that make sense? Think I just used too many words to describe something very easy!

Numberfour Tue 16-Jun-09 06:23:39

yes, if you are charged a retainer, the childminder has to have that space available for you to use if you want to.

a CM cannot charge a retainer in circumstances where if she took your child on, she would be over her numbers ie, she cannot charge a retainer if the place is not immediately available to you.

KatyMac Tue 16-Jun-09 07:51:54

Well round here there are 2 types of retainer

1) this is to compensate the childminder while you aren't there - this space has to be available

2) a payment to ensure that your space will be available in September - this would not normally enable you to use the space

So get it clarified

HSMM Tue 16-Jun-09 08:01:16

I don't often use retainers, but when I do, the space is available to be used (topped up to 100% fees)

nessus Tue 16-Jun-09 23:44:07

Thanks guys.

I will get it clarified with the childminder I have settled on what the retainer covers so that we both know where we stand.

cat64 Wed 17-Jun-09 00:14:16

Message withdrawn

ayla99 Wed 17-Jun-09 08:20:08

The childminder does not have to be available for emergency cover (unless the contract says otherwise) - you usually have to give a minimum amount of notice to use the place that is being saved for your child. And you have to top up the retainer fee to full fees for the time booked.

The way I manage is to give parents a booking confirmation form prior to each holiday so they can tell me if they need any days or definitely don't need days. My contracts usually say at least 7 days notice to use retained place. If I'm told I'm not needed, I am free to book out the place to another child - in which case the substitute family would pay for the place and the retainer would be waived/refunded for the time the place is no longer available. I don't charge 2 families for the same place iyswim. The more notice I get, the more likely I can book out the place to someone else.

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