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Paying for childcare... can I do this...is it legal?

(14 Posts)
Dysgu Tue 16-Jun-09 17:43:06

I am wondering if any childminders can help me.

I am currently on maternity leave with DD2. DD1 has continued to go to CM for two (shorter) sessions each week throughout ML.

I am returning to work in September and have been working out how much childcare is going to cost me...

I am a teacher. Both children will be going to CM 4 days a week during term time. Neither will be going at all during holidays (apart from one week in the summer holidays as my school finishes 'early' and they will go to CM according to local school dates to give me a week to tidy up etc at the end of the school year).

I have not taken any sibling discount into account when doing my figures - not sure how this will work in practice as DD1 will be in pre-school for two days each week. CM will take her there both days and will collect her on one day. Is there likely to be a sibling discount (I know she does have one) for when she has both of them together) do you think?

When doing my figures I have assumed she will not charge me for the time DD1 is at pre-school. (I think some CMs do charge but I do not think DD1 being in pre-school means she can't take children during day - DD1's short sessions since Christmas have been starting after the morning school run and finishing before the afternoon school run and I know she has other children who arrive and leave at these times.

I pay a 25% retainer for the weeks when we do not use her service.

The children do not go to her on Mondays - so no Bank Holidays included in my figures to complicate things.

SO... my figures show that the 'cheapest' month will cost us £216.57 and the 'most expensive' will cost us £1082.85. We do use childcare vouchers to pay part of this.

MY REAL QUESTION IS - having done all the figures is it legal to suggest that we total up the cost of 12 months childcare (when they only actually go for 40 weeks) and pay the same amount each month regardless of what the cost that month would actually be?

This would be a total of £776.04 each calendar month. It would make it much easier for us to budget and, presumably it would be easier for her too?

She is fabulous and I know she is happy to have both of them for the times I need her. But can she accept monthly payments like this or is there some form of paperwork that means her monthly money has to exactly match up to the service she has provided that month?

Dysgu Tue 16-Jun-09 17:44:24

Oh - and I know you may say, just go and talk to her, but DD1 is not going this week and, if this system is not allowed, then I will simply pay her for each month as and when she charges me for that month's care.

Lostmykeys Tue 16-Jun-09 17:46:49

I pay a set monthly fee with mine, in fact she suggested it. Works out much better all round

LesbianMummy1 Tue 16-Jun-09 17:55:24

that is what most of my mindees do everybody knows where they are etc just remember extra holidays childminders days off etc may have to be negotiated

aGalChangedHerName Tue 16-Jun-09 17:59:51

That's exactly what i do for all my parents. Easier for me as i earn the same set fee each month and they know the fees are not going up and down all the time.

She will probably love the idea of a set fee.

Dysgu Tue 16-Jun-09 18:06:16

Brilliant. Thank you for such quick replies.

I thought it made more sense now that we are paying for 2 DC to go.

I've done this for the past 3 years - that way, you know what you're paying every month and we have a steady income even when we don't have your DC. Just clarify what happens if the contract is terminated for any reason - you could either end up over or underpaying, depending on the time of year it happens.

Standing order from parents to my a/c is good too - no waiting for cqes to clear. Some cms do a sibling discount but many don't, you need to ask her.

Just remember that should you leave before the year is up you might have to be refunded or pay over more to square it all up properly. Please don't leave before the year though, it's a bugger to work it out!!!! blush

Dysgu Tue 16-Jun-09 19:58:22

I have no likelihood of leaving before the end of the year. DD1 has been going 4 days a week during term time since she was 7mo (is 2.9yo now) and it is her second home. I even had to drop her there as an emergency when DD2 arrived on Xmas eve!

I don't foresee the CM stopping - she has had a change of circumstances since we started with her and has kept us on. She did have to decrease the number of her mindees but, due to DD1 almost livng there in term time she chose to keep us.

She is fabulous and DD2 is sure to be really happy there too.

However, I will bear in mind how much we have paid and how much we have'spent' so that, should anything change, we will be able to settle up.

Thanks again.

atworknotworking Tue 16-Jun-09 20:01:43

This system is great, unless you change hours, leave etc as TOMP says it's a right bugger to work out, I've got one to do, I know it will take me at least a couple of hours to sort sad.

I don't give sibling discount, and I would charge if I dropped off at pre-school for the time child was their, not all do but I think it's the norm rather than the exception to do it this way, I don't charge if I don't drop off, but I wouldn't collect if their was an emergency either, whereas I would if I was charging.

Dysgu Tue 16-Jun-09 20:21:42

Yes, that is a good point about charging so that she can be the emergency pick up.

I will need to check that - my mum would be able to be the emergency pick up most of the time, I think but it is something I had not thought of.

And, TBH, when we work out how much it will cost us, paying even while DD1 is at pre-school will not make a huge difference to the total amount when we would have peace of mind of emergency pick up.

Gosh, so many things to consider once you bring pre-school into the equation.

Littlefish Tue 16-Jun-09 20:25:41

I pay my childminder for the time dd is at pre=-school as she drops of and picks her up.

HSMM Tue 16-Jun-09 20:34:12

I do this and I give the parents a monthly statement, so we know who is ahead/behind and it's easier when hours change/people leave/etc. I only do it if a standing order is set up though .....

Dysgu Wed 17-Jun-09 07:48:38

I would prefer to set up a standing order as then we all know where we stand.

I have already drawn up an outline that would show how much we would have paid and how much we would have 'spent'. However, because the school year starts with a 5-week month it looks like she will get less than we owe in total for quite a while. Do you think I should start paying in August so that she is ahead or is it unlikely to matter.

And I will have to see what she normally does regarding pre-school and charging. On one of the days DD1 goes, I hope to be picking her up so maybe my mum should be the emergency pick up on that day. And if I pay CM for the other day then she would be the emergency contact on that day.

I now have a growing list of questions to ask her when we set up the contract for DD2 and increase DD1's hours again.

This has been really helpful. If i had not asked on here then the discussion with CM would have taken ages - now I know what to ask.

Thank you all.

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