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Late Charge - £5 per minute - WTF!!!!

(24 Posts)
Katyathegringa Fri 03-Dec-10 13:40:00

DD's nursery has suddenly decided that they will be charging £5 PER MINUTE if you're late collecting your child.

I know nurseries charge for being late, and accept that, but £5 per minute....SERIOUSLY!?? It's ridiculous. £1 or £2 fine, but £5?!

Their excuse is that it is a deterrent, but that doesn't mean that people won't find themselves in a position of having to pay it due to circumstances out of their control (being stuck on a tube for example) - so, for example, I am 10 minutes late, I then have to pay them £50 - jesus!

I feel as though they're taking advantage of us. Any thought?

scurryfunge Fri 03-Dec-10 13:41:01

Just knock off their fees at the same rate if you pick up early.

dribbleface Fri 03-Dec-10 14:37:43

We have a similar published charge (£5 for first 10 minutes) and then £5 per part 5 mins after that. One off lateness/if tubes are up creak we do not charge but reserve the right when the same parent arrives late each week.

TiggyD Fri 03-Dec-10 19:25:44

The staff have lives and they want to live them. They've not just decided to devote themselves to looking after your children. By being late you are forcing the staff to work compulsory overtime. They don't like it.

Having said that, £5 a minute is a bit steep. It's £300 per hour. £1-2 per minute seems fine. I suggest you arrange somebody else to pick up if you're late.

milly44 Fri 03-Dec-10 19:33:00

£5 per minute would be set as a deterrent for parents who habitually collect their children late. Nurseries are legally required to have at least two members of staff on site even with one child. The late fee is a deterrent! Don't collect late and you won't get charged. We have to pay our staff overtime.

Fayrazzled Fri 03-Dec-10 19:38:26

The reason it is set so high is that if it is at a more reasonable level, some parents will basically choose to pay the fine in order to collect their child later- they will feel justified in collecting late because they've bought the privilege. There is an interesting chapter in Freakonomics on this unintended effect when some nurseries introduced late penalties: parental lateness actually increased rather than decreased.

milly44 Fri 03-Dec-10 19:38:41

Forgot to add in previous post. We did set a lower late collection charge years ago and parents still turned up late and just paid the small fee - no deterrent at all and very unhappy staff! As soon as we upped the the late fee charge strangely enough the situation improved. Of course, we are discretionary if it is a one off late collection due to tube etc. The fee is to deter habitual late collectors. Works for us as we hardly ever have to charge our parents!

Katyathegringa Mon 06-Dec-10 13:12:07

The problem is in situations when you're stuck on the tube, with no way of contacting either someone to collect her, or the nursery itself...you end up being charged an absolute fortune through no fault of your own. For those who basically use the nursery as a babysitting service I understand, but those of us who don't, and are very reliable (except for the very occasional problem with transport) are being penalised for the behaviour of others. I think I am going to have to find another nursery to be honest.

PussinJimmyChoos Mon 06-Dec-10 13:15:34

When DS was in nursery, they introduced late fees - we were hardly ever late and when we were, they waived it for us as they knew it was a one off. DH still gave them £20 for staff cakes or something the next day as we felt so bad about it and insisted they take it

I think its more for those who are habitually late - there are parents that view the nursery as a babysitting service if they are late and the staff do have lives and homes to go to

dribbleface Mon 06-Dec-10 15:49:26

Katy - is quite common in most nurseries. Is there any thing else your not happy with. Have you expressed your concerns to them? Like I said we use it very very rarely, think once in the past 2 yrs (for a parents who was late every week and i warned her on the 4th time it happened, she was still late the next week) - not that its any of my business but she would walk past the nursery on way home from work and then arrive late with wet hair (guessing gym or something)

There is no way we would charge you if your late very occassionally, and to be honest if one parent is late due to trains/traffic then lots are and we don't charge in these circumstances.

cakeywakey Mon 06-Dec-10 16:06:35

I think that nurseies have to do something to deter the repeat offenders. My DDs nursery charges £15 even if you are only two minutes late. They also have a three strikes and you're out policy - you will actually lose your child's place.

It's not fair on the staff for people to be late, but policies like these can unfortunately catch out parents who are held up by circumstances outside of their control.

Poogles Mon 06-Dec-10 16:21:42

If parent's are late then at least 2 staff have to stay past their time so I think it is very fair that they cahrge and agree that it has to be high to be a deterrant.

That said, our old nursery had a charging policy but I don't think ever really enforced it.

I was late by about 10 minutes on one occasion - lost track of time at work and then got stuck in traffic! I apologised when I arrived and they told me not to worry as I didn't make a habit out of it. I think most nurseries will allow for a parent to be late on the odd occasion due to events outside of their control but would want to discourage habitual late collecters.

Have you spoken to the nursery manager about this? It may be that the have had to change the policy to try and deter some parents who are frequently late but don't expect to charge by the minute for every parent.

jade80 Mon 06-Dec-10 16:24:54

It's because some parents persistently turn up five or ten minutes late, which really isn't fair on the staff. Mine has a similar rule, but it is at the discretion of staff. If it is someone who is usually on time, but has a car or work problem then fine, no charge. But those who just can't be bothered to get there on time get whacked by a big charge, so staff are more likely to be able to leave on time.

jade80 Mon 06-Dec-10 16:28:39

Just a thought- have you actually been charged this yet? It's perfectly possible they will overlook it for you if you aren't one of the persistently late parents. If you're late once every couple of months I would be surprised if they did charge you full whack. But if you make a habit of it, they probably will charge you, but that sounds fair enough to me (in fact that's probably why they have started doing it, to deal with parents who do that).

eviscerateyourmemory Mon 06-Dec-10 16:32:59

I think that this is fair enough, I expect that they have introduced this because the staff at the nursery are finding that some children are persistantly not being picked up on time.

I dont think that they are taking advantage, because if no-one is late then the fee will never need to be paid.

belgo Mon 06-Dec-10 16:35:37

I agree with evi. They are doing this out of frustration at the parents who are persistently late, who always have an excuse, and who never accept that it is their responsibility to pick up their child on time. I know how hard it is to always be on time but being a responsible parent is hard sometimes.

pollywollyhadadollycalledmolly Mon 06-Dec-10 16:35:59

I think it sounds fair.

Hopefully they wld let you off the first time or if it only happens once every 6 months or once a year etc.

But they obv have a problem with parents taking the mick and turning up late, quite often or being very late.

I can only imagine there wld be nothing worse than being held up at work, missing your train/bus etc and then getting paid buttons for it. People need to live their lives! lol

Katyathegringa Tue 07-Dec-10 10:53:16

The only way I found out about it was that I was held up at work and asked DD's godfather to collect her for me. He totally forgot and had driven half way across London to do something else by the time he received a very panicked call from me, so was 20 minutes late by the time he got back.

I absolutely agree with charging for lateness, but the staff hadn't even advertised the fact that they were changing policy so it was news to me when I was asked to pay £100 (!) - I was expecting £40 at the most. They also have their clock moved forward by about 10 minutes, and I have asked them about this before (even showing them the actual time on the internet) as, if you are going to charge by the minute, you need to make damn sure that you have the time correct.

SantaIsMyLoveSlave Tue 07-Dec-10 10:59:35

Part of the trouble with this is that research has shown that if you charge a "reasonable" amount for late pickup then lateness actually increases in the medium-long term (versus the situation if you don't charge at all) as a subgroup of parents see it as an extra service they can pay for ("I'll just pick up a little late and pay the £15").

So realistically choices are between not charging at all and accepting the associated random lateness (which is what our nursery does), charging a relatively low fee and seeing systematic lateness increase, or charging a high fee to ensure that parents will never ever be late if they can possibly avoid it (but unfortunately meaning that you're hitting only those parents who really couldn't avoid being late).

Katyathegringa Tue 07-Dec-10 13:56:32

it would have been nice to be told though, how can something act as a deterrent if you aren't aware of it?

jade80 Tue 07-Dec-10 18:10:24

Totally agree they should have told you, and think that if they haven't told anyone then you should argue your case and not pay. Are you sure you didn't miss a letter or perhaps a sign in the nursery? If they haven't informed you then have a word (do check you didn't miss the letter first though!)

Katyathegringa Wed 08-Dec-10 08:51:03

Yep, I checked and no letter has been sent out or other communication. I've now agreed with them that I'm not paying in this instance (although I did offer them the £40 that I thought I would be charged but the manager refused it....will put it towards their xmas present instead) and have said that they need to communicate polciy changes to the parents.

Katyathegringa Wed 08-Dec-10 08:51:16

policy - of course

jade80 Wed 08-Dec-10 14:31:38

I'm glad you've sorted it out to your satisfaction- and very nice of you to put the £40 towards presents!

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