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Is this normal?

(36 Posts)
pikster Thu 31-Mar-16 09:03:52

Hi all,

So, we have an 18 month old, we have him in a nursery in Sheffield just one day a week as my wife works Sat - Mon.

We've been good with them to be fair, I pick him up at 3 so they don't even have him for a full day, we always pay on time and we even pull him out when he is sick, not something I can say for the other parents there...

It's April now so that means its new holiday allowance time at my work, so I have booked some Mondays off in an effort to save some money on Childcare costs by keeping him home. We have given them, probably close to three months notice at this point that this was happening.

Have they still charged us for those days? Yes they have!? They say this is "just the way it goes" and they reckon its in the contract, but I cannot find it in all honesty.

So my question is, is this normal? Is this even legal, have there been any notable cases of this kind of thing being taken further? As this term seems wholly unfair to the consumer and should be something based on a notice period of when you tell them they wont be there so they can adjust their staffing accordingly....

TeaBelle Thu 31-Mar-16 09:05:58

Entirely normal. They can't just not pay someone because you don't need their service for one day. I think you'll struggle to find a nursery that doesn't charge for planned absence

Buckinbronco Thu 31-Mar-16 09:07:41

You need to completely withdraw your child from FT nursery and register them as 4 days a week (if the nursery can accommodate that) to save the money. If you have them registered full time they have a full time space- it doesn't really matter if they are physically there or not because the nursery can't sell that space to someone else

mrschatty Thu 31-Mar-16 09:08:30

Unfortunately this is normal!! I'm looking into nursery's now for my return to work and have been advised that we pay-
1-if child is sick and doesn't come in
2- for a full day even if MIL picks up a 2pm because it's not a half day
3- if we don't send child for any other reason on their normal day (eg parents have a day off so don't send child like your example)
If everyone was to take a day off and not send their child to nursery that day and not pay then the nursery would be effected income wise. Like any other business they need to protect their financial income ti ensure outgoings are met unfortunately

Technoremix Thu 31-Mar-16 09:10:53

It is totally normal. All nurseries charge like this.

Oogle Thu 31-Mar-16 09:11:02

Totally normal. They have to keep your childs space so you should pay for that. At the end of the day they're a business and they have employees to pay and overheads. It's not just about staffing levels but why should a member of staff be told they're not needed and go unpaid just because you want to save some money on childcare costs. How is that fair on that member of staff?!

The alternative option you have is to give 30 days notice that you wish to cancel your childs place on Mondays. You then run the risk of that space not being available when you need him back in nursery.

lborolass Thu 31-Mar-16 09:11:06

Totally normal.

When I used a nursery they calculated an annual cost for the number of days I used them then took off a set holiday allowance (it may have been 2 weeks) and divided that by 12 so I paid the same each month.

It's then swings and roundabouts for different families depending on how much holiday you actually take.

It would be impossible for a nursery to organise staff to take into account each individual child's holdiay pattern.

You're just going to have to suck it up as part of using a nursery

PotteringAlong Thu 31-Mar-16 09:13:36

Completely normal.

meditrina Thu 31-Mar-16 09:16:14

If you requested a permanent change to attendance schedule to PT, and the nursery offers PT places (most do) and they had a PT time which fits your new requirement, then yes you have a very good case for their acting unreasonably.

But if you're just booking him out for a few days, whilst retaining a FT place (which sounds likely unless you have a huge amount of leave outstanding) then yes, it's normal that you will be charged.

Which is it?

kinkytoes Thu 31-Mar-16 09:19:41

Mine offers a 50% discount if you give a month's notice and I actually think that's pretty generous. Look at it from their POV.

OddBoots Thu 31-Mar-16 09:21:55

Normal unless you give notice that this is a permanent change so they can give the session to another child.

Jackiebrambles Thu 31-Mar-16 09:25:00

totally normal, and reasonable. And I'm quite surprised you think they'll 'adjust staffing levels' accordingly. These are qualified people looking after little children. Continuity of care is quite important don't you think?

SallyDonovan Thu 31-Mar-16 09:25:44

Yes, this is standard practice. Have you looked at the contract you signed with them? There is normally something there about not being charged even if your child is ill or on holiday.

It sounds like you haven't communicated effectively with the nursery from your OP. Did you attempt to clarify whether you would be charged or did you just assume you wouldn't be? From their perspective, it just sounds as if you were giving them a heads up about his absence but that's all.

You cannot expect to keep a FT, 5 say a week place at a nursery and only pay for 4 days - it just doesn't work like that and nor should it.

A way around it may be if you switch to a PT, 4 day a week place.

superram Thu 31-Mar-16 09:28:16

I am surprised you have found a nursery that will have him for one day a week at all so I wouldn't Rick the boat. Yes it is completely normal.

Jackiebrambles Thu 31-Mar-16 09:29:40

Re reading I think the op only pays for one day a week in nursery.

The issue op is that the nursery won't be able to fill that space, as you'll want it back when your leave runs out I guess?

NerrSnerr Thu 31-Mar-16 09:42:58

It's completely normal. You pay for that day and it will be tough for them to fill in the occasional Monday. Whether you pick them up at 3pm is your choice, it's not a favour to them.

APotterWithAHappyAtmosphere Thu 31-Mar-16 09:43:00

Yes completely normal as others have said. If your needs have changed you can talk to them about changing contract, but it's like paying for (e.g.) an evening class - unless they specify it's pay as you go, you pay for the whole term or course. It is best for the nursery and best for the children too.

My local childminder doesn't charge for holidays and we only pay per hour so maybe look into that as an alternative?

mouldycheesefan Thu 31-Mar-16 09:44:33

Yes normal.
They can't send home staff unpaid just because you take a day off nursery therefore if you choose not to attend on any given day you still have to pay.
It seems like you misunderstood how things work, hope you haven't wasted precious annual leave!

mouldycheesefan Thu 31-Mar-16 09:45:51

Also, if child only attends nursery one day a week by not attending for several weeks thy effectively won't be at nursery at all for several weeks and you may find settling back in is tricky

dylsmimi Thu 31-Mar-16 09:46:11

Yes completely normal - you pay for that space throughout the year unless it is bank holidays whether your child is there or not.
If they are not there because of holidays, sick, you fancy picking them up early or having an odd day off with them
The nursery still have bills and staff to pay
Imagine how complicated it would be trying to sort out all the children in the nursery who had a half day here and there then a holiday!!

ohidoliketobe Thu 31-Mar-16 09:47:11

Completly normal in every nursery we looked around.
As per PP, where I live you'd struggle to get a nursery to take a child in for 1 day (3 sessions seemed to be the minimum).

Do you have any other concerns with the nursery? Is it clean and safe? Are there decent policies for health and safety, safeguarding, accidents and sickness etc? Do they support your DS' development line with the EYFS? Do they encourage strong home - nursery links to ensure consistency and to make the nursery seem a home from home? Do the children do a variety of activities including outdoor play? Are the staff happy and friendly, do they dote on the children? At drop off my son and his key worker's faces light up when they see each other and I get a half arsed wave goodbye in my general direction!
To me, they're all much more important factors then whether or not I need to pay £39 if I choose not to send DS in one day. If that's your only concern I'd say you're onto a decent nursery and you need to put things into perspective.

Thurlow Thu 31-Mar-16 09:49:32

Completely normal. As others have said, you pay for that space whether you use it or not. They generally can't replace the fees for that one day session, and they have their own bills to pay.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 31-Mar-16 09:52:06

Yes, entirely normal. I'm surprised you're surprised by this.

Fugghetaboutit Thu 31-Mar-16 09:53:13


NerrSnerr Thu 31-Mar-16 09:54:47

When you say 'adjust staffing' is it really that simple? We obviously don't know what you and your wife do as jobs but would expect a day off unpaid if you don't have as much work on? Why should the nursery nurses expect that?

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