View Full Version : Contracts and change of hours

27-03-2016, 05:59 PM
I have looked after a 3 yo for 18 months or so and he's just accessing funding from me now.
From sept though I'm fairly sure he's going to go to nursery class of our local school for his hours as his sister is at the school and it gets them ready for reception (they all move up together) - his sister has said he's going, his mum hasn't mentioned it but days wont be confirmed until April.
I have him 2 days a week and I fully expect to be told at the last minute they want me to do collection only at 3pm on whatever days, so he'll obviously block a full day space. Do I have to change his hours if they give me notice or is it at my discretion?
I'm happy to collect him on days another mindee leaves at 245, as they wont overlap but would be reluctant to block a whole day space, and they won't even consider that they might be charged for the space while he's there which I'd rather not do anyway.
Hoping mum will discuss with me in advance but she doesn't like to keep me in the loop until the last minute... I was informed of their holiday this week last Wednesday! Just want to know where I stand in case it's dropped on me

27-03-2016, 06:09 PM
no you don't have to accommodate them - your contract is to provide set hours - if they want to change their contract it has to be a mutual decision and like you say they will be blocking a full day place so you need to consider whether you want to accommodate them on a day convenient to you (the child that leaves at 2.45) but then again - what if that child leaves? You will be unable to fill the space. Unless they are willing to pay full day I would be reluctant to accommodate.
Could you ask their intentions and ask them to let you know as soon as they do?

27-03-2016, 06:25 PM
Ok that's a bit of a relief, and was hoping that was the case but doubted myself!
Yes I'm planning on asking outright when school places are confirmed I think, I've put in recent newsletter about please letting me know in advance as I'm full up so can't accommodate everyone without notice!
They leave things to the last minute I feel in the hope it leaves me no chance to do anything about it, holiday is always told the week before, presumably so I can't book the time off myself as they pay when they're away, yet if they let me know I'd try and take my time off at the same time and then wouldn't charge them at all!
But I can only ask so many times!

Thanks for clarifying about changes to contract, I'm reluctant to block a whole day space, especially as this little boy can be lovely but at other times quite a handful, to be polite!

28-03-2016, 10:46 AM
Changing the hours is a significant change, so it requires the full notice period. Technically, they'd be ending the contract, then deciding whether or not to sign a wholly new contract, although in many such cases you can just write up a 'contract variation' which details the changes, when they take effect, and is signed/dated by both parties. Check with your insurer: they may be happy for you to do a contract variation, or may insist you write out a whole new contract.

Either way, you can take it as an opportunity to renegotiate any (or all) the other contract terms, such as fees, holidays, meals, whatever......

Just remember that all things require both parties' agreement, and neither you nor mum can dictate terms. So, frinstance, you don't have to agree to days/times that don't suit. By the same token, you may wish to be paid whilst the lo is at nursery, but if Mum can't/won't pay then that may be a deal-breaker and she looks to another provider/family member to do the job.

I said the full notice period (usually 4 week, but it'll be whatever your contract says) applies to the change, as if the child were leaving. Obviously, you can use a shorter time if you both agree.

I see you're concerned mum might give very short notice of the exact requirements/times, etc. I would therefore make it clear now that any change would require 4 weeks (or contracted notice period). I'd also tell her that the sooner she sorts it out , the better. You may get other enquiries and she can't expect you to turn them down or wait for her to get her act together. If she delays, you may have already made other arrangements that make fulfilling her future needs impossible. No matter if you don't expect other enquiries: in this game, you never can tell, and I wouldn't regard it as deceiving mum to make this clear to her.

One final point. Despite the popular view amongst CMs, there are opportunities to fill spaces whilst a child is at another setting. IME, most CMs saying they can't do this really mean they've never seriously tried or simply don't want to. That's not a personal criticism; it's a general reality. I and other CM friends have filled such spaces with funded children whose mums don't go to work, or done it to give grandparents a free morning, or for self-employed mums who can choose their own hours (e.g. domestic cleaning, visiting hairdressing, or working from home). It's definitely a possibility, but it does have to fit with what you and this mum want. If mum requires you to be available for holidays too, or if the child needs collecting from nursery in an emergency*, then it's possibly a non-starter.

*Even in hypothetical emergency collection promises, try to be consistent. I know a few mums who are very angry with their respective CMs over this. They've paid the CM while the child is at another setting. They believe it's because the CM is saving a space for them in an emergency. Then an emergency arises and the CM refuses to collect, usually because the child has taken ill, but also because the CM has gone out and can't get to the other setting quickly. I can think of few things more likely to p155 off a client than charging them to be available all the time, then not doing what they've paid for the very moment that need arises.

28-03-2016, 11:04 AM
Wise words Bunyip.

In some cases you have mentioned I personally feel the Cms ratio can be applied ...but no point in revisiting that issue as we know what Cms feel about this.

Maybe worth keeping it in mind when attending meetings/conferences on the 30 Hours...thanks for highlighting it as I will surely put in on my agenda for the next meetings I will go to.

Sooner or later the DfE will have to clarify the Cms ratios in view of the fact there is an acute shortage of spaces with Cms leaving and Children's Centres closing...a really mess :rolleyes:...and... Oh! wait the govt will blame the previous party for the loss of spaces while Gyimah says many children will attend up to 3 settings to access 30 hours...why? when the answer is under his very nose but he wears blinkers!

28-03-2016, 11:48 AM
I'm just waiting for someone to invent the 'Academy Childminder' along the academy schools model.

= No rules; no experience; no qualifications. Do what they h3ll they like, how they like, then rig the inspections to make them look good. :p

28-03-2016, 12:10 PM
This is it, I'd rather not charge while he's at nursery as if it were me I'd struggle to afford it, and it defeats the object of the free hours really, and I am currently sending my own son to the same nursery for the same reasons this child will go so I completely get why they would switch to it for their free hours, however I am fairly sure they would want me to have him in holidays, and while I'm full up and have enquiries fairly frequently I've never had term time only enquiries, especially for shorter hours.
My little one that leave just before school run is all year around, and while she can be flexible with days so I could change her days to match the school days I need the space, in holidays I'd effectively need to go over ratio which I probably could under COC but with this child unless behaviour dramatically improves I certainly don't want to go over ratio!
Very grateful for advice, will ask face to face outright once I know school nursery places are out, it may be they're delaying as the days haven't been confirmed yet. If they choose to leave it until August then it may be too late as other mums with little ones starting schools have already started conversations with me about what space I have in the settling in period when they finish early etc so I have lots of notice to hopefully be able to squeeze everyone in!

29-03-2016, 08:54 AM
I'm just waiting for someone to invent the 'Academy Childminder' along the academy schools model.

= No rules; no experience; no qualifications. Do what they h3ll they like, how they like, then rig the inspections to make them look good. :p

Be careful what you wish for!
I am sure it has crossed the DfE's mind to do just that :eek: and Ofsted's too

29-03-2016, 10:09 AM
Be careful what you wish for!
I am sure it has crossed the DfE's mind to do just that :eek: and Ofsted's too

It would also mean no EYFS! As academies don't need to follow national curriculum!

29-03-2016, 10:40 AM
It would also mean no EYFS! As academies don't need to follow national curriculum!

Exactly the point made previously by Bunyip: no rules, no qualifications, no experience...rings a bell!
Too early to comment until we know more of which are the dangers for EY....some have already been highlighted.