Another wasted contract
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  1. #1
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    Default Another wasted contract

    Does anyone do a temporary contract to save on wasting paperwork.

    I am so fed up of filling out a contract, explaining all the P&P's etc and how I do things for a parent to come back wanting less hours than previously asked agreed or not needing me after all which is what has just happened.

    Two issues here really so I will try to explain the best I can...here goes....

    Issue 1: Parents career adviser rings up last Thursday and asks if I have space available and explains the child could go to a nursery but the hours run after 6.00pm and the parent needs care until 7.30pm. Now I only work until 5.30 as normal hours but as I could do with the extra work at the minute I agreed for the parent to call and see me as she had been offered a job a couple of days before and was due to start Monday gone. So a bit of a rush and going against my best judgement of on the spot decisions we met.
    Now if I'm honest I was a bit wary has she didn't have a clue to how to fill out the paperwork and kept passing baby's details to me via passport, birth certificate and same for her details. I filled everything in and was very sure to make her sign it. She spoke very good English but isn't a British National and said she was afraid of getting things wrong if she filled it in. No different to me speaking Spanish but not being able to read or write it I thought.
    Anyway contracts signed and parent feeling relaxed now that she had childcare sorted, me happy with a newbie and lovely little baby at that everything was good. She was getting help at the job centre to fill in Tax Credit forms etc and I took a deposit which was to be returned on first payment.

    Now the following situation can't be helped really but I have had others sign contract and then want lesser hours shortly afterwards who I can't help feel was their plan to start with.

    We were going to have a settling in session that afternoon while she went and picked up her uniform etc. When she arrived a little earlier than arranged she was so upset. The job was no longer available, she rung and put me on to them as she didn't understand if they meant for now or for good. It was out of their hands really as an employee who had been on long term sick and who they didn't expect to come back had phoned that afternoon to say they were coming back.
    She phoned a couple of days later as she was going for another interview and wanted to leave baby here. I agreed as it was like a settling in period in case she gets the job or the other one rings her back (agency and said would keep her on books) and she was paying me. So she seems determined to find work and waiting for no one who might ring her back

    Anyway not heard anything since.

    2nd issue
    Do I keep the deposit? It was to be returned on first payment but obviously that's not going to happen now as there is no job and I can't keep a space open for ever just in case can I the same as she won't hang around just in case but I don't want to look like a grabber with no heart either. I was thinking of giving her until Monday and then getting in touch to say I can't promise the space any longer and will advertise it again just so she knows it is not kept forever. Also would you ask for the paperwork back has it has my details and EY number on it or is that silly?
    I am sick of using paperwork for nothing or for them to come back after a week or two for less hours. It's not worth wasting my contracts on and I was wondering if anyone uses short temporary contracts until settled in properly.

    Once again I have had to revisit my fees policy and make adjustments.
    From now on no on the spot decisions, a month upfront fees plus deposit only returnable at end of contract less fees/charges owed and I have implemented a £10 non returnable administration fee to cover costs of paperwork. Do you think that is enough, my fees policy now states no money returned if space not taken or hours reduced within 6 months of signing.
    If they don't like it they can look else where something will come along eventually and I am not rushing into things any more just to fill a space.

    Not sure how this will work with a parent who says she doesn't understand things because although I made sure I explained everything in detail and until she knew what was expected of her I think she will always go back to saying "I don't understand". She seems a very nice determined woman and I really would like to help her out if I can but I have children to feed and bills to pay also.
    So messy

    I hope I don't sound cold hearted or grumpy. Sorry for the very long post

  2. #2
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    I have never been in this position tbh, everyone who has signed has started with no issues. You've probably just been unlucky up to now. This is a tricky situation, I would probably set a time limit that I could hold the space for. When that time is up it's up to you re deposit, you are of course within your rights to keep it but it understand that it feels awkward. Hopefully something else will come up for her, maybe with an earlier finish! I'm constantly reviewing and changing my policies, you find out all these different scenarios and realise you need to cover yourself. Good luck :-)

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  4. #3
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    It's not about being 'money grabbing with no heart' - you're running a business

    Customer has booked a space and paid a deposit to hold that space, their circumstances have changed and they no longer require the space, your circumstances have not changed the space is still available, your terms state deposit is returned upon care starting, care hasn't started, so no refund.

    It's possible that if parent is unemployed/on benefits, that it is the job centre that has paid the deposit anyway (parents do get that kind of help to get them back to work, because it's unlikely they have the money for paying for things like childcare, or work clothes etc up front)

    I would possibly give parent a longer period in which to get work before advertising the space, purely because it takes time to get an interview, so a few weeks grace wouldn't hurt, unless you get an enquiry in the meantime, and then parent would have to make a decision yes or no. If still no, then you keep the deposit.

    Good luck

  5. #4
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    I always start off filling in a temporary contract with parents. It's just one that I make up myself, but has all the necessary info in it. I found that sometimes parents would sign up for certain hours, then once the child started coming we'd realise that the hours didn't work, so we'd need to change them. My temporary contract lasts for the 4 week settling period, then I switch to a proper contract.

    As for the deposit, did you put a start date on the contract? If you did, you could argue that the contract started on that day and the deposit is paying for the first period of care. The space is available if mum wants to use it, as the deposit is paying for it. Once the deposit has run out the space is no longer available, unless mum pays again. It means you could say you are keeping the space until the deposit runs out, but after that you will be advertising it.

  6. #5
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    Thank you both for your replies.

    Yes natlou2 it is difficult when you first start out isn't it, you feel torn between helping parents because you have been in a difficult position yourself needing childcare desperately to start a job in time etc and can totally understand their situation but then you know you have to keep the business head on like you say Kiddleywinks.

    I would like to hold the place a little while longer for her as she is desperately trying to find work and too many times foreigners who come to live in England are called scroungers and hangers on and this woman proves that isn't always the case. she was so excited to have found the childcare she needed and was genuinely upset at it falling through for her. It would be nice if I could find some way of getting my paperwork printed or typed up into her language to make it easier for her but at no cost to me.

    Thanks again

  7. #6
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    Mouse yes I did put the start date on the contract.

    I am going to draw up a temp contract like you and use it for the first four weeks also as this seems to be the time frame I have had problems with also.

    Thanks Mouse

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
    I always start off filling in a temporary contract with parents. It's just one that I make up myself, but has all the necessary info in it. I found that sometimes parents would sign up for certain hours, then once the child started coming we'd realise that the hours didn't work, so we'd need to change them. My temporary contract lasts for the 4 week settling period, then I switch to a proper contract.
    What a logical thing to do!
    I've, thankfully, never had a contract not start once signed, but there have been times when I've wondered if it's going to lol. I shall keep that idea in mind for the future, thank you!

    Learn something new every day :-D

 

 

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