Am I being dramatic?
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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Am I being dramatic?

    I’ve been a childminder for a year now, and work with a family. When we signed the contract we said we’d both get 4 weeks annual holiday April to April and it would be half price. However I’ve taken 6 days in the whole year. She’s taken almost 2 months, I told her that as she had taken her 4 weeks already she would have to pay full price now, as agreed to in our contract, however upon regarding our contract I noticed that she’d not signed any of those parts and had deliberately ignored any parts that weren’t beneficial to her. Meaning our contract is incomplete. They demand more than I can give, and expect me and the other kids I look after to follow their child’s routine. Meaning that we can do anything unless they approve. I’ve spoken to them before about this and they don’t seem to change. For Christmas this year they paid me £300 and when I asked how they got to that number they said they’d taken out all of my annual holiday, even though we discussed they would have to pay the full wage.

    I know some people are going to go “how can you charge them a whole wage” and I totally get where you’re coming from but even when I said pay half, they chose to cut out a massive chunk. I can’t survive on the money and I personally think it’s unfair that I’ve only taken 6 days this year and they’ve taken the equivalent of two months and I have to suffer.

    I cant ask for days off without being guilt tripped, I can’t say your child is unwell pick them up without being made to feel like it’s a burden and I don’t think it’s fair other kids have to suffer or not go anywhere until the little girl approves

    I’m overly stressed and I’ve started to grind my teeth.


    So my questions are:

    1. Am I being dramatic
    2. Would you agree or disagree to giving 4 weeks notice
    3. How would you word the notice period
    4. Am I wrong for being upset about the wage

  2. #2
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    Childminders don't earn a 'wage' because we are self-employed - we charge parents a fee to look after their child/ren.

    We agree a fee on the contract and in the fees policy and then we charge it - and we are all different.

    For example, I simply charge all parents half fee for their holidays and I don't charge for mine because I am self-employed...

    Other childminders charge differently - if it works for you then fine.

    Give notice to the family if you don't want to work with them any more - say you have to give notice for a change of circumstances... that's all you have to say.

    Then your fees policy isn't working so change it

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  4. #3
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    I know this may sound unkind, but you really need to change the way you think about how you work. As a childminder you offer a service that parents can either chose to use or not. You set the terms, you tell them what they have to pay and you decide what the children will or won't be doing. If parents don't like the way you work or the fees you charge, they need to look elsewhere. You don't let parents tell you what they will pay or what you can do.

    I think it will be too difficult to put your foot down now with this family, so I would give notice, learn from what's happened and start afresh with a new family. Have a clear payment policy and give parents an invoice each month setting out what they have to pay. If they don't pay it in full, you don't provide care for their child. I can understand why you'd be upset about the amount they've paid you, but if you haven't given them an invoice and told them how much to pay then really you've let them do it.

    There are so many lovely parents out there who understand how childminders work and who stick to your rules. Unfortunately there will always be those parents who think they are employing you and can set the terms. That's why you need to have clear policies in place and be confident in what you do so that you don't end up in a situation where you feel parents are calling all the shots.

    I would give notice, simply saying that you will no longer be able to provide care. You don't need to give a specific reason, but if they push you for an answer I would just say you don't feel things are working well for either of you.

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  6. #4
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    Before i started childminding, i saw childminders having problems over holidays, so mine is simple ... if i am away ... no fees. If i am working and child goes away/has day off/ grandma comes to stay etc ... then full fees are payable.
    I take 5-6 weeks a year.

    Whose contracts are you using? Because on mine (pacey) there isn't the option to pick and choose what you sign!

    I would write to parents ( you can talk to them as well, but have a written letter to give them that matches what you say, so they can't twist it to suit them. ) and say that due to differences, you are giving 4 weeks notice, and the last day is XXX. I would also work out what fees you are due, and issue an invoice with the letter.

    If you wish to continue working with them then arrange to sign new contracts with everything signed, and be strong!

    Good luck x

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  8. #5
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    If you are that stressed then I think in your heart of hearts you know the answer. Give notice. x

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  10. #6
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    Hi you say they have only signed the bits that suit them ? I go through the contracts PACEY with parents/caters including reading all the small print, filling it in as we go. If this isn’t possible then I don’t sign until deposit and admin fees received and Iv read through what they have put/not put. I then get them to fill in the missing bits. I know this takes time but it’s worth it so everyone is understanding g it the same way.
    I also do full fee if service available and they choose to take holiday, no fee for my holiday, sick days or training days.

    We all learn as we go along and work in ways that is right for us. Just remember your in charge of your business! X

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  12. #7
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    Is this a particularly difficult family?

    Or do you feel you're a bit 'soft' and likely to let another family behave in similar fashion?

    How did it happen that they only signed selected parts of the contract? Did you not discuss, agree and sign it together?

    Which contract stationery do you use? All the contracts I’ve seen have to be signed on an 'all or nothing' basis.

  13. #8
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    Before I make any suggestions, one more question.

    You say you can’t survive on the money they’re choosing to pay you. Can you manage in the short term, if you lose the income altogether and take a while to fill th3 vacancy, or do you already h@ve a replacement lined up if you give notice?

    As already mentioned in previous excellent advice from other members, you need to completely rethink your approach to being self employed. But I don’t want to give you specific advice that doesn’t take into account your immediate need to earn a living.

    Please reply. Thanks.

  14. #9
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    Childminding is such a massive learning curve especially at the start and it's finding out about what works for you and making sure what you implement for future families works for both of you. I would also be tempted to give notice and one particular family I had I was very tempted to give notice rather than have to put up with them. I ended up having a meeting with them - it was very awqward but in the end even though they had been PITA parents it got better and I was glad I was able to keep them. It also meant I implemented different ways of doing things for future families (although at times I can still be too accomodating!)
    If you can't have a meeting would you be able to word a letter that explains the issues and perhaps a meeting to discuss - that way you can get your point of view across without being on the spot! For example - a potential reminder of your fees, annual renewals of contract require doing and you have to consider all children in your care and therefore their child may have to be a bit more flexible ? Perhaps mention many childminders charge full rate for parents holidays and half rate for their own - they may appreciate what they have a bit more then. I charge full rate for their holidays and absences but nothing for my own time off.
    Very best of luck and let us know own how you get on (or got on!)

 

 

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