J.H. asks from Missoula, MT on April 06, 2010
Day Care - Lincoln,MT
I have a question for moms using daycare. My issue is that we get charged even if my son does not attend for the day (or week). We had brought it up last year when we notified the provider a month in advance that he would be gone, and then noticed on the bill we were still charged for those days. She said it is her policy, and that to "save" his spot she continues charging. We said we understood and asked around, hearing this is how other day cares operate. It is a very small daycare~7 kids, some of them are part time, and it is operated out of a small building. There really is no need to save a spot since it is such a small group...
What has changed is last week she had to close the day care for a family emergency, leaving all of us high and dry for an entire week, with no prior notice (she told us one afternoon and then closed the rest of the week). My husband had to stay home from work one day, and I stayed home two days, and we had a neighbor help a little, too. We also frequently have work holidays that she is open for, so we are charged when my son is home with us, and also when grandparents come for a week they watch him. Does anyone have any experience with this? I understand she is running a business but I can't agree with paying for care that my son isn't receiving. Any advice on how to try and compromise with her?
So What Happened?™
Thanks to all who offered input.
T.W. answers from Denver on April 08, 2010
It is standard to be charged even if you child is not there. Now a lot of day cares offer vacation time to their families. Typically 2 weeks per year so you can choose to use that time for days off, etc. As far as her needing emergency time, unforeseen emergencies happen however, she should not be charging you for that time. She was unable to provide care and that is not something you should have to pay for.
In short, just ask if she can offer a certain amount of vacation time per year that parents can take advantage of. That way it is fair to her and to the families.
K.R. answers from Denver on April 06, 2010
I think this is the norm. This is how my son's daycare works. I don't think you should have to pay when she closes, but if you keep him out you are still going to need to pay. I understand the frustration, but most daycares run like this.
B.H. answers from Detroit on April 06, 2010
They daycare center my son attends also has this policy. We have to pay if my son is home sick or if we take vacation. However, the daycare does offer free 2 week period for vacations that we are not charged after we have been with them for more than a year.
M.C. answers from Dallas on April 06, 2010
The policies at your daycare sound totally standard to me. We pay regardless of whether or not DD goes, except for 2 weeks of vacation a year, for which we must give at least 2 weeks advance notice. If the sitter closes for illness or emergency, we don't pay. DD goes to an in-home daycare run by a husband and wife team that has 10 kids. Also, in our contract, they get a certain number of paid vacation days a year--so, for instance, we pay for Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving, and July 4th, even tho they're not open and DD can't go.
Honestly, if you think of this from your provider's perspective, this seems totally reasonable to me. Our providers take this seriously as their profession--they have training, they provide a curriculum to the students, etc. I get paid holidays and vacation from my job, and it seems reasonable that they should, too. I also get paid sick days, which they do not. I understand that this is their family's income, and they need to pay their mortgage, buy groceries, etc, regardless of whether or not my parents decide to come visit and take DD to the zoo instead of daycare. It's important to them to know reliably how much money they will take in each month. I think of all of this as part of paying for high-quality, consistent care. There are drop-in places that you can use for occasional care--you could also hire a nanny part time (although, as a former nanny myself, I can tell you that this is unlikely to be cheaper). We did interview some in-home childcare providers who charged by the day instead of having a clear weekly contract, but these providers were generally less professional--they were simply watching whichever kids showed up that day and making sure they didn't put their fingers in electric sockets, rather than running an organized classroom with a curriculum (learning letters and numbers, etc.), art projects, etc. You'll need to find the solution that works best for you and your family, but your situation sounds totally typical to me for the type of care you've signed up for.
4 moms found this helpful
J.M. answers from Boston on April 06, 2010
I'm sorry, but I think that you'll find that this is common practice at small and large centers. My best advice is to take advantage of the time that you are paying for - have a movie date with your husband when she's open and you're both off from work. You've already paid for the "sitter!" Good luck.
edited to add: I read some of the other responses, and I have no idea why Kimmie would be so mean spirited. Do you think that daycare providers go into this business for the luxurious lifestyle and accolades piled upon them? Of course there are bad daycare providers out there, but a great many DO love the kids in their care and do WAY MORE than simply make sure that the children don't die. Just because she needs to charge consistently to make a living doesn't make her a bad person. Sheesh.
2 moms found this helpful
E.S. answers from Fort Collins on April 07, 2010
I also run a home daycare and I am part of an association of women who also run home daycares. It is very common to charge for the "spot" vs. the # of days a child is in care. Each daycare is a private business and the provider can create her policies however she desires within the confines of the law. If you decide to enroll your child and sign off on the policies, you are agreeing to her policies as written.
I have had my son in child care before and I currently provide care for other people, so I can see this issue from both sides of the fence. As a parent, it is difficult to pay for "days you don't need"...but you also want to balance that with quality care for your child. As a parent, if I need to pay the same amount per week regardless in order secure a safe place for my child to be at a high-quality child care, I will. In my eyes, when my child was in care, his provider had THE MOST IMPORTANT job in the world! She was taking care of the one person that meant the most to me. If you don't trust your provider or are not satisfied with the job she is doing, by all means find someone else..but if you are happy with her, it is probably worth the peace of mind.
As a provider, it is even more important to me that I be able to have a reliable income BECAUSE I only have 6 children in my daycare. I, like many providers, need the additional income the daycare provides. I ensure a reliable income for my family by filling a certain number of spots. If I did not get paid the same amount each month, I would not be able to count on being able to pay my bills (including those associated with providing care for the other children) and I would not be able to continue in this business. I am sure it is different for each child care provider, but approximately 2/3 of the gross income I bring in each month goes back into the daycare - for food, activities, preschool curriculum, toys, additional utilities used because we are open 10 hrs/day, etc...
Child care providers do one of the hardest and most important jobs, in my opinion. They care for our most precious family members. They work long, hard hours. They often do their work alone - teaching, cooking, cleaning, diapering, guiding, playing, etc... And they do all of this for relatively little pay - if you think about the amount they actually get to keep (after expenses) and the amount they are getting per child. I was shocked to find out that the average teenage babysitter gets paid about 3x or more per child than I do for full-time child care... and that is BEFORE I pay for expenses to run the daycare in the first place.
I am an elementary teacher who decided to stay home with my son and open a daycare. This was my choice and I do not regret it...despite the long hours, hard work, and relatively low pay. I have many intangible rewards each day and each week. I feel I understand both the parent and provider perspectives and I think that helps in my business. I work with my parents as much as possible, but also understand that I have to provide for my family as well. If it is not a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties, you should figure something else out.
PS... FYI - I do offer my families a week vacation credit once they have been enrolled for over a year. I take two weeks vacation each year. I have certain paid holidays each year. Additional days I need to close the daycare - due to illness or for personal reasons - are unpaid. I always let my parents know about a closure ASAP. (Two months or more ahead of time for planned days...and as soon as I know about a serious illness that will affect my hours.)
1 mom found this helpful
J.P. answers from Boise on April 06, 2010
At my daycare (it is a center), we have to pay for sick days - if our son is sick, and can't go in. Luckily, they aren't closed because one of them is sick, the benefits of a center. BUT after 6 months of enrollment, we get 1 week every 6 months of "vacation". We let them know our planned vacation week and we don't have to pay for that week. You CAN take it earlier than that 6 months, but then the time that you have built up for the 6 months starts over. So, when my mom was here at Christmas, I paid anyway and let my mom have time with him. We also pay for those holidays that my husband has off, but the center is open. Usually though, my husband takes this time to do stuff around the house and just picks our son up early.
I would ask for a copy of her policies. This should have been something that you agreed to ahead of time. Most in home daycares require you to pay when it is your choice (or illness) to not have your child in their care, but not when it is on them, same with nannies. BUT after a certain amount of time, you should be able to take, at a minimum, 1 week of vacation. It won't be as flexible as it sounds like you want it though, so you may need to look at a different place. Most daycares do have the policy to "keep your spot" because they need to budget and plan based on how many kids are there, and if your tuition isn't reliable week to week, they need to get someone who is.
S.B. answers from Kansas City on April 06, 2010
I dont think you should be paying for the emergency week. In our daycare's contract, we are entitled to two weeks unpaid if we take vacations or whatever. We pay her for her scheduled 2 weeks vacation and major holidays that we are also paid for.
C.L. answers from Salt Lake City on April 07, 2010
It sounds pretty typical. We don't use an at home daycare so we don't have the issue of them closing down, except for major holidays. I have a tuition agreement with mine, we had agreed for 3 days a week up to 5 hours. We only ended up taking her for about 2 hours 2-3 days a week. So I talked to them and they let me switch her to hourly ($6 per hr). I can just drop her off when we need to ( I did give them the days and times that we would most likely drop her off).
Daycare providers need to have set plans because they need to know how many kids/teachers to plan for, and they need to bring in a steady income and know what to plan for so the don't have too many or too little kids. I would suggest finding a different daycare...not an at home...then you don't have to worry about them closing down for weeks at a time. Plus they usually offer more tuition options so you can be flexible!! GL!
L.H. answers from Salt Lake City on April 07, 2010
The day care I take our son to does a similar thing; however they have a certain number of "vaccation" days a year for each child/family where they only charge 1/2 day. So if you go on a vaccation or have something come up you can use those days. I also made arrangements with them to not charge on the day's my son is sick and I have to take work off to be home with him. We are also only contracted with them for 1 day a week (although he usually goes two days) and we are only required to pay for the contracted day (+ any additional days we take him that week). What the contract means is that we are guarenteed a spot for at least one day a week, but we can schedule him for more days as long as they have room.
B.K. answers from Charlotte on April 06, 2010
I completely understand where you are coming from, my daycare is the same way, you pay even if your child isn't there. I understand it, because they have salaries to pay and stuff. I feel bad for you though that she left you high and dry for a week because of a family emergency. I feel bad for her that she had the emergency but I definately hope she didn't make you pay for that week. If it's not corporate run maybe you could come to an agreement with her if you got together with the other parents and you all get together on the same page and talk to her about maybe atleast a discount if you aren't there for the whole week. Hope it gets better!