33 answers

Home Daycare and Paid Vacations

Hi all,

I'm putting our son in an in-home daycare (I live in California by the way), which is run by my best friend's mom, and it's a great place for him. I only need him to go 2 days per week, and she only has Mondays and Fridays available. I got all the paperwork and read through it, and I was surprised to learn that that provider takes paid vacations and that we have to pay for all the national holidays when she is not open. If she gets sick or takes a vacation, we have to pay for those days and then we also have to find other daycare and pay for that, which means I'll be paying like $100 sometimes for 1 day of daycare. If I take a vacation and he doesn't go for 1 week, I still have to give her $50 a day for the days he's not coming. I understand the policy because she doesn't want people to sign up and then not bring their kids and then she doesn't get paid. I understand it's her full time job and she should get paid time off. I know that she's very established and if I don't like the policy I'll just have to go somewhere else! :) Just wondering if anyone knows if this is common practice for in home daycares? It's just annoying because since he's only going Mondays and Fridays, that's a lot of the days that holidays fall on. Let me know what you think. Thanks!

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Thanks for your advice everyone. I like how some people mentioned it is like paying for my spot at the daycare - that totally makes sense! I didn't mean to offend anyone - I obviously understand that it is her career and she deserves paid time off. I just wondered if that was very common. Since she only has Mondays and Fridays, I might just need to find a place where he can go different days so we are not paying for so many Monday holidays. Or call it a good investment in quality daycare. :)

Featured Answers

I agree with the other providers who have answered - sometimes clients don't understand that each spot is a commodity: something that "is for sale" and has a certain value. If you want to "buy the spot" then you pay for it - with whatever conditions the providers has put into the policy. It IS unfortunate for you that many holidays fall on Mondays and Fridays, but that's not the provider's fault. From the answers everyone else has posted, you can tell that there's no "common practice," child care REALLY varies across the US. You have to find what woks for YOU, wherever you are. As a provider, I really appreciate the people who understand that providers are early childhood teachers - it's an valuable job and an important profession.

3 moms found this helpful

Yes, it is pretty common. I have to deal with that as well, but my child goes 5 days per week. You just have to read the contract and decide if the terms are such that you can live with it. If you cannot (and with only 2 days a week, I could understand why), then you really should find a different daycare arrangement.

2 moms found this helpful

Hello, I'm not her and I haven't done daycare in a few years, but, I never charged for when children weren't there. When I took my vacation, I tried to help parents find good childcare and they paid those people. If they took a vacation, I did not charge. I even had parents who lost their jobs and while they were looking for work, I didn't charge them. It's all about respecting them and setting a good environment for the children as well as the parents. I'm not saying she should to free daycare, but it was how I ran mine.
Good luck.
K. K.

1 mom found this helpful

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Why do you think she should not get paid holidays and vacations? This is her career. Do you get paid holidays and vacations and sick days? As a self employed person, she gets to set those rules. Unless shes asking for things like Dr. Suess's birthay off as her paid holiday??

Sorry, but as a home daycare provider (in MN) This irritates me. I had PTO (paid time off) days for years (started at 10 days and worked up to 20), PLUS holidays (I had 7 and now 9). But I bumped my rates up a bit to cover it and eliminated the 20 PTO days (I never did like the double daycare for parents so I found my solution to it..higher rates!!)

Many providers, especially, as you stated, an established one in what is obviously a succesfully paid area (my rates are close to that, especialy for PT rates), will usually have you pay for the spot on their license Enrollment, not attendance.

Many responders said to ask about switching days those weeks but it sounds to me like she has no room for you the other days, so thats not likely possible? I have had PT families before and IF I have the room, I offer them that chance, but usually its not an option.

You spound like you actually DO understand all the WHY reasons she is asking this all of you....you just don't want to pay it. LOL. I get that, but where I live...very very normal and the provider sets those rules, as you said!

Best of luck!

4 moms found this helpful

My sitter gets all of the major paid holidays, black friday, the day after christmas, and a week in august. all paid. its in the contract.
for the holidays, it's not a big problem since I get the same holidays. For the week in August, I just make sure that I take that week off also.

It has never occurred to me to not pay her for holidays and vacation. I expect to get paid time off, and so does she.

3 moms found this helpful

I agree with the other providers who have answered - sometimes clients don't understand that each spot is a commodity: something that "is for sale" and has a certain value. If you want to "buy the spot" then you pay for it - with whatever conditions the providers has put into the policy. It IS unfortunate for you that many holidays fall on Mondays and Fridays, but that's not the provider's fault. From the answers everyone else has posted, you can tell that there's no "common practice," child care REALLY varies across the US. You have to find what woks for YOU, wherever you are. As a provider, I really appreciate the people who understand that providers are early childhood teachers - it's an valuable job and an important profession.

3 moms found this helpful

Well that was the policy when our son was in home daycare. She took two 1 week vacations a year and two weeks off between christmas and new years and then the usual holidays (memorial day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving) Also if we went on vacation when she was not on vacation we still paid, we went on a long week end we still paid.

I did not mind paying her for this time off one bit. She gave our son excellent care....probably did a better job than I would have done if I was a SAHM. Loved him to pieces! And for the importance of the job she did, she was way underpaid....we paid $250 a week...so in the end we usually ended up paying for her 4 weeks of vacation ($1000) and then another 2 weeks ($500) when our vacations did not sync up with hers....so an extra $1500 a year for extraordinary care...I did not mind. She more than earned it!!!!

3 moms found this helpful

Yes, it is pretty common. I have to deal with that as well, but my child goes 5 days per week. You just have to read the contract and decide if the terms are such that you can live with it. If you cannot (and with only 2 days a week, I could understand why), then you really should find a different daycare arrangement.

2 moms found this helpful

Wow! I'm glad I live in the Mid-West. I pay $34/day for two kids. I don't have to pay when my provider takes off for any reason (holidays, vacation, sick days). I get 5 'free' days a years where if I don't take the boys I don't have to pay. It wouldn't hurt to at least ask around and see what the policies are for other providers.

2 moms found this helpful

Yes..this is standard and expected practice for a "quality, intentional" family child care facility. A "professional" child care provider will get paid holidays/vacation and sick time..like most other business provide.

You are purchasing a block of time..be it 5 days a week or two days a week. That is "your" time whether your little one is in care or not. Unfortuneatly our overhead does not go down when Johnny is out sick, or little Mary is visiting Grandma for the day. The same with vacations. You will be notified in plenty of time to make necessary arrangements. Some parents just take their vacation when the provider does, or perhaps they are fortuneate to have other family members step in. I recommend to all parents I speak with to NEVER put their child in a program where the provider does not take paid vacations. That is not a healthy or safe environment. You want your provider to have the opportunity to recharge her battery's and spend some quality family time with her family. It also gives us the time to think about our curiculum and do some deep cleaning and sprucing up. So, to answer your question this is absolutely standard and acceptable practices. You can give me a call if you like, my number is ###-###-####. I have been a successful provider for 25 years, served on the board of directors for Orange County Child Care Association and do consulting for providers and parents on how to find and identify quality, intentional child care. I am in Orange County Ca.
Good luck to you and sounds like you have found a great provider!

2 moms found this helpful

Hello, I'm not her and I haven't done daycare in a few years, but, I never charged for when children weren't there. When I took my vacation, I tried to help parents find good childcare and they paid those people. If they took a vacation, I did not charge. I even had parents who lost their jobs and while they were looking for work, I didn't charge them. It's all about respecting them and setting a good environment for the children as well as the parents. I'm not saying she should to free daycare, but it was how I ran mine.
Good luck.
K. K.

1 mom found this helpful

It's common. You are paying for the slot to stay open. It is normal procedure anywhere you go.

I would add that usually a provider will list those holidays and vacation days in the contract that you sign. If she has sick days as a paid day off too then I would expect her to limit that.

In Oklahoma we usually use a substitute program called Angels. They go through lots of training, have the same credentials a regular teacher has, has CPR and First Aid, has passed the standard state background check, and all that is needed to be fully passed by the state to work full time in any child care setting. They get paid cash and do not have taxes held out. They are contract labor not an employee.

This enables a care provider to take days off but not close on those day.

1 mom found this helpful

I did licensed home daycare for many years. I got the following days as paid holidays (if they were on saturday or sunday I got either monday off with pay or an extra day of pay depending on how the parents wanted to handle it. I got
New Years day,
Good Friday
Memorial Day
4th of July
Labor Day
Thanksgiving
Day after Thanksgiving
Christmas day

in addition to that I also got 1 week of paid vacation for me. I allowed the parents to have 2 weeks of unpaid time per year. they could take it as full weeks or as single days. I had a calendar which I kept track of the days on. If I took a day off for whatever reason I did not expect the parents to pay for those days with the exception of holidays and my vacation. I do expect the parents to pay for their spots. they get vacation days at work why should I loose pay because they decided to go to the zoo? I didn't take the day off.

now having said all of that with you being only part time and all those days falling on your days of care I would suggest that you discuss it with her and ask her how she wants to handle those days whether she can take him other days during those weeks or whether she is going to take them as unpaid. it is not fair for you to have to foot the bill for all of those as part time care. most times caregivers charge parttimers more per day to make up for the loss of benefits of full time charge

1 mom found this helpful

My son's babysitter runs an in-home daycare. There was no paperwork to sign or contracts. He goes once a week, other children go more often. The payment is simple. If he is there I pay her, if he is not I do not. She is flexible but as a courtesy, I will call her if he can't make it or I need to change the time. I would look elsewhere in your position.

1 mom found this helpful

Most daycares, home and centers, require you to pay for your spot even if the child is sick or you take vacation/don't take your child. Additionally, they have paid holidays. Home daycares get paid vacations and typically some sick/personal and/or emergency days w/ pay.

Most daycares take the MAJOR holidays but my old home daycare took all the smaller ones too (14 in all). At first, I got most of them off anyway so it was no big deal but the one that ALWAYS got me was she not only took Good Friday but also the day after Easter (because the holiday was on Sunday). My point was...Easter IS a Sunday and the paid holiday with every company I've ever heard of is Good Friday but not Monday.

$50 a day sounds a bit much to me but I don't know your area.

@ Riley J...sounds like you are talking about a pre-school since you mention just 10 months and very specific time slots. People who need daycare need it year round (unless they are school teachers). And 9-3 doesn't cover a parents full-time work schedule.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes it's common practice and is the same at centers. Presumably you get paid for your time off as well so whether or not you're paying while you're on vacation is a moot point. Many parents I know will schedule their vacations to coincide with their childcare provider's vacations to avoid having to also pay someone else to watch the child. If at all possible, plan on doing that - it's really no different from taking your vacation during school vacation week when your kids get older. Your taxes or tuition are paying the teachers for that week already, and if you need childcare to work that week, it's on you. When you compare it to school, it works the same way and makes sense. Hope that helps it seem more fair to you.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, I am A Home Daycare Provider, and I don't take paid holidays or vacations, the most I have ever take off was 3 days when my mother died and everone still paid me in full, but I do date nights for them, military duty nights at nom extra cost. My policy is if I close down for what ever reason they do not have to payn me for those days howerver if they get the child out do to illness or vacation they still need to pay me. Most daycares are closed all weekends and holidays. I would find a different daycare. J.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, some of it is normal, and some of it is not. National holidays being paid days are a given (Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, etc - not MLK day or President's Day or Arbor Day :).

However, I would push back on sick days and her vacations. I have not had to pay for those types of days at any daycare I've been to. The deal where we go has always been that we pay when we choose to go on vacation (which makes sense to me, it's not the provider's fault we're going on vacation) - but if the provider is on vacation, that is unpaid because we then have to find alternate daycare arrangements! Also, if the provider is sick, by CA state licensing requirements, she must have a backup person in place so you aren't left high and dry with no notice. I would ask her about this, and if she doesn't have a backup person in place for herself, let her know you won't be paying for those days when she's out sick. Fair is fair.

1 mom found this helpful

My son's daycare allowed us to switch days of the week for days we were away or if she were closed (national holidays). So he went T-W-R. If we were going to be a way for a Thursday, we could get him in on a Friday. Is your schedule flexible (you say you only need two days a week) so if she is closed on a Monday (for example), she could take him on Tuesday? I also do not think that you having to pay her when SHE is unexpectedly sick is typical. I would not pay that.

Now - this is a good part of the reason I picked a daycare center - they do not go on vacation and they do not get sick. If one caregiver is sick, your child can still attend. The caregivers take vacations and it is not your headache.

1 mom found this helpful

Very normal, common, and reasonable.

1 mom found this helpful

Why don't you count up all the Monday and Friday holidays so you know how many times a year you are talking about and then talk with her. Ask if on those weeks could he come in another day or maybe if you and she are flexible if she has a child who will be absent she calls you and says he could come into that empty spot for that day. My husband used to take Mondays as a day off (his only day off) and we figured out that when a legal holiday fell on his day off and he only got one day away from work, when everyone else got 2 days (the day off and the holiday) it was as much as giving up almost 2 weeks of vacation days, you work you earn a day off but he was forfeiting this extra time with his family. What I am trying to say is you are right and she is right. She is working and deserves to get paid and you are paying and deserve to get something for your money. I would talk to her and see if you can't get credit for the days you are paying for. We pay our piano teacher for every week in a month and if a lesson is missed we find a way to make up for the paid for time with an extra lesson, longer lessons, only pay for 4 weeks in a 5 week month, etc. This is workable with good communication.

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We take our girls to a home daycare and our daycare provider gets paid vacation. This is standard, I think. She earns every penny of those vacation days! She doesn't take paid sick time because she never gets sick, but if she did, she would hire a substitute teacher and the school will remain open.

Parents always hassle her when those vacation days roll around and I do not understand this. She works so hard for our kids that I am happy to give her some time to re-charge. She does occaisionally take unpaid vacation that is in addition to the paid (bank) holidays, but she plans for this in advance and includes these dates in the contract renewal at the beginning of the year.

I am happy to take my children to a teacher who places an importance on her family and herself in this way because by doing this she is able to stay fresh and energetic every day with my kids.

My 2 young children go to a home daycare on Mondays and Thursdays. My provdier takes 2 weeks paid vacation (one in the summer and the week after Chrismas), 10 major holidays (mostly Mondays), and 5 paid personal days. Even though I pay when she is "out" (generally when her daughter is sick) or my son is sick, she lets me swap for a different day that week like Friday when everyone is fine, so I'm not paying extra for her. I am, however, paying for a back-up sitter on that one day and basically paying for double daycare. I take my vacation when she is off and my office is closed on the same holidays she is closed, so it's never really been an issue.

You have to way the pros and cons of your specific needs. We choose home daycare because my first child has some emtional needs and we felt one consistent caregiver would give him the most security and he would benefit from the same rules/limits/consequences given every time. My provider also gives the children all meals and snack and will take one or both boys extra days any time I need (to work extra days, Dr. appts, holiday prep, etc.). We have been very happy with our choice and although the idea on always having someone available to watch your child having it be different people from time to time wouldn't be a good match for my children.

Hope that helps and good luck!

I think that is totally normal for So Cal. I experienced the same thing when I was looking at in home daycares a few years back. I think you are just getting unlucky in that one of your days is Monday, and lots of holidays happen to fall on that day! We paid for many days that my son was not there.

For part time care, I'd be amending that agreement or going to a different day care.

100% normal, common practice. Love it or leave it. Good luck!

Home daycares have the freedom to make up their own pay schedules including vacations and holidays. They are self-employed people. So it's not unreasonable to expect that she will want to be paid for all of the things you've listed.

Personally, I have my families pay for holidays but not for my vacation. I do that because I like having the time off, they have to pay me when they take a vacation or when their kids don't come, and I feel like it's a fair break for them not to pay for my vacation time because I appreciate them. But I do still have a business to run.

You chose the days that you want him to be there, so though it's a shame that holidays fall on Monday and Fridays, it's your choice. I think you're pretty lucky that she lets him come for only 2 days a week. There are not a lot of daycares that will offer that much of a part-time spot. I require a 15 hour minimum in mine.

Not common for home daycares but it is for corporate ones, so sounds like a minor drawback.

At my son's daycare we pay a weekly rate. If a holiday falls on that day and the daycare is closed, we still pay the same rate, so that is standard. I get one free week of daycare a year if I go on an extended vacation and then a rate of 80% to hold the spot for every week after that. We also pay anytime the daycare closes for professional development days and closes early. So MOST of it is standard. The one thing that didn't exist when he was in in-home daycare setting was the sick days. If she got sick and had to close down, I didn't have to pay her OR she would bring in an alternate to watch the kids. That is the only one that threw me off a little. I mean basically with most daycares your paying for the spot, not the time. It is how they are able to maintain their appropriate licensing ratios at anyone time and that they don't over enroll kids.

ADDED:

I should add, does she have a set number of paid time off/sick days? If so then the sick days are not quite as bad. My daycare lady did get two weeks of vacation each year that were paid and she gave good notice about any personal days that she took (which counted towards her vacation).

That is very normal. My mom ran a daycare and she required one week paid per year off. The daycare I used last had two weeks per year and holidays. She didn't charge for her sick days though. The way I see it is we get those times off paid so why wouldn't they?

That is exactly how our home (fully licensed) daycare in Southern California worked.

I get paid for national holidays & for your time off.

Flat rate weekly, unless I take off. You do not pay me if I take off.

My family takes 2-3 weeks each year, & I take the day after Thanksgiving.

2-3 times each year, I have to physically check in at my dr's office for bloodwork, etc. Sometimes, I take the whole day & do drs all day long.....& sometimes, I just take the 1st appt in the a.m. & start late. Depends on everybody's schedules....

Wow! The $50/day knocked me over. Here in mid-MO, there are SAHMs who charge that for one full week. (not me, though!)

Overall, fairly reasonable at least the paid vacation and holidays. I think one of the critical parts is if her vacation days are scheduled well in advance so that you can plan for them. Also, is the number of sick and vacation days reasonable so that you don't have to constantly have back up.

When we used at home daycare the provider had us pay for the days that we were there (of course) and the days that we should have been there and did not go (illness, day off, vacation, etc.) But we did not pay for the days that she chose not to be open. I would be concerned if she takes lots of holidays and does no really provide them in advance.

The way ours worked was that there was a yearly tuition, amortized monthly.

How much you paid for the year depended on how many hours/days. Their options were
9-12
9-1
12-3
1-3
9-3
M-F any combo of days

It was the same payment every month (because it was just the total divided by 10). We had *complete* control in whether we brought our kids in or not, but that didn't change the monthly rate. Just like college or private school. The tuition is due, regardless of whether you attend class.

All federal holidays were off.
2 weeks in winter were off
1 week in spring was off
2 months in summer were off (UNLESS you did the 1 month summer session)

The preschool closed for snowdays/ stormdays/ etc. following the public schools.

While those of us w/ Monday or Friday schedules LOOKED like we had fewer days of school... the school was VERY good about making sure that teacher work days and conferences were held tu/wed/thurs. So it all evened out. Each day of the week had an equal number of school days in it UNLESS there was snow!

Looked at ONE way...We didn't pay for sickdays... because there were 3 providers. 2 full time, and 1 float. If someone was sick, the float covered. Looked at ANOTHER way... we did. Because we paid the same monthly rate, period.

Looked at ONE wasy... We didn't pay for vacations. We paid for the months that our children were in school. Looked at ANOTHER way... we paid the same for December (2 weeks off) and March (1 week off) as we did any other month. I mean... they COULD have just made each month without a break more expensive... but that's just unnecessarilly complicated. The yearly tuition divided by 10 just made things MUCH simpler from a mental point of view. They had a grand total of 3 months of "vacation" each year (if you didn't pay for summer session), or 2 months if you did pay for summer session. But, again, it was just "easy", because is was $6,000 / 10... or $4700 / 10... or $8200 / 10.

Sorry, didnt read all the responses, dont know if this is a duplicate response from someone else. It is likely standard practice, but with that said EVERYTHING is negotiable. If your child starts at the begining of the year and she has like 5 Mondays off in 3 months - I would definately talk to her about your concern BEFORE you sign up. Ask her if you can arrange to pay for only those days he goes, or 1/2 vacation days etc. I live in So. Cal - and when my son was part time, they did not make us pay full price in a similar situation. Worst case, she says no - you have to pay. No harm in asking..

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