16 answers

Is It Standard to Pay for Daycare When We're on Vacation?

For those of you who have your LOs in daycare, do you have to pay your daycare when you are on vacation? Our agreement says that we still pay her when we are on vacation, but that we do not pay her when she is on vacation.

Here's the story: We started bringing LO to a new daycare this summer. It started out as 4 days one week/5 days the next (my mom watches him every other Thursday). It then changed to 4 days every week (my mom and my MIL alternate Thursdays) and during the summer, it was also the occasional day when DSS would watch him. Our daycare told my husband that that was fine, as long as she got a week's notice.

So now that we have vacation coming up on Friday, which DH told her about last week. When he paid her yesterday (since Monday was a holiday), she asked why the check was so short. DH replied that she was only watching him two days this week, plus Monday's holiday, so he only paid her for three days. She wrote back that she shouldn't have to defend her contract, that we are in violation of non-payment, and if we didn't give her the check at the end of the day when we picked up LO, that we should not bother bringing him back. DH wrote to her and apologized, saying that he didn't understand how he was in violation, that he would love an explanation, that he was in no way maliciously keeping payment from her, and that if she let him know what his mistake was, he'd gladly pay. We never heard back.

I was supposed to go to her house to pick LO up and ask her if she say DH's email and to clarify the situation. But I panicked and basically conceded and said that I understand that we are supposed to pay for vacation days and gave her the check. Now DH is LIVID because I didn't clarify the situation, but basically told her that we would pay her for all vacation days going forward, even though there was the verbal agreement about giving a week's notice.

We're going to Mexico in November and DH says that we should not have to pay her, and that if she wants her money, we should find new daycare. I think that we should pay her because that's the contract we signed. He says no, because we're giving her notice.

I don't know what to do. She's not the most agreeable/reasonable person and I feel like if I bring this up, she'll tell me right then and there to not bring him back. But she's wonderful with LO and treats him so well and I don't want to leave her or find new daycare.

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all of the responses. I think that I miswrote what my question was. Our contract says that we pay for parent vacations. But, we had a verbal agreement that said that if someone else watched him (my mom, my mother-in-law, etc), then that was fine as long as we gave a week's notice. I consider that separate from a vacation day, whereas my husband thinks that any time we give her a week's notice, we don't have to pay.

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You are paying for that space whether you are there or not.

That is very common in day care.

N. Marie

As unfair as it feels, we paid for holidays and vacations. The daycare said that even though the kids were not there those days, you are paying for their spots in the daycare.

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Hi there -

It is standard to pay for vacation - vacation that you take, and the weeks that the daycare takes for vacation (which I think are generally 2-3 weeks a year, which they should tell you about well in advance). Though it can be hard on us who need care, if you think about it, it is only fair for the care provider to have some vacation throughout the year, and to have reliable and consistent income.

What I feel is unfortunate about your situation is that you cannot communicate clearly and amicably with your care provider - I know for me it's certainly important to have a good relationship with my daughter's care provider. Though she may be correct in expecting payment, it's too bad she can't communicate that in a more respectful manner.

1 mom found this helpful

You should read your contract, that is binding. It sounds like your husband has a misconception - it is very standard to pay for your vacation time in order to keep your spot in the daycare but not pay when the daycare provider is closed (i.e., vacation). It sounds like your husband got the verbal agreement wrong - you're lucky she will let you pay less when others watch your child. Most of the time you pay whether your child is there or not (except when the daycare is closed) in order to keep your spot. If daycare providers let everyone pay only for the time used, it would create a terribly timekeeping mess for the provider and would also wreak havoc with her finances because she would never know what to count on and what not to count on. Keep in mind that it's your payments that are paying for things like snacks, etc. Being a daycare provider is not free - she has to spend your money to make your money!

Ugh. That's a tough situation. It was shocking to me when we started daycare and I learned that we would have to pay our provider for days our daughter didn't actually attend. Our agreement indicates we pay not only for our vacation but for our providers as well! I did some research and apparently it is pretty standard. Really, it makes sense in that they deserve some "paid time off" as well as needing to be able to insure a consistent source of income, but it's still tough for me to write that check...I'm a contractor right now and I don't get paid vacation!

That being said, I would hate being in a care situation where I felt like we could be dropped at a moments notice and if you feel your provider is hard to talk to or unreasonable, my concern would be what if that carries over into other aspects of her care down the road? You should be able to talk about any issues openly and freely whether it be regarding your contract or your child's care.

Maybe you and your husband can make an appointment to speak with her or pick up or drop off together to chat and insure you're all on the same page going forward.

Good luck!

My 18 month son is in an at home care, and we still pay if he is sick, or we go on vacation. We don't pay for days that she can't provide care.
I am about to stop working, and rather than putting him in a 2-3 day/wk mothers day out program, he will continue where he is part time. We will still pay the same amount b/c she has "x" number of spaces, and my child being there 2-3 days means that she can't take another full time child. HOWEVER, she is a lovely person, my son loves going over there, and we think it is worth the cost for her to be part of my son's life. So really, the quality of person makes it worth the rules.

Yes, you definitely pay daycare when you are on vacation. Consider it like you at work. Most people have two weeks' paid vacation. However, if your boss goes on vacation, you still get paid. It is not your daycare's fault if you decide to take some time away. Imagine if they were to not get paid every time someone decided not to bring their kid in. They would have a cut salary constantly.

However, your daycare's response sounded rather harsh and rude. You may consider bringing your child to a diffent daycare anyways, one where you don't feel threatened and feel comfortable communicating with them. What area are you in? You might ask for some referals.

Mmmmm, this is one of the reasons that I backed out an in home/private daycare and opted for a center. This is tough and annoying that you have to pay when you are not there. I think the agreement I was going to make is that you pay half price when you are on vaca. My center daycare gives two weeks per year for vacation with no pay. I like that as that is incentive to take off and I feel like the money helps pay for vacation. The strange thing is is that you do not have your child in full time and the days seem to change so what is the difference if you take a day or two compared to a few days for vacation. I think that the woman is the one that needed to clarify as I would have thought the same thing you did. However, I know the feeling of wanting to keep the people that look after your child as happy as possible. I like the major daycares because they are clear and so my son has several teachers and the same ones over the years and I do not love one I know he has others.
Good luck!

It is standard to pay for daycare when you go on vacation. You're lucky you don't have to pay when
The caregiver goes on vacation, as it is standard in most daycare to also pay for their
Vacation time as well. Hope this helps!

As unfair as it feels, we paid for holidays and vacations. The daycare said that even though the kids were not there those days, you are paying for their spots in the daycare.

IME, it is standard to pay your provider when you go on vacation, because you are essentially holding your spot. Vacation policies have been standard in every childcare agreement/contract I've ever signed, so if it's in there, your husband doesn't really have a whole lot of ground to stand on. I can understand him not liking it but this is a good reason to read the fine print, as they say.


You are paying for that space whether you are there or not.

That is very common in day care.

N. Marie

It is standard in my experience that you pay for your own vacation and sick days. I always considered that I was paying for my son's spot, not the actual time he was there. Because it's not as if the care provider could easily fill his slot for a few days here and there if he wasn't there. I paid her to reserve his spot, whether or not we used it.

From my personal expeience, most daycares give a designated amount of vacation days in which you do not have to pay for those days, but I have had to pay for when my daycare takes time off as it was contracted time off, I would get a written contract from your provider so that you do not have this kind of problem in the future.

Hello RL,

I will try to address your issue. From what I read in your post your concern is your child. What a great place to start from. I have been a childcare provider for 10+ years now. I have a contract that does ask that the families I serve pay me when they are on vacation. I do ask for two weeks notice to make adjustments in my activities and meals. This has become a standard in childcare because of it being a self-employed business. The real issues that I read in your post is in the way that your provider inforced her policies. I am sorry that you felt a need to just conceded. This should never be a reason to make a choice. DH had a good way of dealing with the provider. One of reasoning. The real issue is that if you feel your provider is not the most agreeable/reasonable person why is your child still in her care? My dear RL. Never forget that you have a choice. Never forget that your peace of mind starts with the happiness of your child and your family. Trust yourself and make the sometimes hard choices that ultimately feel good.

A Little About Me:
I am a mother of five and grandmother of four. I have owned and operated a family childcare for 10+ years. I am also a family relationship consultant and licensed spiritual counselor. My best work in any area of life comes from my deep connection with others no matter what age, race, sex, be you human, animal, or plant. My presence with others is LOVE.

Yes- it is standard to pay. Good daycare is very hard to find. If you find someone who you can trust, treat them with respect and honor your end of the contract. If she is as good as you say, I'm sure there is a waiting list of parents willing to pay while on vacation that could easily replace your child. My child is in a great daycare now that she loves and knows and is happy to go there everyday. You can't pay enough for that kind of security.

RL, I'm sorry ....for both my kids...we always had to pay for vacations...for both home day cares as well as child care centers!


This is standard and also fair. Do you get vacation pay? Does your husband? My guess is yes. This is her livelihood- same as your job and your husband's.

I have to admit I was surprised when this came up for me but my dad (of all people) explained it to me this way and it made sense.

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