Daycare/Preschool Vacation, Sick, Holidays... Paid or Unpaid?

Updated on August 08, 2012
J.K. asks from Davis, CA
15 answers

I am in the process of changing the structure of my daycare program to more of a preschool... both in hours and curriculum. In doing so, I am revising my policies (which I haven't done at all for 4 years), and I am wondering what most providers do about vacation, holiday, sick pay? Do you have families pay for some but not others i.e. holidays but not vacation? A limited number of sick days paid...? During this transition, many of my current families are staying. On the one hand I don't want it to be a drastic change for them, but on the other, I feel like in many full -time jobs you get paid time and it would be a good time to implement new policies.

It's been several years since my kids were in preschool, but it seems like we paid a certain monthly tuition regardless of holidays or closure for spring break etc...

ETA: Thanks for your answers so far... I'm not calling myself a preschool. The emphasis of what I am doing is preschool stuff though, with more structure and focussed activity. I'm charging the same as I did for most of my parents existing, figuring that if people were willing to pay what I was charging for daycare, they would be fine with the same rate for a more enhanced program. Most of our preschools here are large and there's a population of people looking for a smaller more personal option where their kids will learnt he same stuff but not be swallowed by a program of 30 kids

The vacation/sick/holiday conundrum is whether to have families pay for all of the time I take off or just partial time. The program is a half day so will be reaching a different group of people than those who need all day care. In my current policies, I take off holidays which are paid, but I am not paid for sick time or my vacation time. The rest is standard... people pay for the time that they agree to for care whether the child is here or not, and for extended leave (to hold their spot) they pay half the tuition for the time that they are gone. And I run year round with no breaks in the summer unless we take (unpaid) vac. time then.

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answers from Chicago on

I did daycare for years. The contract stated that each family got 2 weeks of time per year that they did not pay. any there time they took through the year was paid. I took 2 weeks per year of vacation time also. I tried to incorporate it so that at least one week was the same as the parents took off. the other week I took when I wanted it.

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answers from Dallas on

We spend X dollars per month for daycare. The daycare is closed on major holidays and also @ two weeks a year for their vacation and another two to three days for staff development or staff work days.

Build in another 5 sick days for yourself.

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answers from Washington DC on

We paid a weekly tuition for DD in daycare and will pay monthly for preschool. There are days off (they followed/follow the school district most of the time) but if my kid was sick, there was no drop in fee. They still had to keep the lights on for everybody else. At the daycare, we got 1 week vacation without having to pay after being there 1 year.

If a preschool or daycare offered x sick days or holidays where I got the day free, that would be an incentive to use them. But I'm pretty sure our preschool doesn't do that.

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answers from Grand Forks on

When my boys went to pre-school (it was not a daycare) it was Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon from September to June. It was closed two weeks for Xmas holidays and one week for spring break, and if there was a school inservice or a holiday there was no school. I paid $80 a month, regardless of how many school days were in the month, or whether my kids were there or not.

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answers from Indianapolis on

My daughter goes to a home daycare. They provide transportation to the preschool (in a church). I pay a set monthly amount for preschool (this year it is $145 a month for 4 mornings). I pay my daycare $100 per week. She takes one one week vacation and is closed major holidays. I pay regardless. In the 7 years we've been going there, I think she may have been closed maybe once due to illness. She also reports her income on her taxes, so that is a deduction for me.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

If you are going to be a preschool you'll need to get affiliated with your local school district for accreditation. You will only be able to charge a monthly fee like a private school. You will also not have school the days that school is out of session nor be able to charge for those days.

Either you are child care open 7-6 mon-fri or you are a preschool program open 8-3 the same days as the local school district. Closed all holidays and breaks just like the school system.

I think that having a good preschool program for your child care business is a good business move but I would promote the curriculum as part of the child care services and not that you are a preschool. Pick one or the other and stick with that.

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answers from Boston on

At the daycare center my kids used, we paid for holidays and sick days. Two weeks a year we could take "vacation" and not pay for daycare services, provided we gave at least 2 weeks notice. We could also take summers off without paying and keep our spot for the school year.

I know of an in-home daycare where you pay half on sick days and pay for holidays. In addition, you have to pay for 1 or 2 weeks vacation pay a year so the provider can take a paid vacation.

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answers from Detroit on

most centers charge you for your scheduled days no matter what.. if you sign up for Mon-Wed-Fri.. you pay for those days even if your child is absent due to sickness or the day is a holiday.

I used a kindercare center this year.. and I negotiated to only pay for the days we were there. Of course kindercare is $116 per day for 2 kids.

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answers from Dover on

My son attended daycare for before and after care (and summer care) only. My daughter attended a private in-home daycare until she was 3.5 and then a preschool center. Since she was ready but too young for school and would be bored to repeat, I then put her in Pre-K at a private school. My point being, I have seen different types of centers and this is what I have found...all charge by the week, regardless of if the child actually attends or not. They all have paid holidays, which varied by center. The centers didn't close for sick days or vacations but the in-home providers did and yes, they were paid).

What I would personally suggest in making the changes, is start all new families on your new rules but work with the existing parents as to not completely change all at once...for instance if you are changing from no paid holidays, sick days, or vacation days to 8 holidays, 3 sicks days, and 5 vacation days...maybe do the existing families w/ just the holidays for the next year and then kick the rest in. If you are changing the rates, step them up (if you are going from $120 per week to $150, make theirs $135 when the rest go up and then $150 at either the end of the calendar year or school year).

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answers from St. Louis on

I am a private, unlicensed, inhome daycare.

I use the following rules:

If I take off, you do not pay me.
Therefore, you do not pay me for my vacations, dr appts, nor for family emergencies. In all of these cases, I am assuming you will have to find & pay for alternative care.

For the rest of the year, my fee is a flat-weekly rate, regardless of the time you take off. I receive pay for all federal holidays, vacations, & personal time off....including sick days. For most of my dr appts, I do strive for end-of-day appts....& my daily rate is not adjusted for this time off unless I work a half-day or less.

**some parents complain & try to fight me over my policies. I live in a small town, & my policies are in-line with the other daycares....except the fly-by-night providers who last a year or so. Hope this all helps!

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answers from Dallas on

We pay monthly tuition regardless of holidays, sick days or our vacation days. However, daycares typically take few standard holidays (New Year's Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, some also take day after Thanksgiving, some take Christmas Eve, and Christmas day). Most seem to be open MLK day, President's Day, Veteran's Day, etc. All the schools in our area also close for one full day sometime around August for their teachers to take the state mandated training courses to renew their licenses, and that's just anotherday that has been paid as part of the tuition. We don't get credited back for it or anything like that.

My daughter's school has a summer program for June - July during which time there is the option to pay a weekly amount for just the weeks planned to attend. The weeks have to be scheduled in advance, and the cost works out where it's only more economical to pay a weekly amount if the child will be gone for 2 full weeks. My daughter's school also closes down entirely for two weeks at Christmas, matching the public school. We still pay for the month. They do NOT close down for Spring Break. I'm looking at a new school for her, and it does not close down at Christmas break or Spring Break. Her previous school also did not close down for those times. The new school does offer 5 days vacation time to the kids (meaning parents don't pay for a week when they're gone) after one year at the school.

From your post, I can't tell if you plan to close down to take a vacation for yourself and want to have that included in the tuition being paid. I'd say that might meet with some resistance from the parents.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, monthly tuition is the same each month, regardless of whether there are holidays in that month. If a child is out sick or on vacation, they still pay for the full month to hold their spot for when they return.

The only exception is summer. Most schools consider summer school an addition and may charge different rates or have different policies. Many offer multiple summer sessions, often every two weeks is a new session, so that families can go on holidays/vacations when they choose. Enrollment for the following school year generally happens in the spring, so they will be secured their spot in September even if they choose not to attend in July or August.

I have never heard of a preschool where the child doesn't pay if they are out sick. And, even though some months like xmas have a two week break, tuition is still the regular monthly rate.

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answers from San Francisco on

My son's preschool is $X dollars per month. The teacher takes all the school days of the year for the child and adds them up and then divides it. This is the monthly fee. I like that the daily cost is in her letter at the beginning of the year. So, it's maybe $30 per day and my son goes 3 days a week, that'd be $360 a month. (They are 1/2 days.) Holidays are built in. My son doesn't go on Mondays, which I like. Holiday seem to fall a lot on Mondays. She didn't take any sick days. Her husband and son also run the preschool. They take spring break and, I think, 2 weeks in winter. The rates aren't lower for these months. They also take the month of August off and we don't pay. Good luck!



answers from Kansas City on

I am a childcare provider.

I take 2 weeks of vacation each year. I offer my clients one "fee free week" each year. They can use that week during one of my vacation weeks, or a week that they take off, whatever they prefer.

I have 3 personal days written in to my policies. I use those very rarely really. I had jury duty earlier in the year and used one then. I try to save these for sick days and times that I need a day for a school event or something.

I am paid for all major holidays as well as the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.




answers from San Francisco on

In my experience, home-based daycare/preschool programs have always had a policy where parents pay a flat rate per month, period. So if the child is sick, or the family goes on vacation, or the provider takes a vacation, or the provider is sick, or there's a holiday... the family still pays the same amount. Now in some cases I've seen where the provider gets sick, she has gotten an assistant to come in and help so that she didn't have to close her program. But the way I see it, employers give their employees paid vacation and sick time, and as the DCP "employer" we parents should provide the same.

One thing that I would urge you to do is to provide your clients with a schedule of holidays well in advance, and to have a policy where you will let them know your intentions to take a vacation at least ____ weeks in advance of your plans. My last DCP never let us know about this stuff in advance, and although at first it was no big deal, after nearly 3 years it really did start to get to me.

Good luck with your plans! They sound exciting.

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