Daycare Vacations/holiday Pay

Updated on December 06, 2014
A.H. asks from Rock Island, IL
19 answers

I'm new to this daycare thing and I was just curious about those of you that use a licensed daycare provider. How do they handle holidays they are closed (do you have to pay those days) and if they take a vacation, do you still have to pay them for that time they take off? Our current provider is closed New Years Eve & day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the Friday after, Christmas Eve and day. Then I was informed today that another paid holiday added to 2015 is Groundhog Day. She also is taking almost a 3 week vacation at Christmas that I have to pay for. Does this sound normal? As I said I'm new to this and not sure how other providers work.

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So What Happened?

Thank you to all that responded. I can see paying for the holidays, but the 3 weeks in December has me reeling, also along with another mom. I understand having to pay her if we go on vacation (so I can keep my spot), but I'm having a hard time with paying her while she's on vacation. My son goes to an in home day care provider and she is closed December 18 and will not reopen until January 6, for their family vacation, which I still have to pay for those 13 days that she is not open. Luckily I have my in laws that can watch him during this time and I have vacation time I can take, so I am not having to spend double the money. I am on a waiting list to get him into a preschool/daycare that is open 52 weeks out of the year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can get in very soon! Plus, she also gets 3 paid sick days a year. She takes good care of our son, but I feel like we're being taken advantage of in some aspects.

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answers from Phoenix on

If I close, the parents don't pay. If they take a day off, they use 1 of 10 free days I give yearly or pay me 1/2 for the day.
I close Thanksgiving day, Christmas Eve, Christmas day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's day. Holidays like Labor Day, 4th of July, etc. are bonus days for me where no one comes in (usually) but I get partial pay or they use a free day.
In 11 years, I've never received a paid vacation or paid sick day. I'm a snall business owner that gets paid for providing a service. No service, no pay.

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answers from Washington DC on

i was right there with her until the 3 weeks paid vacation at christmas. federal holidays? absolutely. groundhog day? :::::eyeroll:::::: fine. paid vacation time? yeah. but 1 week is much more reasonable.
daycare is an honorable profession and should be well-compensated. but it's not a golden parasol.

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answers from San Francisco on

Three weeks at Christmas that you have to pay for?? No. That is not normal. I think most of the holidays listed are typical because they are major holidays that most people have off (obviously not for all jobs everywhere, but I don't think you'll find a daycare anywhere that's open for Christmas, for example). Groundhog Day is not a reasonable day off. Who even knows when that is?! Nobody gets that day off.

When my kids were little, we had them in a variety of care situations, and if *we* took our kids out for a vacation, then of course we were expected to still pay in order to keep our kids' spot available. Fair enough. If the provider wanted a vacation, it was typical for them to notify us well in advance of the week (only one week) when they would be taking time off. If they took any other time off, it was expected that they would arrange for another licensed provider to serve as their "backup" to watch the kids. It is not reasonable whatsoever to take 4 weeks off per year (3 at Christmas, and then the various other holidays). Days like New Year's Eve and the day after Thanksgiving are days when most people with office jobs have to work, so your provider is really asking you to scramble to find other arrangements, or never to be able to take a vacation yourself, because you will have used all your vacation time to cover for her onesie-twosie all year long. That's not right. Unless you really love this person, I'd look into other arrangements that are more reliable.

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answers from Washington DC on

My sitter took all of the Federal Holidays, plus the day before and after Thanksgiving. For vacation she gave herself 10 days a year, but if she took a full week straight, we didn't pay. We also got one free week per year where we didn't pay if we took the whole week off.

Sounds like your sitter is really taking advantage by taking THREE weeks off right at Christmas and expecting to be paid for all of them. I don't know many people who get that much leave themselves.

So the three week thing would be a deal breaker for me. I'd have to pay double (to have someone else over that time) and that's just not doable for me.

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answers from New York on

I think it all should have been spelled out upfront and I also think it's tough to think of it as paying for her vacation yet lots of jobs give paid vacation, right? We always had a nanny but we paid for her vacation time and whenever we went away even when it meant she was getting about 6 weeks paid vacation on top of holidays. At that point I changed our terms but it is like any business transaction. So think of paying the daycare an annual fee in monthly installments. Of course, stinks if you just joined or don't stay the year. But overall, I know the large daycare centers could cover employee vacations but in home ones seem to close sometimes.

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answers from Boston on

A typical schedule would be to pay for all national holidays (New Year's Day, MLK day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, maybe Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas), so 10 total, plus a couple of weeks vacation. Groundhog day is a bit silly but including that would put her at 9 paid holidays, which is fewer than most people get anyway.

The only thing that seems out of line is the 3 weeks - in a row - paid. It's one thing for her to pick a week in the summer and a week in December where hopefully you can choose the same weeks so that you're not paying her vacation AND paying for childcare while you work. That's totally normal. But I would imagine that you and/or your husband can't take 3 weeks off in December, so you're going to have to find (and pay for) childcare during that time, which is not at all reasonable.

I would push back on that and trade off...offer something like 2 weeks paid in December and one week unpaid, or pay all 3 weeks but then YOU don't pay for the days when you are on vacation and have your child and she's not working.

If it's a group care setting with multiple staff members, that would obviously change things but my guess is that that's not the case because otherwise, she would have other staff to cover that extended vacation period.

My kids were at a day care center and I paid the same amount every week, so vacations and staff vacations were built into the rate that we paid but at no time was I ever paying for care that I wasn't getting on a day that I had to work and then pay someone else to watch my kids too. I also had one week a year that we didn't have to pay if we scheduled that week off a few months in advance.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Yes. You are paying for a slot in their business. They cannot take another child in when your child is absent and they have notified you of the days they're closed and that you will have to pay for those days.

It's common to pay by the week regardless of how many days you actually have care on weeks. Like Thanksgiving. They were likely closed Thursday and Friday. That week would have been a full charge too.

I would not say that giving her a paid 3 week vacation is normal though. I haven't ever heard of that. If this is a home situation she is the only provider in the business. If you have a center the staff can take a vacation and the business not close down. In our town a couple of places do close for deep cleaning and painting once a year for a week or two. But they don't charge for those weeks.

I wouldn't use this provider because of the 3 week thing. That is too much of a hardship on the parents. You have to pay them plus a caregiver to watch the kids while this provider is on vacation so that would be a deal breaker for me.

I don't use home care givers anyway because I want other adults in the area to be able to do breaks, lunch time, and to have that checks and balances available. I know there are a lot of good home providers out there but I want more than one person to take care of my kiddos.

In a home situation the caregiver can actually go take a shower while the kids are there or take a nap when the kids are napping, it's like being at home with your own kids. I don't like that. Who's watching the kids when that provider is in the bathroom or in the kitchen cooking or taking out the trash? No one is.

In your home with your own children you are taking a risk when you leave them alone. When you leave other peoples children alone you are risking someone else's lives and that's not right.

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answers from Portland on

When I had my own preschools, I charged a monthly tuition and built in X amount of days off (spring break, winter break) into the fee schedule. What that means is that I calculated an hourly rate for care which I then applied for ALL of the days I would be *available to work* during the school year and then broke that down into ten tuition installments. Thus, each month's tuition was the same whether or not the month had the same amount of days, etc. This was for ease for clients as well as ensuring I knew what sort of income I could count on.

So, let's say one month I was available every day preschool ran (I ran a four-day a week program); and the next month we had a day off for conferences or the winter break-- tuition would still be the same because I had already calculated the time off and was actually taking part of it unpaid.Parents paid for conference days (because there's work in prepping for conferences and time spent with the parents) and for about half of the total holidays, etc we took, which was the traditional 2 weeks in winter and 1 week in March, this in conjunction with the local school district, thus, time families would typically be taking off. I made an effort to work with the typical family's schedule. So, parents were not completely subsidizing my vacation time (they paid for six out of twelve days of vacation.) I don't think it's reasonable to expect that much paid time off, esp if families are around and will still need care.

On the days when I was unavailable due to illness and other families had to find care, I always prorated them the cost of each day's care or cut them a check, whichever they preferred, to pay them back for the lost day of care. A good provider should know how much it costs to run their program per day per child, this should include expenses (insurance, cleaning supplies, activity materials, food, etc) and wages.

If it were me, I'd ask how she calculates her 'holiday time' because it sounds like she is being VERY generous to herself in this regard. I can tell you that in the years I worked as a private nanny or had my preschools, no client would have readily approved this idea. (I had two weeks paid vacation, when the family vacationed, written in per year and was to be paid for any scheduled days that I could not work due to the family being unavailable-- my sick days were unpaid.) This is not normal at all.

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answers from Tampa on

Ah...home daycare.

We used a home daycare provider until our children started school. I loved, loved the extra attention that my children got. But, vacation was sometimes an issue. You should get everything up front in writing. I didn't, but asked all of these questions up front. However, as the years progressed, she started wanting more vacation time and time off. We would have to either pay someone else to watch the kids or one of use would have to take the time off. There was one year that she took 2 vacations early in the year. By that time, she did not have a back up provider. Then she got very sick and had to have surgery later in the year and needed time off. Obviously not her fault. However, we essentially exhausted all of our vacation time accommodating her...hence we did not get to take a family vacation that year. That was a hard pill to swallow. It was a little tough not to feel a bit resentful since she got her 2 vacations in, yet we got to take none.

We felt that we were sometimes taken advantage of, but allowed it because the kids were well cared for and they loved her. We now use a after-school program in a daycare center. I don't have to worry with the vacations of the employees.

I don't regret using a home daycare at all. I am however glad that I do not have to deal with the vacation issue any longer though. That being said, our home provider is still a very close friend of the family and we love her dearly.

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answers from Dallas on

Sounds like you have a licensed in home provider while daycare centers tend to have very similar policies to each other in regards to holidays in home providers are all different. This should have all been outlined in her policies and procedures and these should have been provided you registered with her.

I've heard of in home only charging for the days or weeks your child attends to two weeks paid vacation. I've seen quite a few: you pay them 1 week of their vacation week and you get to take 1 week vacation where you don't pay them.

Generally if you pay weekly I'd expect to pay for standard holidays but I'd know what those where upfront.


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answers from Columbia on

So not only do you have to find some other caregiver for 3 weeks during the holiday season, you also have to pay her?

And Groundhog Day? Which isn't even a real holiday?

Yeah...NO. I can understand paying for 2 weeks' vacation and federal holidays. But not 3 weeks and lesser holidays as well. That's too much. Also, if she is just now giving you notice for her 3 week vacation? That's not much time to find another caregiver. I'd be looking for a new provider who isn't trying to fleece me.

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answers from Washington DC on

If memory served, we paid for all holidays, even if DD was out sick or we were on vacation. Our facility did not close for an extended period, so if they closed say Dec. 25 and 31, they were still available to us the rest of the month. Once we had been there 1 year, we got 1 week for free, which we could use for a vacation week (we ended up paying the summer and getting our free week in the fall).

The three weeks at Christmas would be too hard for me. I wouldn't have been able to do that. Essentially, she is taking the month of Dec. off and you'll have to get a short term provider. That would be a deal breaker for me, to have to pay 2x for that long so I could keep working. My employer certainly still expected me at work in Dec!

The day here and there - no biggie, IMO, even if Ground Hog day is a little much. Our center largely followed the school district for major holidays. But three weeks at Christmas? Paid? This is next year, right? I'd find another caregiver before then. (If she means this year, I'd be furious. That is very short notice!) Maybe one week paid. While we did pay preschool tuition upfront for Jan and Dec, it wasn't 3 weeks off. She's unreasonable about December. Look for someone else. Maybe a center where they can make adjustments based on staff and children. Our center asked in November who would be around in late Dec/early Jan and planned staff days off accordingly (example, if there were only 2 babies and one one year old, they could combine rooms to give someone a day off).

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answers from Boston on

You're being taken advantage of.

The holidays sound reasonable but adding Groundhog Day?? She has something else she wants to do on that day. If it were a professional development day, she would have told you that. 3 weeks off at once? Nope.

If you take your kid off for a vacation, you have to pay because the provider cannot fill that slot. But if she takes off, you have to pay for another babysitting option out of your own pocket because no other provider is going to take you for those days.

I think the suggestion below of a few floating days for the families and a week or 2 paid for the provider is great. Maybe 1 or 2 days for relicensing or professional development - but you should know about those well ahead of time. But suddenly finding out that there is a 3 week period with no day care? Unprofessional.

Day care providers don't usually make a lot of money, and they don't have sick days unless they have another employee who can carry the load. So I sympathize with their situation. Many families take advantage of them, and that's not right. Still, the vacation sounds excessive and seems to be short notice, which makes me question it.

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answers from Seattle on

This is apparently an in-home provider. When we considered one, the provider stated up front, in the contract, which holidays and vacation days she would be taking off. This included a vacation for her. Three weeks sounds excessive, but 2 weeks sounds normal. Knowing this up front allows you to plan your holidays around your schedule, if you'd like. This would be akin to allowing a nanny to have paid vacation and holidays.

Groundhog day is unusual, but it is in the middle of a long period between other holidays, and she will probably need a break.



answers from Jacksonville on

Groundhog Day?! All of the other holidays sound standard and I'd gladly pay for those, but not Groundhog Day or 3 full weeks at Christmas. What does she expect you to do for those 3 her AND pay someone else to actually watch your child?!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Can you please clarify - is your daycare closed for 3 weeks, and you are paying every day? Or your child is going on a vacation for 3 weeks and you are pulling her out?

If the daycare is closed for 3 weeks but you are still paying, this is ridiculous (but I'm guessing it's not, because you say above that it's only closed Christmas eve and day, and New Years eve and day).

If it's your child that is going on vacation for 3 weeks then yes, you still pay to hold her spot even when she's not there. At my daycare, you pay 1/2 of the normal fee during vacation weeks.

The rest of the holidays are standard paid holidays. Groundhog day is unusual, but my center is closed two non-standard holidays each year to attend professional development education and I still pay on those days. So that does occasionally happen.

ETA: Ok, it is the provider going away for 3 weeks. This would be a deal-breaker for me. I hope you get off the wait list into the center soon! Did they give you any kind of estimated timeline? It would be nice to tell your current provider goodbye before her 3 week vacation starts.



answers from Chicago on

I did home daycare for years I got 8 paid holidays a year (days I was closed but families paid the full weekly rate anyway

New Years day
Good Friday
Memorial Day
4th of July
Labor Day
Thanksgiving and Day after
Christmas Day

I also got 1 week of paid vacation per year. I gave each family 2 weeks they could take off each year without paying me. But random days they decided to take off to say go to the zoo etc were still paid days for me as I did not choose to take the day off.

Ground Hogs day is a ridiculous day to take off. It is not normal and it sounds like she is maybe trying to get rid of her current lot of parents.



answers from Minneapolis on

what? did you sign a contract? shes self employed why would you pay her vacation time? then have to pay for another daycare while shes on vacation? i would taboot onto another daycare..



answers from Kansas City on

When we had an in home daycare, she had the same holidays we did, and we paid her for them. She also took 2 weeks vacation that we paid, but we were also allowed to take 2 weeks vacation that we didn't pay. And she took the same vacation ever year, the last week of june and first week of july to go to either her family in England or her husband's in Florida, so we knew plenty of time in advance to find alternate arrangements. We would not have given groundhog day as a paid vacation, though we did give her good Friday as both she and her husband were very religious (being a former nun and former monk but both still very active in the church) I figured one religious holiday was fair. But Groundhog day? No way.

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