Home Daycares and Maternity Leaves

Updated on April 25, 2011
M.S. asks from Lincolnshire, IL
24 answers

I provide daycare for three families in my home. I love all of the moms I work with and the kids are all great as well. One of my full time parents will be taking a maternity leave this fall. She does not plan on bringing her child to me at all during the leave. That puts me in a position were I will be loosing 1/3 of my salary for 12 weeks. What do other home daycare providers due in this situation. Normally parents will bring their child at least part time while they are on leave, so I will not be loosing the entire paycheck from that family. I would love to ask her to pay full or half, but I do not want to loose her or be unfair to her!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from St. Louis on

I have a written policy that the ONLY time I am not paid is when I take off.

My families have to pay for all holidays, their vacations, & their time off. If they want their spot held, then they have to pay me. I cannot run a business if I am not paid. My expenses remain the same (for the most part) & I cannot bankrupt my own family by allowing non-payment.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

I was paying $700 a month for my oldest at an in home daycare and when I went on maternity leave I paid her $500 and took my oldest twice a week so I could spend time with the baby. Any other place would make her pay full price to hold the spot. I think splitting it may be the best for both,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If you were a daycare center, the mom would be expected to pay all or some of the amount in order to hold the place.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from San Diego on

Hi, I'm a daycare provider as well, I just had a mom come back off maternity leave, her 2 year old was only with me maybe 3 days out of the 6 weeks, I was still paid in full. In my contract it states that my fee is not based on attendance, but based on the security of the slot, my fee is 120.00 a week regardless of attendance, the continued payment keeps that slot secure for when the child returns, my parents are all military and they still get their regular pay during their maternity leave, lets just say all three of your familys take a summer vacation then what? I know many providers and they all charge wheater the child is there or not because it's their slot, and you can't fill a slot temporary and then termanate the child when the other one comes back, I have been doing this for 14 years and i have only had a couple people have issues about that so I explained this way. When you rent an apartment you pay your rent every month, if you were to take a month vacation you still have to pay for that month ecven though you didn';t occupy for that month, because it's reserved for you, sweetie it's the same way with daycare children have a reserved spot in your daycare, it has to be paid for, that is not unfair, if you loose her she'll be back because I don't know any providers that don't still charge, and before I did daycare I called around to a lot of daycares and got a lot of advice, I was told they pay wheather the child is there or not, and state that in my contract, by signing the contract they are agreeing to terms of my contract. If you have any more questions you can e-mail me at [email protected]____.com J. L

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

When I have had this situation I have offered for them to go to Part time during her maternity leave. This way they are still paying you to hold the spot, but they are also getting some time to rest with just the baby and the older child is staying in the daycare routine. I think I did 3 days/week. This seemed fair to all. Also, what if she in the end decides not to come back and you wait all that time without filling the spot. As much as I really like all the families I provide daycare for--my family and business come first!

Hope this helps!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

In my daycare, I have families pay half of the tuition for an extended leave. During that time they can bring the child for 2 days a week if they want to. The only time I've done this so far has been for a family that goes on sabbatical from December through February each year, so in that case the child didn't come at all, but half tuition (paid before they left) held their spot.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am guessing that you don't have a contract
with you families. If you do, you must not have
vacation time/ leave tine pay spelled out in
your contract. Unfortunately you have no
right to ask for this after the fact. Your mom
is probably not being payed for her leave
or she is only bring paid s portion. That is
probably why she is not sending her child
to you during her leave. I use to do inhome
daycare and all of that was clear before any
family startedcwith me. Personally I did not
make anyone pay me for their vacations and
I did not charge my families ehen I went on
leave or vacation. I knew that those families
would have to pay someone else when I
wasn't available. But, that wad my choice
and I know of in-home daycare providers
that charge their families while they go on
vacation because they feel they deserve
vacation pay. Once again this is spelled
out in a contract beforehand. I think at this
point it will burn a bridge that you don't want
to burn. Just think after the baby comes
you will be adding income. Chalk this up
to a lesson learned and get yourself a
contract before any new families start
coming in to your home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

My home daycare lady has in her policy book that if you take an "extended" leave where you will not be bringing in the child (i.e. vacations, maternity leave, etc.) that you will pay a reduced rate (for me I have to pay 2/3 of my regular rate) in order for her to hold your spot. Otherwise, she cannot guarantee you a spot when you are ready to return. I think it's unfair for her to expect that she doesn't have to pay you to keep her spot in the daycare while she is on maternity leave. It only seems fair to me as you need a salary to live off of too and if you hold it with no pay, that is money you lose when you could put another kid in her place and make some money. Plus, if she was at a daycare facility she would have to pay full price to keep the spot, whether the kid came or not.

Do you have a policy manual that you give parents when they enroll? If not I would STRONGLY suggest one. My daycare lady was very efficient with everything (from times of service, late fees for picking up kids late, what you are expected to provide and what she is expected to provide, holidays, extended leaves, no show policy, sick policy, etc.). If you have one and you don't have something in there about it, then you might have to just explain to this mom your position on the matter (i.e. you understand that she will be home and can watch her child for free, but this is your living and that you cannot go an extended amount of time without payment so she will either have to pay X amount or you will advertise for her spot and she may potentially have to find another daycare when she is ready to put her kids back in depending on your openings), let her make a decision, and go from there. This is your business, so don't be afraid about hurting someones feelings. Then put something in your policies about extended leaves!

*ADDED: My daycares lady policy is a LOT like Dee's. Even today, I'm at work and my son is having to be watched by a family member because my Daycare lady took the Easter Holiday, which I paid for. She does not make me pay for days that she decides to take off that are not holidays (she takes up to two weeks vacation each year that I do not have to pay for those days) and I get 2 sick days at no charge. But, if I decide to take a vacation or something and won't need her for a full week, I still pay for the days.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

The in home daycare my oldest went to had it included in the contract that half the tuition would be paid to hold your child's place if they would not be there for a length of time I think it's fair I think it unfair that she would expect you told her child's spot and loose that much of your salary.



answers from Tampa on

I use a home daycare. When I was on maternity leave with my 2nd child, my first child still went to daycare. Granted it was less hours. I just waited until everyone woke up in my house to take the oldest over to my home daycare provider. I did this to keep consistentency in my older child's schedule. I then had the day with the baby...It was very helpful since I could nap a bit during the day since she had her days and nights confused. It worked out well. I knew that my home daycare provider could not afford not to get paid and I planned on using her for both kids when I returned to work.



answers from Chicago on

Do you know for certain that she is returning? Is she willing to pay you a retainer fee to hold her spot - or is she allowing you to replace her space with another child? It isn't her fault that it is 1/3 of your salary - that is your choice in the size of business you are running. If she was in a commercial daycare - what would they do?


answers from Dover on

Typically, to hold a spot, any licensed provider requires the parent pay at least a nominal fee. Otherwise, that spot is open to anyone who may need it. I have heard of some that will charge their full rate, others who will charge a reduced rate based on the spot minus food costs that the provider will not be putting out, or if they have different rates for baby, toddlers, and older kids they may charge the least of these to help the parent out while holding the spot.

What does your contract say? Are they planning to bring their baby there after the 12 weeks? If so, are they paying for that spot to be reserved? I would consider these things and review the contract, figure out a few different ideas that you are ok with and then have a conversation with the parents.



answers from Chicago on

My daycare provide me to take my child out for 2 months when I was on maternity and I didn't have to pay but I had to pay registeration fee of $20.00 to hold a spot for him and the new baby



answers from Albuquerque on

Seems like you have three choices. First, you could find another child to fill the spot, either temporarily or permanently. Second, you could just deal with the decrease in income. Or third, you could ask the family to pay a portion of your fees to hold their spot. Just be aware that a lot of families wouldn't be able to do that... you may lose them if you ask for them to pay to keep the spot. But if you decide to do it, personally I'd say you could ask for maybe 1/4 of your normal fee... but even that might be high.



answers from Redding on

Money is tight for everyone right now. Paying for a service you aren't using can be a tough pill to swallow.
That said, even free after school programs require that a child attend a certain amount of days per week in order to keep their spot. Obviously, a child who is too sick to attend school at all is different and excusable, but this is done because there is such a long waiting list to get in. It's not fair for it to be used as an occasional "drop-in" situation when there are so many parents who really need that help with their children after school every single day.
I can certainly understand someone wanting to be with their children and have bonding time during maternity leave, but you might want to talk to the mother about the possibility of arranging for her to still bring her child at least a few days a week for so many hours. in order to keep the spot open for when she returns to work. No doubt there will be times when she can still benefit from the little one being supervised while she has appointments, rests or whatever she needs to do. Keeping up an extent of routine for the child will also make it less difficult for the child to return to daycare once her leave is over. These are very practical things for you to propose. If she still doesn't want to bring her child and she doesn't want to negotiate a price for keeping the spot open, then the only thing you can do is look for another child to fill the position and the loss of income for yourself. It's nothing personal, it's business.
I wouldn't be offended if she doesn't want to pay for not bringing her child. Just let her know that you will be willing to revisit the situation once her leave is over if you still have room available.
You like her, you adore her child...no hard feelings intended.
I don't know her situation at all, but the possibility exists that she won't return to work after her leave and then you'd have gone 12 weeks before looking for another kid to care for.
I personally think paying full price is asking too much. Maybe you can reach a compromise where you are both getting something you need.

I hope you get some great responses and are able to work this out for the best.



answers from Chicago on

I believe my DIL faced this same problem when summer came and her caretaker wanted $$...She had to agree to bring the child a couple of days a week and pay for even more...



answers from Chicago on

I don't know if you can do anything specific to apply to this family, but I would suggest that you create a policy statement about this for any future situations of a similar nature. Basically, parents should know this when they enroll their child. I think it would be typical to charge a percentage of the usual tuition to hold the child's spot. Perhaps you can waive this if the parent recruits another parent who needs child care while the first mom is on maternity leave (can also consider providing care for 4 families when the first mom comes back from leave).
Just my 2 cents worth.


answers from Kansas City on

Lose her. If she doesn't care about your income you don't need her. Babies are usually planned and if not, well we all know how they come about. They really aren't surprises. If she cared that much she would be offering to keep you on payroll. There are plenty of other families out there. That's my stance anyway. I will NOT voluntarily lose money for my families. I love them as people, but I don't run a bank. I run a daycare. My bills only get paid when people are using my services.

On the other hand, if you really want the new baby and she is planning on bringing them both back you have to decide if it's worth waiting. BUT...I've been burned way too many times waiting for people to come back and then they fall in love with being at home and then all the sudden you get a call a few days before they come back with the GREAT NEWS that they've decided to run their own daycare.



answers from Chicago on

When I went on leave, I didn't have to pay my daycare provider during that time. I do however have to pay her 2 weeks vacation as well as paid holidays (any holiday I get paid for, she gets paid for). She also gives us 10 days to take off with no charge.



answers from Chicago on

Wow, I'm surprised that not a single person has sided with the mother on this one! While I understand the position you're in, you must also see that she's probably in exactly the same position. Maternity leave in the US is almost never paid leave, which means that family is probably using up what little vacation time she has left (probably only a week) and is spending the rest of the time without her income at all. How many families can afford to send a child to daycare, even during a time when they have no income? It's a little unfair to expect her to 1. bring her child to daycare if she wants to have them home and/or can't afford to send them and 2. charge her that weekly fee regardless to "hold" her spot. I can understand charging a small fee to hold the spot, but if her child won't be attending daycare, I would think that would be a small fee, say $100 per month that she'll be on leave. I understand your situation, but I'm sure there's something else you can do, especially given that she's given you plenty of notice to plan ahead. Maybe you can watch other children temporarily, while that spot is vacant? It's not ideal, and I can see your predicament. But I don't see how it's OK to put her in that same predicament right back. HTH & good luck!



answers from Spokane on

This really depends on what you can afford. If you can afford losing that salary and want to be sure you hang on to the family, then do that - but I would make sure they are planning to come back to you. You can bet the mom would be oh so greatful and you would have a fantastic reference from her for the future! If you can't afford it, tell her. Let her know how much you love her and her child, but that in order to keep the day care (and your own household) afloat for the other families, you need to be paid for those 12 weeks, by her or someone else. It's then her choice to pay or lose her slot. This is really common in the day care world, don't feel bad about it, it's just the business side of life!


answers from Birmingham on

I do not think it's unreasonable at all for her to pay say, half-price to hold her child's place. I think it's normal actually.



answers from Bloomington on

I agree with what Trish C has to say. Sounds very reasonable to ask them pay a small fee to hold a spot or face a chance of losing it.



answers from Chicago on

I also have a home daycare and I require full payment year round (I do give 5 sick days and 5 vacation days that they may take without charge per year). If I take time off, I do not charge for that (usually 2 weeks sometime during the year). (I am paid for 6 holidays per year) This is a job and I have bills to pay and although I love the children, it is a business and I have financial obligations. I would think they would understand your situation (If they are in the business world, they typically accrew vacation, paid holidays and sick pay.) Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions