/ Childminding Issue....
I have a written contract in which the childminder agrees to look after my children on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. My wife and her had a conversation last week about perhaps cancelling the Thursday but we did not agree anything or amend the contract.
We've just given her a list of dates, including Thursday's and she has just replied telling us she has filled our Thursday space and is now unable to look after my children.
I wish to cancel her contract with immediate effect because that is no good to me now. Do I still need to give the 4 weeks stated in her contract if she is actually in breach of it?
Sorry for the netmums post and cheers in advance.
So you verbally tell her that she is no longer required on Thursday and then complain when she finds alternative work for that day?
No, my wife said she might be changing her shifts and would let her know. As it stands, she won't be and we still need the Thursday.
Technically, no you don't, if she has breached the contract. BUT it all comes down to a who said what and her word and against yours about what was said by your wife in the prior conversation (verbal agreements by both parties to alter the contract are just as valid as written ones). Thus the whole thing could get messy, and it may be best to seek a negotiated solution.
I don't want to get into a legal battle, especially over who said what etc...
Sounds like she did not let the grass grow under her feet but the replacement Thursday work probably just cropped up at the right (wrong) time and was difficult to refuse. The chances of filling the space later may have been slim.
I would have to react quickly at the prospect of losing a fifth of my income.
An unfortunate situation but it sounds like it has been caused by the context of the conversation between her and your wife.
You could obviously give notice to quit and not breach the contract yourself and she may decide she would rather have your 2 days over the Thursday with the other child.
Thinking about this, you should probably accept some fault on your side (for having raised the Thursday issue when it wasn't certain) and give the benefit of the doubt to the childminder. Afterall, if the previous conversation about Thursdays wasn't advice to her to start looking for alternatives for Thursday then what was it? It's entirely understandable that she interpreted it that way so it's hard to fault her.
Probably then the easiest thing would be to give the notice.
Yes that would probably be the easiest option but I'm not really inclined to give her a full months pay while employing another childminder.
I'm really pissed that she has filled our space on the premise that we were definitely not going to need it, which was not the conversation that I understand was had. She has effectively left us in the lurch, without childcare on the days that we need her, as stated in her contract.
Am I being unreasonable?
Presumably, if the childminder has taken it that she is no longer employed by you on Thursdays and has arranged alternative work so she can't work for you on 1 day of the 3 every week, the notice you pay her should be based around 2/3 of what you used to pay her.
Play by the rules - she is contractually right. The fact that it is childminding is nothing to do with it.
You're obviously not getting this mate, we didn't agree that we would cancel our Thursday agreement.
Don't get too hung up on the legalities of all of it. If you were to quit without notice she COULD bring you to small claims court to try and claim some of the money she would have earned from you during the notice period. IF that happened the district judge might side with you or might side with her. Either way it isn't going to bankrupt either of you.
A better approach is to follow your own moral compass and do what you think is right. The fact you are posting this for advice suggests that your instinct is telling you not to quit without giving notice, and if that's the case I'd say your first reaction is usually a pretty helpful litmus test.
I think your wife and or you are spitting the dummy out because you expected the child minder to meekly accept the reduced hours and still be there if you changed your minds. Which is not fair IMO
I imagine that the employer holds most of the cards in this situation, the hours are probably short and pay low so you'd expect the minder to be grateful for what hours they get, i beleive it is quite a competetive market and of course future employability depends strongly on references.
Just because you could screw her over doesn't mean you should, just for the sake of your vanity
I don't see why you can't sort this out amicably, with a little understanding and compromise.
Whatever happens, perhaps its fair to your children to have a 'change over' time, not immediately find them another child minder they are with for 3 days a week. A good childminder is a substitute parent for the time they are with them (I have been called 'mum' often, but also both the names of the child minders). We have been lucky that both of our children have very good relationships with both childminders we have used, but they are pretty upset that they no longer see one of them (she has moved areas), and would like to visit her at some point. She would like to see them too.
You may find that finding a child minder for one day a week actually easier than finding one with space for 3 days, at least initially, so different child minders on different days might actually be a possibility and in the short term advantageous to the kids.
Just my 2p
If you have a contract for wed, Thurs, Fri why do you need to give her a list of dates? Surely she owns a calendar?
There are a few missing details, and given the childminder doesn't benefit from messing you around (bird in the hand, etc) it would cast doubt on your story.
Seeing as you need somewhere else, why not do 4 weeks of Thursday only as a trial while you use the notice period, and then move to wed->Fri at the new place.
How are they "screwing her over"?
There was a possibility their requirements would change so had the courtesy to have an informal discussion so the child minder was aware. From what the OP has said there it was never confirmed the days would change and they would let her know if it were to come about.
The child minder then arbitrarily cancelled the contracted days and took on other work in it's place. She should have had the courtesy to make a phone call to the OP to advise them that she had the opportunity to fill their slot should they not need it, BEFORE confirming it with her new clients.
With a little reciprocal communication from the child minder the whole situation could have been avoided.
Didn't say they were/had. Just that they shouldn't now out of spite.
IMO Laziness and bad manners from the child minder. As I said, one quick phone call and the whole mess would have been avoided.
Having been through various experiences with child minders I have learnt not to mess around with the good ones. The good ones are well known amongst parents and if the minder is good she/he will have a waiting list as long as your arm.It sounds as though your curent one is in that category if they were able to fill up the place straight away.
You now need ot be careful that the childminder does not bad mouth you to others in your local circle ( even if you were right).
Getting the right childminder is an art of diplomacy. Get it wrong and it's hell.
I can see it's inconveniant, and annoying (and have previous experience) but given the speed this has happened I would suspect the childminder got more that a slight hint that this might possibly happen at some point in the unknown future.
On the other foot you'd contracted her for Thursdays - would you have continued to pay Thursdays while she looked for new work? This is not black and white
> So you verbally tell her that she is no longer required on Thursday and then complain when she finds alternative work for that day?
My wife childminds, and we get this a lot, we often get people asking if we have a space, and we say no, only to get notice from a parent that they have been 'thinking about things for a while' and have decided they can do with a day or two less. If they had just given us notice (of their 'thinking') we could have made another arrangement, but are often out of pocket on these occasions.
They seem to have given notice, but had not been very specific, so it is something that I can see from both sides. It would be a pity to change the kids minder, if they are happy there, and who is to say that the next childminder will be any better.
If the parents have moved around a lot the childminders get wary, if they are registered they will be in touch with each other, attend training courses together, and share 'intellegence; with other minders on parents, so they could end up finding no one wants to take them on.
>Am I being unreasonable?
Up to you, but if your children are happy with this woman I wouldn't shift unless it's essential. Not all childminders are good.
People mishear/misunderstand things all the time.
Philip - I give her a list of dates because sometimes we don't need her on a particular day and she will only charge half the fee if the kids aren't there.
MG - I am stunned because crappy wages or not, I have a contract with this person and I expect it to be obligated, just as I wouldn't terminate without notice etc, as it states I need to give 4 weeks. Is that too much expectation on my part?
I did leave out one vital detail as I didn't want anyone casting aspersions on my post...
My oldest boy had a bad morning with her and was quite disruptive. She emailed us that night with a scathing review of his behaviour and said that if it happened again, she would be forced to give us notice. The email was pretty harsh considering we're dealing with a 4 year old. He can be a little shit at times so I empathised fully but I didn't appreciate her wording and I wished she had just picked up the phone to try and discuss. Call me cynical but I feel that she just doesn't want to watch them now and is giving me reason to go elsewhere.
wbo - Yes, I pay her whether or not we need her on a particular day, half of her hourly rate.
And I thought nurseries were bad!
Which would be my guess. I've had 3 kids, and 1 complaint from a child minder, (albeit on holiday - 'Sam's had a tough day' when he was 2 years old , at a ski resort) and we immediately assumed it was our problem, took him away and looked after him ourselves.
Child minders don't need and aren't paid enough to look after pains in the ar$e.
> Philip - I give her a list of dates because sometimes we don't need her on a particular day and she will only charge half the fee if the kids aren't there.
> MG - I am stunned because crappy wages or not, I have a contract with this person and I expect it to be obligated, just as I wouldn't terminate without notice etc, as it states I need to give 4 weeks. Is that too much expectation on my part?
> I did leave out one vital detail as I didn't want anyone casting aspersions on my post...
> My oldest boy had a bad morning with her and was quite disruptive. She emailed us that night with a scathing review of his behaviour and said that if it happened again, she would be forced to give us notice. The email was pretty harsh considering we're dealing with a 4 year old. He can be a little shit at times so I empathised fully but I didn't appreciate her wording and I wished she had just picked up the phone to try and discuss. Call me cynical but I feel that she just doesn't want to watch them now and is giving me reason to go elsewhere.
> wbo - Yes, I pay her whether or not we need her on a particular day, half of her hourly rate.
If you need(and want) her to do Thursday again, I guess you could talk about het going back to doing Thursdays again in a month or two time, so she and the other people can have enough notice to change?
If it's possible a misunderstanding happened, and verbal agreements are definitely legally binding, I don't suppose there's much you can do?
Some parents , alas, don't have sensible boundaries, for their children, and that could be the childminders problem too, but then parents should be able to control their child , and not drop off a child that is used to getting their own way on everything, it is not fair on everyone concerned,including the child.
I also don't recognise the description of childminders above, and I would be most interested to hear what the hourly rate is, that is seen as excessive ? ( I would be surprised if it is more than a living wage, and often less)
My wife tends to become , and stay friends with many of the mothers , and often the children, too, long after they have moved on to school, and ( showing our age ) into adulthood.
The relationships described above sound like they need professional help.
Interesting anecdote, but having 3 (presumably related) children does not make you an expert! All kids are different, and just because you had an easy ride does not make the OP deficient because he has a tough kid.
Whilst missing a days skiing was undoubtedly hard for you, in the real world it is not always possible for parents to give up work for the weeks, months or years that are necessary (in some cases) to deal with disruptive behaviour.
Good childminders will work with parents to deal with behavioural problems, and most will have more success precisely because they do have so much more experience than the average parent.
I think the point I was trying to make was that we perceived Sam's unhappiness as our problem - not theirs. None of this 'they're the professionals, they're paid to do it, we've got a contract' etc etc which is what the OP is implying and may be, I think, part of the problem.
And if people don't want considered and heartfelt advice then they don't have to post, or read it.
OK, that is fair. I agree with that; a child's behaviour is ultimately the parents responsibility, and a childminder can look after whichever children they want. However, a contract is a contract, and unless acceptable behaviour is clearly defined, then the childminder should respect the terms of the contract.
The lesson from the OP seems to be that you shouldn't try to give people any more notice than the minimum required by law. It isn't easy to make work and childcare fit together, and I would be pretty unhappy if someone had bypassed the safeguards we had mutually agreed on (for whatever reason).
just cant get the staff these days!
More importantly - happy climbing to all!
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