Childminder charging me when she was off sick?

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Hi
My daughter has been with my childminder since she was 6 months old, she is now 4 and our childminder is great. When I signed our contract, it stated that any time my daughter missed would still needed to be paid for but if she or her children where sick then I would not be charged.

My daughter had a heart op a few weeks back and as a result missed 9 days of childminding. I lost my salary by staying home with her but I knew and accepted I would have to pay for her missed time and knew in advance so it wasn't an issue.

I paid the invoice Friday (including the 9 days she was absent for) however, today on drop off i was talking to the mum of a little boy she also cares for who was telling me how much of a nightmare it was to find alternative childcare recently. Upon talking further, I learnt that the childminder had bronchitis so took 6 childminding days off (meaning the mother of the boy had to find alternative care but also didn't have to pay for six days)

I was charged for the six days she would have been off sick for had my daughter been able to attend. I feel slightly cheated and that she's took advantage of the fact she knew my daughter would be off for a long period of time.

Do you think I am within my rights to ask for a refund or to put it towards Mays bill? How would I approach the subject?
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  • pmlindyloo
    pmlindyloo Posts: 13,051 Forumite
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    My personal opinion.

    The reason that you do not have to pay for when the child minder is off is because you would have to pay for alternative childcare. In your case, you didn't have to as your daughter was poorly. (I know you lost out on your salary).

    Also, when the childminder is sick or her children are sick, she doesn't get paid at all.

    You could pursue this but do check that you have the facts correct.

    Perhaps you could just enquire what happens when both your child and the childminder/her children are sick (I was just wondering....) so that she may revise the contract with something like paying only 50% in these circumstances.

    You say she is a great childminder so you may not wish to 'rock the boat', so to speak.
  • sulphate
    sulphate Posts: 1,235 Forumite
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    I would ask for a partial discount on the May bill. The fact you didn't find alternative childcare is irrelevant, plenty of people use childminding services even if they don't work at all. And if another parent didn't get charged, neither should you.

    My husband is self employed as an instrument teacher and he wouldn't dream of charging parents if he was ill. If the lesson had already been paid for, he would knock the money off the next invoice. However, he teaches so many pupils that he finds it hard to keep track, so sometimes it comes from the parents to ask.

    Part and parcel of being self employed I'm afraid.
  • kathrynha
    kathrynha Posts: 2,469 Forumite
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    I know in the circumstances you describe my child minder wouldn't charge me.
    According to her, she only charges when she is willing and able to work, which is totally fair, although I know some (normally nurseries rather than child minders) that charge you whatever your contracted hours are. Eg if you are contracted for Mondays, they will charge you for all Mondays, even the ones they aren't open due to bank holidays.
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  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
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    I was charged for the six days she would have been off sick for had my daughter been able to attend. I feel slightly cheated and that she's took advantage of the fact she knew my daughter would be off for a long period of time.

    Do you think I am within my rights to ask for a refund or to put it towards Mays bill? How would I approach the subject?

    I would feel cheated as well. The childminder wasn't open for business on those six days - it's quite wrong of her to charge you for the time!

    I would say that you hadn't realised she wasn't working for those six days and that you'll take that money off next month's bill.
  • pinkshoes
    pinkshoes Posts: 20,127 Forumite
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    I would do a little more research, and if you are sure she was ill on those days, I would then tactfully approach the subject.

    I would perhaps email her saying that you are glad she has now recovered from bronchitis, but there seems to be an error on your bill, as she has charged you for the days she was unable to work, and could you therefore have then deducted from your next bill.

    If she refuses, then I would see this as a breach of trust as she is taking the p!ss, so I would start looking for an another childminder.
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
  • FBaby
    FBaby Posts: 18,367 Forumite
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    The reason why you are expected to pay even if your child is ill is because it is lost business for her. That's fair enough, however, in this case, there is no loss business since she couldn't trade so she shouldn't expect payment.

    I would discuss it with her first though. It could be that she didn't feel great and was worried that she could be contagious but was still prepared to work and it was the parent who decided not to take the risk.
  • susancs
    susancs Posts: 3,888 Forumite
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    pinkshoes wrote: »
    I would do a little more research, and if you are sure she was ill on those days, I would then tactfully approach the subject.

    I would perhaps email her saying that you are glad she has now recovered from bronchitis, but there seems to be an error on your bill, as she has charged you for the days she was unable to work, and could you therefore have then deducted from your next bill.

    If she refuses, then I would see this as a breach of trust as she is taking the p!ss, so I would start looking for an another childminder.
    I would agree with pink shoes that the best approach would be a friendly one and just mention in a direct cheerful manner that she forgot to take the 6 days she was off sick off your bill and ask if she wants to refund you or just take it off the next bill.
  • cr1mson
    cr1mson Posts: 893 Forumite
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    I suspect this is purely an error and would therefore treat it as such. I certainly wouldn't go in all guns blazing. A good childminder is worth their weight in gold and to be honest those who are good aren't always best with their billing!
  • FatVonD
    FatVonD Posts: 5,315 Forumite
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    I disagree, she hasn't 'taken advantage' because she didn't plan to be sick when your daughter wasn't there.

    I would liken this (though it's by no means the same, in fact it's from the opposite perspective) to taking two weeks of annual leave and then falling ill for a week of it, you wouldn't contact your employer and say 'actually, if I'd been working I'd have got paid sick leave for that week so I'll have my holiday entitlement back, please.

    It's just one of those unfortunate things.
    Make £25 a day in April £0/£750 (March £584, February £602, January £883.66)

    December £361.54, November £322.28, October £288.52, September £374.30, August £223.95, July £71.45, June £251.22, May£119.33, April £236.24, March £106.74, Feb £40.99, Jan £98.54) Total for 2017 - £2,495.10
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,110 Forumite
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    FatVonD wrote: »
    I would liken this (though it's by no means the same, in fact it's from the opposite perspective) to taking two weeks of annual leave and then falling ill for a week of it, you wouldn't contact your employer and say 'actually, if I'd been working I'd have got paid sick leave for that week so I'll have my holiday entitlement back, please.
    Actually, at my current and previous employer you could do exactly this: as long as you report sick in the same way as you would if were due in at work, and submit medical evidence as you would if you'd been due at work, you do get the sick leave for that week and have the holiday back again ...
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