Do all nurseries charge you for going on holiday?
October 31, 2014 3:06 AM   Subscribe

We have recently discovered that we have to book our son into nursery at least once a week or we lose our place. If this standard?

We are in the UK, and have recently been sending our one year old son to nursery three days a week while his mother is working. She has two weeks off at Christmas, and, as we understood it to work, have given notice well in advance that he will not be attending nursery those weeks. However, it transpires that, if want to not lose his place at nursery we either need to:

a)book a session a week
b)Withdraw then immediately rebook, which means incurring an admin fee.

I am sure this is all perfectly legal, and have no real urge to challenge it, but I was wondering whether this is particularly standard? Would we find that other nurseries have a similar practice? What has been your experience?
posted by Cannon Fodder to Society & Culture (13 answers total)
I have no UK experience but it works this way in Canada too. I'm a teacher and we still keep my son enrolled in the summer even though I end up watching him anyway. If we didn't, we would lose our spot.
posted by The Hyacinth Girl at 3:13 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, it's the same in Boston. My understanding is this is done to be able to pay teachers even when some kids are out and keep staff levels up.
posted by kinetic at 3:25 AM on October 31, 2014 [9 favorites]

Yes it's standard although there are exceptions. Our nursery does an informal term-time only thing where you can book the kid in only during term times (but you have to email every month to book the next month's schedule), but over August (where the kid'd not be in at all) you have to book/pay for minimum 1 day a week to keep the place. Of course the term time rate is higher per-week though, compared to if you were there 50 weeks of the year and paying a flat monthly rate.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:43 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

When our daughter was in day care years back we were always still expected to pay for weeks when she wasn't there or was there fewer days than normal. We really appreciated one day care that gave each family two "vacation" weeks per year, which meant that, with advance notice, if the child was not attending that week, you would not have to pay. That arrangement was only in one day care out of 3 or 4 that we ever used, and it was geared primarily to low-income families, so it may not be a very common practice.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:58 AM on October 31, 2014

Our son goes to nursery in the UK two days a week. How it works with ours is that it is assumed that he will be attending 52 weeks a year (barring closures for Christmas etc) but if we give 4 weeks notice of him not being there we get a 10% reduction in fees.

The daily rate we pay isn't exorbitant and childcare staff are paid pretty poorly, so we don't begrudge this policy.
posted by altolinguistic at 5:27 AM on October 31, 2014

Our daycare charges the same if you are there or not as long as you are enrolled. After a year, you get one week vacation you can use with advance notice.
posted by typecloud at 6:29 AM on October 31, 2014

This is normal in the u.s.
The workers still need to be paid.
posted by k8t at 6:54 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Our does. It's very difficult to fill a short term off season daycare slot, they need to keep paying the staff, and for most classroom environments a short term addition is more disruptive than it's worth. I agree it sucks though.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:35 AM on October 31, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers in general, I'm interested to see that its a wide spread thing. While I appreciate answers from everyone, it would be helpful if those from outside the UK specify that they are: thanks to those that have done so already.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 7:45 AM on October 31, 2014

That's how it is where I had my boys in daycare (in the US) - the way I thought of it (so I didn't go insane about all the holidays that I paid for when the daycare was closed) was that I was paying for a spot in the daycare, not each individual day.
posted by pyjammy at 9:12 AM on October 31, 2014

It's the same at my US daycare. We get 2 vacation weeks a year as full-time (5x a week) attendees; part-time (anything less than 5x a week) attendees do not get any vacation weeks. To take a vacation week, I have to give advance notice and pay half the weekly fee.
posted by bluesapphires at 9:40 AM on October 31, 2014

It's the same where we are (in the US).

I kind of think of it like, if I rent an apartment, I don't expect to get back money for time I'm away. I realize it isn't a perfect analogy, but it might help.
posted by freezer cake at 10:19 AM on October 31, 2014

In the US anyway, there are strict state laws about the staff:child ratio that vary by age. Infants, for example, are typically 1:4. You're buying a slot and paying for the applicable share of the teacher's wage plus overhead. It's such a low-profitability industry that they can't absorb casual drop-ins (no surplus staff capacity) and non-paid absentees (revenue shortfall).
posted by carmicha at 11:03 AM on October 31, 2014

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