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Corona Child Care Rant

(58 Posts)
Granarchist Mon 13-Apr-20 10:03:47

Just needing to vent. My DD is returning to work (NHS frontline) after maternity leave. DGD booked into nursery. Both parents key workers. Nursery has closed - no options for key workers. Daughter has found second nursery and nursery Number 1 is insisting on full fees continuing to be paid. Very aggressive emails. This would mean DD paying more in child care than she is earning. We are telling her to tough it out - I cannot see them taking her to court. But she is upset that she may be prevented from returning to work when her speciality is really vital to her patients.

Granarchist Mon 13-Apr-20 10:04:43

by toughing it out I mean - refuse to pay first nursery.

gillybob Mon 13-Apr-20 10:10:28

This is shocking Granarchist how on earth can nursery number 1 expect to be paid when they are not offering the service? I know it’s not their fault they are closed but there are so many other businesses in the same boat and they cannot charge for non service can they ? I know what I would do but hesitate to offer advice and get someone into trouble .

gillybob Mon 13-Apr-20 10:10:52

Well done your DD btw smile

GagaJo Mon 13-Apr-20 10:15:50

If I were her, I would email and say that she can't because 1) She's a key worker. 2) They are not offering key worker services. 3) She is paying a replacement nursery because they're not open.

I do understand why they expect fees paid (staff retention etc) but can't expect parents to pay double.

Shelmiss Mon 13-Apr-20 10:20:28

I read this very same thing yesterday in an article in the Times. It seems some nurseries are charging even though the places aren’t being used. Very bad of them.

GrannyLaine Mon 13-Apr-20 10:21:52

Granarchist that's a really difficult situation for your DD. She must be very torn about returning to work just now but I can see that many child care facilities are likely to go out of business. The Independent schools are having similar problems: staff are working from home to provide some service , specialist staff are furloughed but parents are very unhappy about paying full fees. Could your daughter take some legal advice on her position?

Iam64 Mon 13-Apr-20 10:22:23

Granarchist - thank your daughter for all of us.
She should ignore nursery 1, of course she shouldn't pay them. She had a place booked for a service they aren't offering. She doesn't want the place kept open, it might be worth putting that in writing.
We understand the difficulties nurseries are facing but they are getting government support.

SirChenjin Mon 13-Apr-20 10:25:29

I was reading about this the other day - it’s absolutely shocking. I appreciate they have overheads to pay for but so do lots of other businesses. She’s absolutely right to refuse to pay but it’s awful that she’s been put in this position.

Pikachu Mon 13-Apr-20 10:27:42

Agree with all above I would add that she should permanently change to nursery 2.

V3ra Mon 13-Apr-20 10:38:31

They're charging to keep the business afloat and in the expectation that parents will still want the place when they reopen.
She should check her contract with the first nursery and see what fees if any are legally due when the service is unavailable, eg some close over Christmas and don't charge then.

If your daughter is happy to stay at the second nursery after this is all over then that would be good.
She could give the first nursery notice to terminate her contract and worst-case scenario would maybe have one month's fees to pay to settle her account.

I can't see the nursery wanting any adverse publicity though.

quizqueen Mon 13-Apr-20 10:40:22

There is business insurance for times such as these when they could not be operable. If businesses chose not to avail themselves of that option, then that is their own problem.

25Avalon Mon 13-Apr-20 10:40:56

This seems most unfair. Can the first nursery not furlough their workers and obtain their salaries from the Government if it's about retaining staff which I very much doubt. Sending aggressive emails to a key worker is just not on. Loads of small businesses are in the same boat and many may well go under. Sadly this is how things are. We all need to be working together and if I was your dd I would be sending an email back saying how sorry I am to hear of their plight and how much I would, of course, just like to pay them but I cannot afford to pay twice and the nation cannot afford me not to go to work, but if they insist on my paying them then that is what I will have to do but I am sure they would not want that to happen. Make them feel like total rats!

25Avalon Mon 13-Apr-20 10:45:25

Quizqueen you make think there is insurance which all rational people would like to think but I am afraid that is not the case. We run a small business which has been shut down in accordance with Government regulations. Our insurance company will, however, not pay us for loss of income or even for stock spoilage. Apparently because Covid 19 is new and not named on our policy we cannot claim. This applies to lots of businesses as you can imagine and the nursery is probably no exception.

Grandmafrench Mon 13-Apr-20 10:45:57

Why do they want ‘full fees to continue to be paid’ Grananarchist ? Are the fees paid in arrears? Is the Nursery open for business? Was a period of notice required if DDC leaving? Does your DD owe them past fees?

Bottom line is DD has been forced to find and fund alternative paid care in order to return to work, because original nursery closed. No one had a clue as to how life would pan out a few weeks ago or when this nightmare will end, so even if your DD had reserved a nursery place for the time she was due to return to work, Nursery One can no longer provide the service agreed and that is what she would be paying for! Unless she owes them fees for past care, no ‘agreement’ which they might try to suggest she had with them is going to hold water. They seriously need to take legal advice on their current stance before becoming aggressive and your DD needs to carry on with her work plan and not worry. Whatever they think they might be able to ‘claim’ from her, they need to reflect on her possibly counter claiming for her own losses as a result of their inability to provide the service they originally offered. From what you have said, I think your DD needs not to do or say anything further.

FlexibleFriend Mon 13-Apr-20 11:32:26

I'd tell them to get lost, they can furlough their staff and claim from the government to pay them 80% of their income etc. They don't have to pay business rates either or rent so what exactly do they need the money for. Robbing Barstewards springs to mind.

Tangerine Mon 13-Apr-20 11:51:11

I do not think your daughter should pay Nursery No. 1.

Please thank your daughter from me for working for the NHS. I have always admired NHS workers and admire them especially at the moment.

nanaK54 Mon 13-Apr-20 12:12:01

It might be a good idea for your daughter to contact her Local Authority Early Years service

Granarchist Mon 13-Apr-20 13:54:56

Thank you all. Its a rural area so nurseries are hard to come by and Nursery 1 is fabulous in all other respects and in an ideal world she would like to return to it when all this is over. The suggestion of the contract is very interesting as when she signed up she was told all contract details (ie small print) were on its website. However the website was being 'updated' so no contract details were available! She will, I think, refuse to pay Nursery 1 and go back to work (tomorrow). I am frightened enough that she is back in a hospital environment without this injustice. I cannot imagine Nursery 1 will want the bad publicity they will get if they try to carry it further. Sending threatening emails is really the pits. Luckily she has a lot of support and advice winging its way to her - but I am just so angry she has to spend time on this.

Granarchist Mon 13-Apr-20 13:55:22

PS she owes them nothing

vampirequeen Mon 13-Apr-20 14:07:16

If they were providing a service and your DD chose not to use it then I can see that they'd have an argument regarding payment but as they're not providing the service I don't see why she should pay. I think they're just trying it on.

Hithere Mon 13-Apr-20 14:19:51

I know we are all trying to survive but nursery 1 - why shall they get their fees if they closed? Very unethical.

It may be a fantastic nursery but their business practices are despicable.

Granarchist Tue 14-Apr-20 13:10:12

Yes she was required to give notice, but they gave no notice that they were closing!!! It gets better - today she has had a very threatening email saying they will send in bailiffs!!! As bailiffs are not operating at the moment that will be interesting! Also they are charging for all meals in April!!!!! The new nursery are being amazing as the NHS keeps changing her shifts which is a nightmare - but they are being so kind about the upheaval and promising to do all they can to accommodate her. Meanwhile she has a hot shot lawyer friend on it and her local GP has hinted that a lot of people are up in arms about it. No other nursery in the locality - none - is behaving like this. Watch this space.

Hithere Tue 14-Apr-20 13:18:04


Amazing update.

V3ra Tue 14-Apr-20 23:52:44

Wow! Someone's lost the plot there and no mistake.

Childcare providers have been asked to come to reasonable arrangements with parents during this time.

So if a parent is working at home on full pay, for example, they may be happy to pay the nursery to ensure it survives and there is a place to go back to.

If a parent has reduced or no income, obviously it's not reasonable to expect them to pay.

But if the parent is a keyworker, must go to work and has to find and pay another nursery, there is no way they can be expected to pay twice!

If providers don't have enough children or staff to open, they are being encouraged to get together with other providers and work from a "hub," bringing resources together to form a viable option for the children of keyworkers and children classed as vulnerable.

The first nursery is in breach of the Ofsted childcare registration requirements which state:

"Organising your childcare
You must:
make arrangements with other childcare providers or with parents for occasions where you cannot provide childcare."

The word "must" is important here as it means it's not an option for them ("should" is the word used in such cases).

So a formal complaint to the nursery would be in order and would be something they would have to respond to within 28 days, and would have to inform Ofsted about at a future inspection.

Your daughter could also report them to Ofsted herself if she is not satisfied with their response.

As far as sending the bailiffs in goes, to do this they would first have to obtain a court order, and for that to be granted they would have to show they had provided the service your daughter is unwilling to pay for.

I'm so glad the second nursery is being supportive.