This week a family child care provider in Minnesota told me the following story:
She has been doing child care for fourteen years and has taken two vacations during that time. Her contract allows for ten paid sick days a year and up to five paid personal days. The few sick days she has taken over the years were when her own child was born and when her husband and her child had surgery.
She took a sick day this past summer to attend the funeral of a parent. She had cared for his child for eight years. This month she plans to take her last personal paid day to take her senior to attend a college tour. All the parents are fine with this except one.
This one parent objects because she thought the provider had taken her last personal day to attend the funeral. She doesn’t want to pay the $84 (the cost of care for one day for her three children) for the upcoming college tour.
I have heard similar stories from child care providers over the years. Child care providers work long hours and take very few, if any, paid vacations, holidays or personal days. Usually the parents of the children in their care are understanding and don’t begrudge it when their provider does takes some time off.
But, there are some parents who put up a fight: “You can’t take a sick day for a funeral because you aren’t sick,” “I’m unhappy because now I have to pay twice for this day,” “Why should I have to pay for days my child is not in your care?” and so on.
Clearly there are some parents who struggle financially and have a hard time paying for their child care provider’s time off.
But most parents get many more paid vacations, sick days, holidays, and other employee benefits than most child care providers do. In the above story the complaining parent has taken two vacations so far this year and now wants to pinch pennies.
It’s okay to choose option #3 above to resolve your conflict with a parent. Providers bend their rules all the time. But, if you want to stand up to a parent, then go for it. There is no shame in acting on what you believe is reasonable.
Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com
Image credit: developmentcrossroads.com
For more information about what to put in your contract and policies and how to enforce them, see my book Family Child Care Contracts and Policies.
Categories: Contracts & Policies