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  1. #1

    Day home hours sudden change

    Hello, I am new to this forum and would like to hear people's opinion on my recent experience with the day home we are sending our daughter to:

    Last Friday, we were notified that the pickup time would be changing to 30 min. earlier than as per the contract. Besides that, on the Sunday evening following, we were notified that the drop-off time would also be changing: to 2 hours later. The new times are now from 9am to 4.30pm, and effective immediately, instead of the agreed 7am to 5pm. We would never use this full time, but we did like this flexibility.

    Since these new times interfere with our working schedules, we quickly (within 1 day!) found another day care, and since we were at the end of the month, we gave our 1 month's notice in time (as per contract), so in a month from now, our daughter will start at a new day care.

    I really did not like the way how this went and the way it was communicated. The dayhome owner did not seem to think it was a problem and that we were the only parents that had an issue with it. Additionally, when we gave our notice, she said that we will not be getting back our initial 1 month deposit, so we are going to lose a full month (because we already paid for the last month before we heard about the hours change), and since we have already signed up with the new daycare, we will just lose this money.

    I don't find this fair; is this a normal way of changing opening hours? Can this just be done overnight? Has anyone else had experience with this, or with not having a deposit being returned after contract termination? We don't really know how to handle it, as we do not want to compromise the care that is being giving to our daughter, but we also want a fair solution to this. Thanks for any input!

  2. #2
    Starting to feel at home...
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    41 Times in 22 Posts
    I think most providers would give at least 2 weeks notice of a change in operational hours. I think at minimum I would give 1 month, and likely 3 months notice of the change. For me I would say it voids the current contract, as the agreement has changed. So I would issue new contracts for the parents to look over, and decide if the changes still meet their care needs.

    Did you have any prior issues with the provider? Any late payments, or late pickups? Any behaviour or developmental concerns with your child? You mentioned you may have been the only family impacted by the hour changes. It could be as simple as the provider felt a need to shorten her working day. Sometimes though a provider will shorten their hours to nudge out a family they are not comfortable terminating care with.

    You may be able to approach her on the fact that she voided the current contract by changing her hours. Someone else may be able to better advise on that. I'm sorry it didn't work out, and that the changes left you scrambling for care. I wish you all the best at your new daycare.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    135 Times in 116 Posts
    I changed my hours a few years back. It was a total of 1/2 an hour earlier closing time.
    I had 1 family who was here my full operating hours, and none of the other families needed that length of care, so when she went on maternity leave(the long day parent) I gave the families 2 months notice of the 1/2 hr earlier closure. I knew that none of my other families would be affected by the change, and no one complained. They had the option to leave, and none did.
    For me it was a game-changer. That small difference in time allowed me to get dinner ready/kids activities in the evening/earlier bed time etc. Such a small thing, but huge to me. I have never looked back. On average, the business still requires 60-65 hrs a week, and takes a lot of time on evenings and weekends to keep running.
    The lack of notice by the caregiver was unprofessional. I would think at least a month's notice would be courteous, as the hours changed at both opening and closing.
    She may have felt that if the majority of families were not using those hours, then why not scale back the hours.

  4. #4
    Thanks so much for the input and support! It helps to know that we are not the only ones that think this is out of the ordinary.

    I initially had the idea that the change in hours was indeed done to try and make us cancel, but when I gave the notice, they did not seem to like that very much.

    Before, things were going OK, although not great. I do think that we are quite easy going. We always paid on time, and were only twice late in 6 months, and only by 1-2 minutes and a heads-up in advance. Our daughter is also very easy to care for; always happy, easy to play by herself, relaxed, does not move much or quickly :-)

    We sometimes asked for information regarding the day (food, sleeps, etc), and also regarding their schedule, amount of kids, activities, etc, because we wanted to be informed, but those often did not go very well, to the point where they got quite defensive. It was not at all meant in a critical way, but purely informative. However, because of their behaviour we did not have a great feeling with it. Our daughter seemed happy though, so there was no major cause for concern.

    In hindsight, I am glad we canceled, knowing how this was handled, but my daughter still has to go for another full month before starting the new daycare. The new one seems great, although very expensive... so I am hoping it will work out. Of course, I am also hoping they will give back my deposit, as that really seems illegal. We gave the proper notice, so there is no reason why they should not return it.

  5. #5
    Euphoric !
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    437 Times in 324 Posts
    Go back to your contract. This is going to boil down to a contract issue.

    Very basically - a contract requires a meeting of the minds. You are getting something and the other party is getting something and you both are really clear on the parameters of that agreement.

    A contract is a written explaination of that agreement and therefore, the contract should state what hours you had originally contracted for care. Some provider's have the specific agreement for each family in their contracts and others have core business hours and client's are welcome to come between opening time and closing time.

    If she has reduced her hours, then that is effectively a change in the contracted agreement. You have the right to either withdraw from the time the change occurs, without notice, because SHE changed the contract and you aren't agreeing to that, it wasn't what you contracted for. Doing that means you stayed while the original contract was valid and when the change was applied, your old contract became null and void and therefore there's no contract to hold you to either, with regards to notice.

    Or, you can do exactly what you have, and give notice based on the revision not meeting your needs. This is the kindest way forward, although you wouldn't have actually had to give notice because she's the one changing the agreement. This is the best way forward, because although you wouldn't have had to give notice in the example above, you are honoring the agreement and there's no weakness in your actions - you followed the contract to the letter, even if she hasn't.

    In terms of your deposit, again, go back to the contract. Does it explicitly say that the deposit is applied to the final weeks of care? Does it say non-refundable? Does it say the deposit was to hold a space? It's really important to know exactly what the contract said.

    If the deposit was to hold a space, then she's done that - held a space so your child started in her care on the first day you were expecting her to. The default legal position is that deposits are non-refundable, so go and check your papers and see exactly what the deposit was for and if there's any mention of being credited it and what the circumstances of that would be.

  6. #6
    Thank you, Suzie_homemaker! The contract does indicate the hours; on the first page in fact. As for the deposit: it says that it is meant to hold the spot, but also that it will go towards the last month's fee and that it is non-refundable.

    After talking to her, she has now indicated that she will refund back the money, but only at the end of the month. I assume this is because she is worried that we will be telling our story to others and she won't be able to fill the spot quickly. I have no interest in starting some (online) war, but I just hope that she will keep her word and refund the money that should not have been paid and that the next person is getting a better treatment that we did.

  7. #7
    Euphoric !
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    437 Times in 324 Posts
    It's good that she's said she will refund the money.

    Anytime there's potentially a dispute, it's always wise to get the communications in writing. E-mail or text is fine. Keep everything for a good couple of years just in case.

    If she has verbally agreed to return the deposit at the end of the month, a good way of getting a record is to then follow up with an e-mail or text, summarizing the conversation "for clarification". That produces a trail of events that is proof that she's agreed to return the money. And it holds up in court because anyone claiming that the e-mail or text wasn't the agreement would immediately respond and say so. A lack of reaction from them is viewed as the summary being an accurate one.

    Hopefully you get the money returned. If it's not too big a delay since you had this conversation with her, try and think of a way to get it in writing without it seeming like you are gathering proof.

    Just needs to be a few lines :-

    "Hey X,

    We are just trying to work out our finances with the switch of child care providers. I know we have agreed to getting our deposit that is credited to the final month's fee back at the end of the month, not the beginning, but could you indicate the approx date we can expect that $XXX.XX back in our account so we can plan for our outgoing costs to happen after the refunded fee comes in.


    Something like that should result in either a date, an approx date or even a statement that she's not sure when you will get your money back. All of these provides you with confirmation that the money will come.

  8. #8
    Starting to feel at home...
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    47 Times in 46 Posts
    We sometimes asked for information regarding the day (food, sleeps, etc), and also regarding their schedule, amount of kids, activities, etc, because we wanted to be informed, but those often did not go very well, to the point where they got quite defensive. It was not at all meant in a critical way, but purely informative. However, because of their behaviour we did not have a great feeling with it. Our daughter seemed happy though, so there was no major cause for concern.
    I was following all this thread, I'm sorry you had to go through all this. It just make me feel so sad that some people acts so unprofessionaly and damages our image for all of us.

    I've been working in this field for almost 20 years now. And one of my procedures is use the hold spot deposit as the first two weeks of payment (that way if something happen to me, my husband doesn't or family doesn't have to deal with returning money, etc), all the families I worked with were very respectfull never took advantage (ie. Leaving wit out paying) I always told them that as they trust my care with their children my thrust is also on them. Unfortunately, I read over and over that money to be "kept" to hold spots or to use for the last month's deposit is being used the first month or before the child starts (absolutely unethical), that deposit should be kept an not used until the child starts or should be kept until the last month's (as their contract says and doesn't matter filling or not their spot that money should be kept absilable); I see many caregivers stuck in returning money because they've already used it. Everyone should understand that our business is dinamic so, job situations change, families change, etc.

    As you mentioned about daily report about your child, the ministry of education (in ontario) is changing that if you're starting in a new daycare and is better then they should comply with daily reports or logs.

    The ministry of education has stipulated for "licensed" homedaycares in Ontario that they must have a basic daily log (what they've eaten, nap time, outings or highlights of the day etc.). Also an open door policy for parents, if you're in Ontario visit their website or call.

    I'm also sure you'll find quality independent homedaycares have different ways of recording a child's day.

    I hope you have a better experience in the next daycare.

    Good luck.

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