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  1. #1

    Is It Too Soon for Changes to Handbook Regarding Fees?

    I have been open for about 4 months. I state in my handbook that I don’t charge for days a child is sick, & if a day is missed then the parent pays a missed day fee (half the daily rate) rather than the full rate. I initially set this up thinking that it would be an occasional thing, but I have a family (I care for their twins) who has been really taking advantage of it. Every pay period since they’ve been here there has been at least ONE “sick” day that’s credited to their balance owing & now I am really second guessing my policy to not charge for sick days & missed days. I am sure that on more than one occasion she has said they were “sick” so she just didn’t have to pay the missed day fee. One day they’re here & perfectly fine, I get a text the next morning saying they’re not feeling well, & magically ok the next day they come (she usually says it’s due to eating something that didn’t agree with them).

    I am considering changing my policy to charge for the spot, rather than days used. I’m in Manitoba & I am legally allowed to have a max of 4 (I have one of my own) & every pay period it’s really affecting my finances because I never really know what I’m going to receive. I was thinking of implementing this change (no missed day fees, no non-paid sick days, but just paying for the spot) February 1st, & notifying families December 28th so they have plenty of time to find other arrangements if they don’t accept the new change. I guess my question is, is it too soon for me to be changing a major policy like that, or am I stuck with this?

    I currently don’t charge parents for days I choose to close (there’s been only 1 so far), I don’t charge for my vacation, & I don’t charge for holidays & stat holidays. These I plan on keeping the same.
    Last edited by wpgmomma0412; 12-13-2018 at 08:58 AM.

  2. #2
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    For similar reasons, I do not give credit for missed days regardless of the reason. The fees are for each day a child is registered for care. They are paying to have that space on those days available for their child not their child's attendance. It's never been a issue.

    In terms of are you stuck with this policy for current clients...not quite but...

    Any contact/agreement requires both sides to agree on the terms. The arrangement you have in place is that you will not charge these client's for sick days. They do not have to agree to a policy change since it's not the agreement they have with you. But that doesn't mean you are stuck with it. If they decide they aren't on board with the policy change, they can hand in their notice and go or you can give them notice as per your notice policies. I would give advance warning of the change, issue new contracts, and anyone who hasn't signed a new contract by the effective date, is no longer in your care.

    Be warned - some clients will try their luck and show up the day of the change and expect to carry on even if they haven't signed up to the new contract. You have to be prepared and ready for that. Remind them before the deadline that you are missing the revised contract and be ready to decline them entry/care on the day. If they aren't on board with these changes, and you allow them to keep coming after the change when you have no amended contract, then you have given them permission to carry on as before.
    Last edited by Suzie_Homemaker; 12-13-2018 at 11:32 AM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzie_Homemaker View Post
    The arrangement you have in place is that you will not charge these client's for sick days. They do not have to agree to a policy change since it's not the agreement they have with you. But that doesn't mean you are stuck with it.
    Thank you Suzie. I do understand that once I give enough warning, their options are to either accept it or find care elsewhere. My main concern with whether or not I should do it is if would be morally wrong to change the rules after I already stated otherwise. I have another family who doesn’t take advantage of it like the other family does, & this new policy would be mostly geared towards them (but of course the same rules would have to apply to everyone). The other family will tell me if she’s just going to be away one day & won’t imply that she’s “sick”.

    I will also of course give plenty warning by sending out an email December 28 with a new handbook/contract stating the new policy changes will take effect February 1st. Also, in this email, should I state that if it isn’t accepted then the other option is to find other arrangements?

  4. #4
    I agree with what you want to do, I've recently done the same. I think more than 30 days is more than enough time for them to decide if they wish to stay with you. If they don't, oh well. I would also give them until mid Jan to let you know if they will take or leave the spot, that way you have time to fill the spot if needed.
    If you don't already, I would add in how much time you need as notice to take the child out of care.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpgmomma0412 View Post
    My main concern with whether or not I should do it is if would be morally wrong to change the rules after I already stated otherwise.


    Also, in this email, should I state that if it isn’t accepted then the other option is to find other arrangements?
    I don't think it's morally wrong at all. Your business will evolve as you encounter different situations which you had not considered. Most businesses will amend policy periodically based on experiences or demand. You aren't out to rip someone off but you have a right to protect yourself. If anything, it's morally right to make the change since you've been shown that some client's don't treat this policy in the spirit it was intended. There's a loop hole in your policy and you are closing it.

    I don't think you have to be so direct which might come across as brash. I would simply say that now you've been in business a little while, you are changing some of the policies which aren't working, and effective from whatever date, client's will be charged based on the days they have reserved a space regardless of if they attend or not. You can be honest, that this change is to protect your income since the levels of sickness are far greater than you anticipated and factored into the fees. Let them me know that a new contract will be issued that needs to be signed and returned prior to the changes becoming effective if a client if they are accepting the change and planning to stay.

    I think that's more positive/less aggressive although it says the same thing as the opposite situation of saying if you aren't accepting the change, then leave.
    Last edited by Suzie_Homemaker; 12-13-2018 at 03:17 PM.

  6. #6
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    Make the changes, and give them 4-6 weeks notice in writing.
    You can amend your policies as you encounter issues. Just make sure your contract stated that you have the right to make changes at any time.
    They may leave, so be prepared for that.
    I don’t give away discounted days. They pay for the space, not the days they decide to show up.
    I charge for my stats as well, if the child normally attends on that weekday as well. Same concept, the space is being held open for them.

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