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Staff Childcare Costs


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Hi -

 

Am hoping will get some responses quickly if any of you are around as this is due to be discussed at committee on Monday and I am not quite sure how I feel about it. I am committee chair not staff so this proposal has no pros or cons for me directly.

 

We are a charity committee run playgroup with 6 members of staff. we operate 5 days a week 9-1, and 1 day a week 9-3 (which will go up in Jan to 4 days 9-3).

 

Basically a member of the committee, has put forward a proposal that we should consider reducing the fees for staff if they have their child in playgroup.

 

This would affect 2 of our 6 staff now who have children in already and 1 who is waiting. The others have older children.

 

We do not have any recruitment and retention issues at playgroup so I kind of don't see why she has suggested it. The two staff who it would currently benefit also receive their funding so it would only be for their top up fees which are £1.25 daily (unless they chose to do more thn 5 sessions). She has said that private nurseries do it and that it would make the staff feel valued. I just feel that (hopefully) they felt valued already and it is being specifically targetted at certain members of staff who she is friends with (we live in a village). I fully understand that childcare costs mount up for any working mum but thats what happens when you have children. When I had my second i gave up work because of entirely that!!! I wont go back until my number three is in playgroup at least!

 

We have a pretty healthy budget at the moment because we have been so full, but of course things can change and I worry that we may be getting ourselves into trouble further down the line.

 

Also when we are full which we expect to be by Jan/Feb how do we justify giving a staff reduced place over a full fee paying place. And even if we put that in a a proviso how do we monitor that becuase how would we know that little Jonny's mum would have preferred him to come on a Monday rather than a Tuesday if we have no places to offer her on a Monday because we are full even if we are full becuase of a staff members child who wants them in no matter what and would pay if we are full but wouldn't if she gets the staff disocunt? As a charity, we are non-profit making, but still this doesn't seem okay? we still need to buy resources etc.

 

But maybe I am wrong and i could be, I just feel I need to have an opinion at the meeting and am happy to listen to arguments either way. Could you please tell me what you do and any thoughts which spring to mind?

 

Thank-you, Zoe.

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I can see your dilemma, and that you are trying to do best for all concerned. My viewpoint is from a previous owner of a preschool who charged her daughter (member of staff) full fees for her son who attended preschool. (my grandson).

At the end of the day you have a budget, this budget is determined by break even calculations. Break even calculations are derived from unit cost per child compared to unit fees per child. If you deviate from these then you are compromising your break even balance.

 

If you give subsedies (spl) to 2 of your 6 staff through reduced childcare costs, how will the other staff feel because in a sense, the staff that get reduced fees are getting a 'bonus'. Where will it end? one member of staff travels further than another, will you subsidise their travel costs into work?

Maybe the staff who have children in the setting can claim WFTC (which my daughter did). I thik as long as it is clear on employment that childrens fees will be payable then it is up to them whether they take the job on these conditions. Preschools struggle to meet costs especially when budgeting to the NEG allowance, so a reduction or free places for staffs children compromises the sustainability of the setting.

 

They can claim WFTC or you can, if they are NI level, pay childcare costs via vouchers to offset NI costs. A saving for any employee on childcare costs.

 

I agree with you that you can 'value' the staff in other ways, all incentives have to be available for all staff to enable equality of opportunity. If you give free or subsidised childcare costs to staff with children, I think you are in effect excluding other staff without children from this 'value' based incentive. (hope that makes sense)

 

A good gesture but implicatons that need thorough consideration. A bit like giving smokers a smoking break yet non smokers don't get one.

 

Peggy

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Thanks Peggy - I appreciate your quick reply. Am going to google WFTC now!!! Ironially none of our staff have actually asked for this - it's just been bought up as a nice gesture by a committee member. Thanks again, Zoe.

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Hi

This has been raised recently at our setting (very simular small village etc etc) however I am the only member of staff with a child at the setting, the leader before me suggested to the committee when my boy started that they offer a staff discount (they wanted me to send him every session as they are in need of more children but I can't afford it - he is not funded), but the committee refused on the grounds that funds are tight...

My feelings were that I could understand the situation but it was only suggested that it be 10-20% off and as he only attended 1 morning this would amount to approx 65p-£1.20 a week and felt a little bit disappointed to be honest!! Especially as I seem to get nagged at every committee meeting to send him 3 mornings to increase numbers.

 

Anyway I suppose your situation is slightly different, more staff with children in for more hours = more money you will lose out on and as they are already funded they arn't paying full wack anyway.

How do the staff with children at the setting feel? Have they suggested the discount or is it just committee member? If your worried about future funds maybe a discount on the understanding that if funds aren't looking so good it is stopped??

 

It's a difficult situation and I can see both sides.

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I also paid full fees for my son when he attended pre-school, and I know other members of staff have also, even though our boss offered us a discount. Our pre-school charges a minimal fee anyway, so that local community can afford to send their children (we're classed as 'an area of deprivation'), and we knew that all fees were vital to keep us above water. Though it is a nice gesture on the behalf of the committee member, like Peggy said, what about other members of staff, what incentives/bonuses could they be offered, even if they aren't looking for any? A potentially tricky subject that needs to be

handled sensitively.

The only time I didn't pay any fees was when I was called in for an emergency cover and he had to come with me, he wasn't counted in the ratios, but was my sole responsibility.

Karrie

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I can't add anything to the excellent advice already given.

In our pre-school staff do not get a discount if their own children attend.

 

It's good that the committe member wants the staff to feel valued and in looking for ways to achieve this I think it should be something that includes all staff :o

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we too don't offer a discount and believe any discount or bonus should be available for all. This could be seen as a 'pay rise' by the staff who are not eligible.

 

we have a bonus scheme which all staff receive if the setting can afford it..committee review accounts, income etc at regular intervals and award a bonus to all . usually in December and August .. no one misses out.. in our case it was decided a weeks wages , but could be a fixed amount for all if they cannot afford that.

 

Inge

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I agree that offering a discount for staff children is unfair to the rest of the staff. Unfortunately child care does cost money and should not be subsidised at the expense of the whole staff. There is funding and working tax credit to help already. At my setting I used to offer half fees but realised this was unfair on other members of staff and in effect meant in some cases that junior staff were receiving a better 'package' than senior staff. We are in a low paid 'industry' and pence do count and staff all need to be rewarded equally.

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I agree with the previous posts, staff shouldn't be given discount on fees as not fair on other staff who don't have children at pre-school. Also, you need to think of the future and you could at some point have more than the present two staff with children at the setting and by offering now you would be setting a precedent for the future when it could affect more children and also at time when you couldn't afford to offer a discount.

 

My daughter has just gone up to school and I had to pay her top up fees for lunchclub and extra sessions which she attended above the 5 funded session so that I could work, which at times mean't I earn't very little but felt that was my problem not the pre-schools.

 

I also think staff discounts may not go down well with parents, as quite often parents themselves struggle paying fees and also presumably you ask them to contribute items towards fundraising evnts , so may not appreciative if fees are not being paid in full as such.

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We have always charged full fees for children of paid staff, but when we have had parents in on a voluntary basis we have waived fees - or offered to (usually not taken up) but as a gesture of gratitude

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Thank-you all for your responses. Most of you seem to agree with me which reassures me and I appreciate the quick responses. Have stolen a few of your phrases and comments to use at meeting tomorrow!!!!! Thanks again, Zoe.

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Have stolen a few of your phrases and comments to use at meeting tomorrow!!!!!

Good for you Zoe: that's the beauty of the Forum: everyone has a useful point of view they're willing to share - giving you the perfect ammunition for your meeting. I hope it goes well!

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