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Snow Closures - Staff Pay / Refund For Parents?


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Hi all, I know it was a little while ago, but I have a committee meeting tomorrow (I'm chair) and we have to make a decision on this, so I'm wondering what others did.

 

We closed for 2 days during the snowy week in early Feb. No one has yet made a decision as to whether we (a) still have to pay staff (they didn't make it in) or (:o refund parents. Does anyone have any advice, or can let me know what their setting did? I've looked at the staff contracts of employment and our emergency closures policy, but they don't contain anything relevant. I don't want to upset either staff or parents, but we are a charity run pre-school and at the moment we're running at a loss so we do need to be careful with money. Obviously if we didn't pay staff, we would refund parents.

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

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Hi Suzie

 

I can only tell you what I did - we didn't actually close - we were there ready and willing - so I didn't refund any children that didn't make it in - but............

 

If we had closed I would definitely refund.

 

I would also want to pay my 'girls' but if there isn't any money in reserve you really can't do that - will your staff be understanding about the financial situation - I know mine would be.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Sunnyday

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Hi. Like you we haven't had a committee meeting yet to discuss this but staff weren't paid for the day we were closed. Most of our children are funded so its not appropriate to refund them but I think we will deduct a day's fees from this half term's bill for our little ones who are not eligible for funding yet. No one has queried whether or not they will get a refund so I don't know whether its worth the extra time working it all out! As Manager I get paid an annual amount divided into 12 monthly payments which reflects the number of hours I would do during the year, so I am different to the other staff. I would be quite happy to forgo a day's pay but I spent so much time phoning round and going in to put a notice on the door etc I certainly did some work that day!

 

I am off sick at the moment and thats another can of worms re pay!

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Thanks, that's really helpful. I will push committee to both pay staff and refund any parents whose kids don't get grant.

 

Just a thought - would we be obliged to repay the nursery grant to the local authority?

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We only closed for one day (myself and a staff member are able to walk to the hall) and I refunded 'non funded' children. I paid all the staff three hours for the morning session (funded so no loss of fees to the pre-school) and gave them 1.5 hours extra planning time to compensate for the afternoon session (fee paying so refunded) so staff did not lose much pay but pre-school benefited from the extra planning. Staff were all very happy with this.

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we used to pay staff if it was because we decided to close.. but not if they failed to show and we were open.

 

Same with fees refunded only if we said we were closed, but not if we were open and they did not come.

 

But we did take things into consideration if some staff really could not get in.. and others usually covered for them .. then we swapped hours so in effect no one lost any hours of work. We do same for illness, etc if they dont want to lose wage then they cover hours for the person who covered for them...sometimes they would opt not to swap in which case wage was adjusted appropriately.

 

Ooh that sounds complicated, but for us it worked...

 

think it could depend on funds but if the children were funded and you don't have to refund LA then we would pay the staff regardless as no loss of revenue.

 

 

Inge

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HI

 

Our La have confirmed that they will NOT be requesting a refund of NEF for days we were closed due to snow.Our staff have been paid and non funded children not charged,we are however, in a good financial position so this is not a problem for us.

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Hi, we have also been told that we will not have to pay any funding back to county for the days missed due to snow. Staff were all paid (much to their amazement!) and non-funded children were offered another session or a refund. We are not in a good financial situation but the committee decided to pay staff because of the time they spend (unpaid, at home) doing paper work. It was a gesture which was really appreciated by the staff. Good luck, mrsW.

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We got paid as 2 out of 3 staff trudged in to work...other couldnt get car out of drive. I am presuming the non funded ones will be refunded. Oh and we are in dire straights financially :o

 

Mind you committee did say that as this situation was not covered in contract they would pay us this time. Not sur what they have decided if it happens again.

Edited by marley
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Re my previous reply - one of the reasons we closed was that 2 out of my 3 staff were not prepared to drive in the snow and come in to work. I can understand that, but I don't see that we should then have to pay them for the hours missed!

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We are committee based/charity pre-school and decided to close for two days during the heavy snowfall.

All staff were paid for the two days whilst closed and parents will be refunded (not sure what happens to

childcare voucher payments though!) On the third day we were open and five members of staff turned up

along with 7 children. Those 5 staff were paid their normal wage plus a small token payment as an extra

'thank you' for their commitment shown.

 

Hope this helps.

 

dot

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We closed for one session and staff were paid we did not refund any payments as most children are funded but we have agreed that other paying children could come in for another session

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Staff were all paid (much to their amazement!) ...the committee decided to pay staff because of the time they spend (unpaid, at home) doing paper work. It was a gesture which was really appreciated by the staff.

 

 

Wow If only we were all appreciated like this...this is what I argued when our committee queried paying us for snow days....I explained its not like they havent recieved anything for the money as well all do many hours at home all through the year!

 

Our committee werent convinced and said they would not be doing it again and will change our contracts so there are no 'loop holes'...

 

I'm sure our LA has said unless our policies state that we will not refund parents for closure due to weather then we cannot claim for the days we were closed...

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WE had a committee meeting last night and committee decided NOT to refund for day we were closed. I must admit it didn't occur to me to ask about paying staff, we all worked through to 3 pm last week shifting storage around so made up for it then.

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Wow If only we were all appreciated like this...this is what I argued when our committee queried paying us for snow days....I explained its not like they havent recieved anything for the money as well all do many hours at home all through the year!

 

Our committee werent convinced and said they would not be doing it again and will change our contracts so there are no 'loop holes'...

 

I'm sure our LA has said unless our policies state that we will not refund parents for closure due to weather then we cannot claim for the days we were closed...

 

 

I dont think it is simple to 'change contracts' there have been discussions on this before and from what i remember they cannot be changed easily.../ Peggy was more up on this one than me.... I will try to find previous discussions on this ....

 

Inge

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Change your contracts - now that's just rude!

 

No seriously - I don't think they can do this - do the research as suggested in other posts.

 

Honestly I am so glad I don't have to answer to a committee.

 

Sunnyday

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Thanks for pointing out the previous discussion re contracts Inge....

 

Basically what they are saying is that instead of being contracted to work say "9 till 5" and having hours stated specifically (which I was advised they then have to pay even if the session isnt open including if its due to lack of children / or closure for any reason...and thus we got paid) they want to change it to "X ammount of hours per week" and leave the details of actual hours flexible. So in the case of another snow day they could say we had to come in and work on a session we dont normally to make it up to the hours...and in autumn term if there were not enough children to open say on a tuesday we would simply lose however many weeks of that day until we got enough to fill it.

 

I'm not bothered about making up hours so much but only prob with that is there are no spare days for me...I work the lot of them! So not sure how that'll work out.

 

By the looks of the last discussion though it doesnt look like there will be much I can do to stop it ...and apparently alot of groups have done this for a while so most likely it'll happen. :o

 

 

...still to be discussed anyway.

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Just got back from our meeting and thought I would report on what was decided.

 

We've refunded parents (which ended up quite costly as many either not on grant yet or doing lunch club) and we've also paid staff salaries (in recognition of the fact that many do extra work unpaid anyway). We're going to update the closure policy to reflect the fact that we intend to pay staff in the case of emergency closures, although we will ask that they do some planning or update profiles from home where possible.

 

Thanks to everyone for the advice on this.

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We discussed this at recent committee meeting. We did pay staff. We did not offer refunds to parents. We were expecting a couple of parents to question this, interestingly nobody did!!!

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