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I have approached a training provider with a view to taking on a modern apprentice to help me with my childminding service.

I am very excited about the prospect of having a willing assistant and also of helping to train someone well.

I am however new to the whole employing somebody thing, and could do with some wise tips from those who have been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. I'm sure there must be a whole heap of pitfalls.

I can offer 17.5 hrs per week and am willing to pay a training rate of £3.30/hr for a 16/17 yr old. Does this sound fair and would I need to provide mealbreaks - paid or unpaid? I certainly don't get any breaks in the day myself but I expect employees would be entitled to them.

Many thanks.


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I am not an expert on this but I know from my expereince of employees they are legally entitled to a paid break after 6 hours per work and my staff have a lunch break which they do not get paid for. You may wish to check you public liability insurance with the student been under 18 we have also had to put in place a specific risk assessment for a student under 18. I am sure others on the site will be of more help to you.

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Thank you,

I have checked my insurance and can't spot any special mention or exclusions for young workers.

I will provisionally add an unpaid half-hour meal break to the day, and will discuss it with the college rep who will be coming to see me for a chat and health/safety visit before any prospective students are introduced.

I need to find out about sick/holiday payments too. Are student placements normally term-time only workers?

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I don't know how it works with Childminding apprentices, but I do know that in Day Nurseries, apprentices generally work all year round, it is the college/study day that works in terms of half term holidays etc.


In terms of sick pay, there are very few places here that will pay staff or students when absent from work due to illness. The best I heard was a company my friend works for where they do not pay for sickness for the first three days but then they do after that. But again, this is only from my experiences of working within day nurseries.

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Guest HelenW

You will need to register with the inland revenue as an employer before they start, and you will need to CM2 and CRB the person with Ofsted. I am a childminder and have 10 employees in total, but they are not on this scheme.


I contract out my payroll to Paychex on 01487 773338 they can offer a postal service and are very reasonable, it saves a lot of work at my end and they will make sure you meet all of the legal requirements and do your year end for you for payroll. All I have to do is give them a time sheet which I do by email each week.


You will need to make sure you have employers Liability, if you are with the ncma for your public liability this is free, but you need to ask for the certificate from them.


I am sure they will be entitled to breaks and the apprentice scheme would give you lots of written information on how to run the scheme. You will need to check if they need a contract of employment from you. You need to make sure you understand your responsibilities as an empoyer and your employees rights.


I have looked at this scheme, but from past experience I decided to only employ qualified staff. I have had people on this type of scheme in the past and a lot of them were unreliable. You may be lucky though and get someone fantastic. I do take on students for local colleges though and have three at the moment, they are not included in my staff ratio, but most of the ones we have are very helpful to us and we like being involved in training. They are not paid by us.


Also if you are increasing your numbers, you will need to apply for a variation with ofsted and you may well need planning permission, in my area if you have more than 6 children on your certificate, including after school, you need change of use from residential to residential/childminding. This is expensive and you may well only be given a years permission at a time. You will only get this if you are not causing a parking nuisance and if your neighbours do not object.


If you are increasing your numbers, you will need to consider cover as they will be entitled to holidays and will probably be off sick at some point.


It can be a headache being an employer, but I really enjoy working with my other staff, I would not enjoy sole working. Good luck, I hope it all works out for you.



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Yes, I would have to notify Ofsted and also make sure that I have a very current CRB for her/him. I already have permission to work with an assistant on my certificate as my daughter used to work with me (cheap labour! - she did it in exchange for lifts here there and everywhere)


It is up to me to prove to Ofsted that I have suitable recruitment and induction/training in place and that students/assistants are not left in sole charge of children without me being in either sight or earshot of them.


It is possible, if enough floor space is available, and if Ofsted give the ok, for childminders to increase their numbers when working with an older assistant.


However the Childminding Network which I am on does not recognise this, and only allow numbers to be increased if both members of staff are Registered Childminders.


I am not looking to increase my numbers at the moment - just to get some keen extra help.




Thanks Helen - We cross posted there.


That's all very helpful, thanks very much.


My insurance is with Morton Michel and I already have employer's liability so that should be ok.


I don't want to increase my numbers as I provide quite a lot of respite care for children with special needs which is paid for by Social services at a respite rate. At present I can only care for a max of 3 at a time due to not having enough pairs of hands or eyes, even though I am registered for 6.


I will contact the Inland Revenue asap as I am sure they could send me lots of info too.


Are there standard contracts I could use, or should I make my own?

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