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Thread: How Flexible Are (Private) Childcare Centres?

  1. #1

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    Default How Flexible Are (Private) Childcare Centres?

    OK, our situation is slightly complicated. I'll probably be returning to work in July for five days a fortnight - so two days one week and three days the next.

    DP is a shiftworker so on the weeks where I'm working three days, he will be working afternoon shift which means he can look after DD in the mornings. So we will only need childcare from midday (or possibly) later onwards.



    My question is - will a childcare centre allow us to only pay for the time she's in there (ie. for those half-days) or will they want us to pay in full? Obviously, I should be asking them, but I just started thinking about it and none of them will be open right now.

  2. #2

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    I'm going back 5 days a fortnight in May and my DH is a shift worker also so he will be looking after DS some mornings, but the centre we are looking into only has a full day rate and you can't do part days.

    I guess it can't hurt for you to ask your centre in the morning.

    Sorry I couldn't be more use.

    Spring

    ETA: I should say you can do part days but you have to pay the full day rate IYKWIM

  3. #3

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    Really depends on the centre, my old one (community based) did not have half days, you paid for the whole day. My new centre (council run) does have half days, but at more than half the price. Not sure how often the half day is used, but I did agree to take a half day if that was all they had on offer.

    Family day care may be a more flexible option for you.

  4. #4

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    I work shift work and would LOVE to have the flexibility to put DD in for shortened days and only pay for that... but my centre (an ABC) does not have half days and isn't able to give me the flexibility to change around all the time as they have to book children in for the rooms (and the nursery is in high demand). I could get extra days for her easily last year when she was only there 3 days (she is now full time). Also, to get a reduced rate (only available if she doesn't go at all for the day) I have to give 2 weeks notice and it comes out of the 30 something days the government gives you and still contribute to if you get the child care benefit. I hope that makes sense! To make sure DD and I don't spend too much time apart, I drop her off late (which doesn't bother the centre) if I'm on late shift, pick her up early when I'm on an early shift, and do both if I have the day off. Even when I am off, I still take DD for at least a few hours to keep her routine and also because she loves the centre so much she gets feril if she doesn't go!!!!
    Anyway, it can't hurt to ask the centre...

    MG

  5. #5

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    fionas - sorry to bombard your thread like this but i have a similar question - does anyone know if dcc allow for kids to go every other week - or would you have to pay for every week - our situation is that my hubby wroks away 1 week at a time then is home for a week and so the time he does get with ds is precious - if i was to put ds in full time care my hubby would only see him for the 2 days of the weekend he's home - i think i already know the answer i'll get but thought i'd put it out there anyway

  6. #6

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    Don't worry Michael's Mum - after talking to my DP, we might want to do this too (ie specified days but only on a fortnightly basis) so am interested in knowing the answer as well!

  7. #7

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    I would look into occassional care. You can get term bookings in some centres. You pay by the half day or some even have pay by the hour. The only prob is that the term bookings are limited and they have limited hours of operation most from 8.30 to 5.00 but this does vary. Hope this is of some use.

  8. #8

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    I posed a similar question to my first childcare centre, as I wanted 2 days 1 week and 3 days the next. They said no, that the chances of someone else wanting the spare day per fortnight would be slim. Looking at this thread though, I say more families would like a similar arrangement than they think.

    At the moment I used a combo of childcare (full day) and occasional care. I just book the occasional care as I need it, they are only open for 2 hours, but it is better than nothing or having to pay for a permanent full day.

  9. #9

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    i would try family day care - although not all carers will take a child for a half day (sometimes it's hard to fill the remainder of the day) some carers rely on this for income not just extra money. For a roster you might get a carer willing to give you alternate weeks, if they have a child from a non working parent who is willing to take up the other week. Often the minimum hours charged for in family day care are less than in centres (some carers only have a 4 hour minimum charge per day - centres may have ten or twelve hours minimum charge).

  10. #10

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    It all depends on the centre. But flexibility depends on if a centre can fill each place. If you are going to need a certain combination are they going to find another family to fit in with you (like a jigsaw puzzle).

    I would look into a centre that offers occassional care. They ususally have more flexibility. I use a centre that offers half days through occassional care... but you have to ring a week in advance.

  11. #11

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    OK, I've just asked one childcare centre but from what you've all said this will pretty much be standard.

    They said they don't do part-days but obviously you can drop them off and collect them whenever you like.

    They also do in-home care (for $20 per hour) which is great but you can't really mix in-home care with daycare. Because I was starting to get excited thinking we'd put her in for the two full days when we're both working days and then get an in-home carer for 3 days x 3 hours for the days when DP is on afternoon shift. But she said most people want daycare on a set number of days per week, hence they wouldn't have 'gaps' for the alternate weeks.

    So essentially, our choice at that particular centre seems to be 5 days care in the centre per fortnight (with some of those being half-days or less) OR 2 full days in-home care one week and then 3 x 3 hours the next week.

    There's pros and cons to each. In-home care would be great but I need to find out how flexible they will be with start/finish times because DP's shifts are all over the place and he only really finds out the week beforehand. It does mean, however, that DD will get one-on-one care with the same carer with the added bonus that we won't have to worry about drop-offs or collections. Plus, because they're an approved centre we still get the childcare benefit/rebatey thing plus, in turn, the tax rebate for out-of-pocket expenses.

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