Although very rewarding, childcare is also a very high stress and tiring occupation. In order to be the best childminder I can be, I need to take time to relax with my family, accomplish household projects or attend training/seminars. Similarly, it is expected that parents will want to take annual holidays to spend time with their families, either at home or elsewhere. Parents may choose to take their holidays when the childminder is closed, to avoid the need to pay for a substitute childminder. With this in mind, I will provide as much notice as possible of my holiday closures. Where your payment date occurs during a holiday period, you are required to make your payment prior to the commencement of the holiday (except where you have already arranged automated payments).

Up to 5 weeks closure per year are charged at half fees. Any closure over and above 5 weeks will not incur any charges. I will notify parents as soon as possible of the actual holiday closure dates, usually in January each year. Any prior requests for childcare and holiday notifications will be considered when selecting my holiday dates; however I cannot guarantee to work to every family’s requests.

I am available to work on most Bank Holidays, as per the higher rate specified in your contract. A minimum 28 days written notice is if you require childcare on a Bank Holiday. If the bank holiday falls on a contracted day then full fees will be charged if your child does not attend. If the bank holiday does not fall on a contracted date there will be no charge as I would not be expecting to care for your child anyway.

If I need to close at any other time (eg, to attend a funeral, training or medical appointment) there will be no charge for the period I am closed. However any late fees will continue to accrue, so please ensure your payments are up-to-date while I am still open. If this has not been possible, please arrange a bank transfer. I will give you as much notice as I can of any closure, however please be aware that there may be situations where I am not able to give advance notice, eg if I am sick or involved in an accident.

Please give me as much notice as possible if you intend taking your child out of childcare for a holiday or days off. Full fees are payable for the contracted hours during your holiday. There are no refunds or adjustments made for days missed due to your child or your family’s illness, holidays or days off, nor will any reductions be made if your child arrives late or is collected early. A place has been reserved for each child and that cannot normally be filled on a short-term basis. The exception to this is if I have actually been able to use your place for another child, and am subsequently fully booked; in which case I will waive or refund your fees for the period your place was used and paid for by another family. If you will be away on a payment date, please ensure you make your payment beforehand to avoid late fees being applied.

There may well be times when you can't give us notice that your child will be away. When your child is poorly or something crops up, just email or text at any time of day or night (we probably won't be able to respond until our next working hours but it's helpful to know asap). If your child has had an accident or is unwell, please tell us what has happened and whether they have seen a medical professional or are taking any medication.

I have very good relationships with local Registered Childminders and so I may be able to help you to find alternative care during my absence, if required. Please note that this should not be seen as a personal recommendation – being self-employed, childminders do operate differently and you should be aware that policies and procedures of other Childminders may be different to mine. It is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that any substitute child-carer can meet your requirements. There is no obligation to send your child to any particular setting I may put you in touch with. It is your responsibility to make payments to any substitute Childminder and these costs are separate to, and may not be deducted from, my fees.