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My son's daycare issues

  • 17-02-2022 9:04am
    Registered Users Posts: 112 ✭✭

    Hello, looking for legal advice and options on our situation.

    Our son's daycare has been using the excuse of Covid for months to have us on reduced hours. Based on their communications, they have had staff with Covid since November last year, so our son has to start later and leaver early than the hours we agreed when we signed the contract. The truth is that, from talking myself to the carers, they don't have enough staff to cover all hours of the day due to massive amount of staff leaving to other daycares with better packages.

    The problem here is that we, as parents, have been paying the same fees as if they were full staffed and full time. I tried calling them several times and emailing them to review our fees and adjust them, but I have been ignored.

    Moving to another daycare is not an option just because no other daycare can take my son right now.

    The only thing we want is to pay for the care we get, no more and no less. What are our options here? What leverage do we have? Are we at risk of them kicking our son out of daycare just because we are complaining?

    Post edited by amargar on


  • Registered Users Posts: 112 ✭✭amargar


    • They have told me that cares are leaving to go back to their countries, but when I asked the cares, they were leaving to other facilities in Ireland, directly lying to me.

    Edit: Never asked for the list of carers with covid, but I asked to know who was taking care of my son at any given time.

    Post edited by amargar on

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,643 ✭✭✭irelandrover

    • You will not get the medical records of the employees and you have no rights to them.
    • Maybe the employee leaving is lying to the daycare rather than the daycare lying to you.

    You should only be paying for the hours you are using if they are changing the conditions.

    But realistically you have very little leverage here as you cannot take your child out of the daycare as nowhere else will take them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,864 ✭✭✭DoctorEdgeWild

    Probably not a fair question to ask for medical related info from them about their staff? I'd see that as over stepping personally. Accusing people of lying doesn't help get what you want - good quality care for your kid.

    All that matters is the quality of care for your kid, and those reduced hours have affected that, so that's the most important thing to worry about. Have you thought about calling in to talk to them in person? Usually so much more gets resolved than a never ending game of phone tag or email trail.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,046 ✭✭✭silver2020

    They absolutely cannot under any circumstances give you personal health details of their staff.

    To even ask for such personal information is utterly despicable.

    If I had someone harass me like that I'd simply ask them to take their business elsewhere and I think you may be very close to that point by asking for personal health reports on staff members.

    And then you make assertions of "lying" - I sincerely hope to have 100%, (not 99% or I'm nearly certain,) CAST IRON PROOF of your damaging defamation.

    You really come across as someone who is out to cause trouble with an "entitled" attitude

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,542 ✭✭✭Deeec

    OP its the same thing if staff were out due to covid or staff have left. The creche is doing the right thing by reducing hours to meet the staff/child ratios. It is very hard to get staff at the moment.

    The carers should not be giving you any information. The other carers may be wrong in what they are saying - they may not know the ins and outs as they are not management. You cannot ask management for any info on the staff - thats their business and not yours

    Now of course you could argue you dont want to pay for the reduced hours - dont go with your guns blazing accusing them of anything though.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 112 ✭✭amargar

    I understand, thanks for your responses. I'm sorry if I came across as an "entitled" attitude, it was not my intention but we are upset that the carers are leaving the facilities, and us as parents are paying the price for it.

    PS: they are paying for less people but charging us full time, I don't think this part is being entitled.

  • Registered Users Posts: 112 ✭✭amargar

    I won't accuse them of lying or won't ask them for medical records. I do have a very high suspicion that some of the things they have told us were not true, but as some of you have said, I don't have 100% proof of this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,046 ✭✭✭silver2020

    You are making very very serious allegations. You are saying they are lying. You are looking for personal health details of their staff.

    Ask yourself this question - would you like if the company you worked for released very personal health details of yours to colleagues/customers? That's what you have requested. That immediately puts up a defensive flag and you are now considered a troublesome customer (at least you would be if I ran the business)

    Change your attitude and approach very quickly and apologise to them for asking for the health information of their staff.

    All companies have staff retention issues. Thousands of Europeans have returned to their homes and found jobs there and have decided not to return. Many place have had to increase wages to keep staff especially at the lower end of the scale. Where I am we now start part-time staff at €12 / hour to ensure we get the best weekend crew (mainly students), our full time staff are now on salary rather than hour / day rates. And we've had to increase prices a little to pay for this.

    I expect all creches are having the same issues as retail, but increased prices may not be possible. It si not easy out there at the moment.

    As for covid - on average 15% of staff in my place have been out since October. Thankfully only two are out now (out of 31) and next week may see the first week in months that all staff are available. The government's enhanced illness payment of €350 does not help in "quick recovery"

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,436 ✭✭✭zg3409

    In my case one room was closed for nearly a week due to 8 teachers being sick. None of them were covid. That's an example of the day to day problems experienced in creches at the moment.

    Teacher/child ratios are legal requirements and they need to ensure even if teachers don't show up due to being sick, close contact, symptoms, waiting on test etc, then they need to try cope and keep what they can going. Staff do leave in high numbers all creches, typically the creche will ask leaving staff not to tell parents until last minute they leave and not to tell them where they are going. The reason is creches are worried parents will move their kids based on where their teacher moves to. Often staff move locally as many don't drive, low pay etc.

    You should try registering with other creches for waiting lists. During the summer creches may have more room or less room as many teachers are let go during summer months as ecce ends in summer. It varies.

    Opening times vary a lot by creche, along with closing times. Typically the bigger creches have better opening hours as they can split staff over early late shifts as often there is very few children at early times.

    Assuming you stay with existing creche try to be civil, they may be attempting to recruit more temporary or permanent staff. Primary schools are having similar issues with sick teachers, students are sent home.

    Things may get better shortly. The rules for close contact, un vaccinated, number of days to stay away, are being relaxed. We have never received a refund, and many many weeks we have had kids refused due to coughs, runny nose, under the weather. We have kept kids out. I reckon at least one day in 4 our kids have missed creche mostly due to child sickness but also teacher sickness. I expect creche is priotising keeping rooms open versus long opening hours. At the start of covid our creche restricted hours, gave parents strict 5 minute time slots to drop off and collect. This was to prevent queues. Thankfully this is relaxed, but there is now a rule from 16:30 to 17:00 where we are not allowed to collect kids, but we can collect them before or after that time. We have also waited at door for 20+ minutes to collect child, as we are not allowed to enter the building and staff are not allowed to leave children in room unattended. If its money you want back, most creches are similar pricing, but prices do vary, but they can increase the price any time.

    We juggle collect drop off every day. It's not easy and some days our kids are in creche from 08:00 until 18:00.

    If switching creche do your research, sometimes it's better the devil you know and things like food for breakfast/ lunch are included, not included depending on creche.

  • Registered Users Posts: 654 ✭✭✭eusap

    Coming back to the original question, are they overcharging? Yes!

    If a creche reduces opening hours by 2 hours per day, 5 days per week, over the course of the month thats 40hours or one weeks wages for a staff member not being a cost to the business.

    Most creches are still getting wage subsidy so have reduced staff costs but not reduced fees


    Like all businesses they are finding it hard to find low paid workers while PUP and things are still available to staff, why would you work when you can get paid more to do nothing. People forget a creche is a business (not a public service) like your local cafe and if they paid staff more to retain staff then your fee will go up to reflect this

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,280 ✭✭✭Lenar3556

    The Creche have a staffing shortage. That’s a national issue, likely to be largely outside the control of the individual provider, but regardless it is what it is.

    I would suggest arranging a meeting with them in person to discuss your childcare needs and what they can provide.

    In terms of there being no reduction in fees despite a reduction in hours, I would find that a little difficult to accept if I was the parent. Particularly given that centre based childcare providers has had unique almost unqualified access to the EWSS scheme for the last 18 months. This typically covered 80%+ of their weekly wage bill, and it would be unlikely that staff not in attendance (for whatever reason) were being paid either. While they may have staffing shortages, providers should be financially strong.

    As others have said, I would steer clear of any demands or accusations of wrong doing - it will get you nowhere.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,775 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    The issue is that you are being over charged for the hours you are getting The problem is that you have no alternative than the creche that is over charging you. What will you do when you challenge them and they say fine take your child out? The creche will easily get another customer, will you get another creche/child minder?

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,758 ✭✭✭kirving

    Complete sensationalist hyperbole. Do you have "CAST IRON PROOF" that that OP is harassing the business owner? That's a very very serious allegation.....

    The creche are taking the piss out of the OP by breaking their side of the contract, charging full price, and then go AWOL when questioned about it. The staff back up the OP's suspicion. Doesn't sound like a well run business to me. They'd be onto the OP if the payment was a day late, you can be sure of it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,508 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    The creche will have their enrolment contact worded to cover things like this: what you pay for is having your kid enrolled into the place, not attendance.

  • Registered Users Posts: 112 ✭✭amargar

    Thanks, I'm happy to hear that some people understand the issue here.

    Yes, I understand this, at the end of the day they can say this is what it is, if you don't like it then take out your child. However, if that happen, I will be sure that this is known by the general population, via reviews or social media. At the end of the day we are paying the same than a year ago, with less carers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,758 ✭✭✭kirving

    Oh nice, I must set up a creche myself in that case.

    1. I won't pay staff the market rate. 2. Watch staff leave. 3. Charge parents full whack. 4. Blame Covid. 5. Profit.

    This is not about the OP taking their child out, but the creche closing their doors. The reason why is irrelevant, the OP is not getting the service which they are paying for. The fact is that if they paid staff properly and had contingency staff lined up, they would be able to fulfill their side of the contract.

    If you were making monthly car payments and there was a fault with the car, would you happily accept excuses from the dealership blaming part shortages / covid / staffing when they failed to fix it within a reasonable time? I doubt it.

  • Posts: 3,656 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    I think people are being very hard on OP here! If the creche can only offer reduced hours and for an ongoing period of time OP is fully within their rights to questions what is going on and to look for reduced fees!

    To suggest hard hit parents who are both working, paying a mortgage, paying childcare , paying utilities at hugely inflated prices, and increased prices for everything else can just suck it up and pay the same money for reduced childcare is ludicrous. I understand things are tough and its hard to get staff but that does NOT give the creche ALL the benefits of this situation . There needs to be discussion and negotiation with the parents in this case...... not being fobbed off!

  • Registered Users Posts: 508 ✭✭✭The DayDream

    Have to say in my work covid and people leaving for better wages is definitely causing staff shortages and unfortunately since lockdown ended the general public have been so much nastier to deal with. They have no patience any more, not like when we were open during lockdown and people were happy we were still open to serve them.

    It's like they have all forgotten how we looked after them while they got paid for doing nothing or could WFH and we basically guaranteed ourselves getting infected just by coming in to work (75% of us got it so far).

    Having to deal with people like the OP is why we all realize these jobs aint worth it for crap pay. I'd keep it buttoned mate, you said yourself you have no other option no leverage.

  • Registered Users Posts: 112 ✭✭amargar


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,758 ✭✭✭kirving

    What exactly has the OP posted that would indicate that they are nasty?

    I see a recent post of yours stating that your own employer doesn't pay sick leave. Your employer seems to have done a done a fantastic job at convincing you that the general public are at fault, but you should actually be on the same side with respect to poor employers exploiting both customers and their own staff.

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