A childminder/parent arrangement can be referred to as a written agreement or contract. Quite often it is not on the top of a childminders list as they take a child into their service. It is, however, very advisable to create a contract as it can protect both parties from misunderstandings and pave the way for healthy communication.
If you want to introduce a contract or want to review a current contract, it is best to give parents a couple of weeks advance notice. Arrange a mutually convenient time outside of your working day to meet with parents. Then sit down and discuss any changes you are proposing with parents in an open and honest way. It is also advisable to give your reasons for any proposed changes.
A written agreement clearly states what is expected from both the childminder and the parents/guardians. It can be referred to if needed and can prevent misunderstandings in the future, while the details of verbal agreements can easily be forgotten or misremembered.
A contract will help with agreement on issues such as deposits for a place booked, holiday pay, policies on sickness (the childminders or your child’s) your sick leave, notice periods.
It is advisable to agree how you plan to arrange your holidays at the beginning of the arrangement where you can.
The terms and conditions should include the following:
· Days and hours of childminding; this to be specific for each child/family.
· Payment for childminding – date due, in advance, weekly or monthly and the method of payment i.e. direct debit, cash.
· Payment for absences/holiday arrangements
· Care required: Who provides which meals? Who provides equipment?
· Notice period or arrangement if the either party intends to terminate the agreement.
Remember childminders are self-employed individuals providing a service and therefore set their own terms and conditions.
The contract needs to be signed by all parties and copies provided. It needs to be reviewed regularly, every 6-12 months, or as situations change and your contract needs to reflect any changes to the original agreement.