Dropping the Drop-in Fees...

Received Thursday, June 18, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN Hi everyone! I have a question and I am not sure what I should do. J's dad is out of town, and for the last two weeks, M (J's mom) agreed to let me take J to work with me (at a daycare). J's parents filled out the forms required for enrollment, and prior to obtaining the forms from my boss, I informed M there may or may not be drop-in fees. I passed my bosses number to her, explaining to call my boss and ask her about any drop-in fees, and to verify it was OK to bring J. M called my boss and left messages; she was not called back. I then asked about drop-in fees, nobody (my boss or my director) made it clear that drop-in fees would be incurring.

I returned the enrollment packet, signed by J's dad, attaching a post it on it with M's number and a note to my boss to call M about fees. Later that day, I saw my boss in passing and asked her about calling M and drop in, to which she asked how old J was and I told her. She tells me it was fine to bring him, and said nothing about a drop in fees. I let M know it was OK to bring him and we went from there.

When I returned from break, I noticed there was a bill for M for daycare. The bill was for four days of drop-in care, which I was unaware M would be charged. (my director said something about fees and I didn't think she was serious.) I figured since I was an employee, even though J isn't related by blood, drop-in would be free. M was not aware of these charges, and if they had told her about the fees, she had other options. M trusted me and that's the only reason she sent him to work with me. My question is what kind of daycare doesn't return phone calls and doesn't make it clear to a parent they will incur fees with the parent thinking care is free? Nobody contacted M, and now she has a bill of $240 for four days of drop-in care. I have worked with J for almost a year and feel attached to him; now I feel as though M doesn't trust me. I am also angry that they blew M off but expect her to pay this bill yet don't inform her upfront about fees.

Nannies what would you do? I feel like I should pay M's bill and I also feel betrayed by my employer that they treated M like this. It makes me think my owner is rather greedy, and greed is like jealously-they are both ugly. I am so upset I feel like resigning, yet my own daycare isn't even close to being open yet. What should I do?


justsaying said...

Sounds like you're responsible since you're the one who convinced the mom to let you bring him. I guess I would just never assume anything was free unless it was in writing. I would pay the fee myself and mark it up as a lesson earned. Your boss sounds a bit shady but in the end it's your fault for not having your answer about cost completely answered.

Edie said...

Would you work for free? Then why should the daycare take him for free?

Are employees children usually not charged for daycare? I find that hard to believe, I have 50% off and that is generous compared to others in area. Even if employee kids are not charged daycare fees, the child is not yours, therefore I wouldn't think that benefit would apply to you.

I agree with justsaying, you should have never assumed he would be allowed to drop in for free. You certainly shouldn't have told your boss there would be no charge until you were absolutely sure there would be none.

lacey said...

I'm a bit confused as to what your relationship is to J. Do you care for him part-time and also work in a daycare part-time?
It was irresponsible of your boss not to call the mom back, but I also think it was a huge assumption on your part to think that you could get free care for a child who is not yours (I'm sure all the daycare employees have a friend or two who could use free child care). I think the fees needed to be asked about point blank to get either a firm yes or no.
As to the current situation, I would probably apologize to the mom and chalk it up to a miscommunication. I would also offer to pay half the fee or offer x hours of free babysitting if you cannot afford that. You did, however, tell the mom that fees might be involved, so I don't think you're responsible for the whole thing. Good luck!

djembé said...

my director said something about fees and I didn't think she was serious

Why would you think that? You didn't have the gumption to get definitive answers in writing before having the kid dropped off. Not too bright, not too responsible on your part.

monkey in the middle said...

Daycare supervisors and directors are busy people, whose most important obligation is to the children and families served on a regular basis. If business is good at the center, I'm not surprised they didn't drop what they were doing to call this mom, just because you asked them, too. Also, if you spoke to your boss in person, she may have thought it was confirmed. It would have been nice if they had returned the phone calls, but maybe a potential drop-in parent was not their priority at the time.
I also suspect they didn't think they had to clarify the part about the fees. Daycares are generally not in the habit of providing FREE care, especially if the child is not yours.
I think your mistake was in trying to orchestrate this whole thing. You would have been better off saying to M, "The daycare where I work offers drop-in care. If you're interested, you can call the director." Adding a third party seldom makes things clearer.

cali mom said...

I just don't know why on earth anyone would ASSume that they could bring a child to daycare for FREE. Especially if their boss had said "something about fees" to them.

MinuteMuggle said...

I also am confused as to your relationship with this child. Do you babysit for him during off hours? Just curious.

As to who is responsible for the fees, it is unclear to me: if you told the mother that it would be free, you made a mistake and I would think that you would be responsible for misleading her. However, what parent is dumb enough to not get all the facts from a daycare and assume it would be free? What parent would TRUST a daycare that they thought was free? This story sounds muddled to me.

OP, did the mom just trust that you knew what you were talking about? Because from your post (not to be rude, I have not had coffee yet, sorry) I would not trust you: I would have double checked with the daycare first. You sound like you are a few cards short of a deck. The fire is lit, but the cauldron is empty, so to speak.

One more question: was the mom paying you while you had the child at the daycare? Were you getting paid to work and to "babysit" at the same time? If so, then you definitely need to pay up. Did you think you were going to just get two paychecks that day for the price of one? I would like to know the answers to these questions.

That's all.

mom said...

I think the question in th elast ppost is very important. Were you personally paid by the mom for the time you had the child at the daycare? if so, there is absolutely no question that you need to pay the daycare fee. None. And hurry, because the mom is probably mad at you. This was sort of irresponsible of you.

You definitely need to offer to pay it either way though.

Momkat said...

Talk to your boss and explain exactly what happened. Ask her if you should pony up the fees; or if she would reduce/waive them due to the misunderstanding. I bet the two of you could work it out. Then, let us know what happened.

mimimi said...

I would just pay the bill and let it be. I know it hurts but the mom was only going with the info you told her.

confused? said...

Im sorry but I had to read this post 5 times and I still have no idea what you are talking about?? Who is J? Who is this kid? I am really I consider myself very smart but this posting was beyond confusing and unclear. I have no clue as to who these people are. Can someone try to explain???LOL

OP Miss Dee said...

Wow...Instead of getting advice and support, I get comments about how I am not too bright, my irresponsiblity, and the fact that I made myself look like an idiot? What's next? Are you going to say that I am too much of a moron to be in childcare?

To clarify some questions:

Yes, I do work in a childcare center FT, M-Th. I have Friday off, and I care for J on Saturdays, so yes, I have two jobs.

No, I wasn't paid by M to care for him while he was at work with me. I was paid to take him to and from work with me.

Yes, I did tell M that she may or may not incur drop in fees; that was the reason to call my boss, who is above my director. My preschool is one big center broke down into 3 buildings: each building has a director who reports to the administrator, who reports to the owner. In this case, I told M to contact my administrator about fees, rather than my director. That was the reason why I gave M the administration's number, and why I passed along M's number to administration. Administration is the person who makes the final call on scheduling and drop in approvals, and in this case, fees.

I did speak briefly to my director, and you have to understand my director's sense of humor. I see more of my director than I do my administrator in a day, and since nobody mentioned fees, again, I thought that because I am an employee, it would be free.

My administrator knew she had messages from M. She was the one who didn't returnt the phone calls, and nowhere in the intake folder was there anything about fees listed. Most centers that I have worked at have a rate sheet in a welcome folder of some sort.

So now that my administrator didn't return M's calls, now I am an idiot, flaky and irresponsible? Yes, I do feel that I should help M in some form, yet at the same time, I do think that her fees should be waved because nobody (not my administrator) mentioned fees to me, and nobody returned her phone calls. I have been with J for almost a year now, and I am upset that my boss may have screwed things over beteween me and M because she couldn't and wouldn't take the time to return a phone call.

Thanks for the support everyone. It's comforting to know that if I have a problem in the future, I know I can go to other resources rather than come here to get attacked. Thanks for the last almost 3 years of warmth. It makes me feel good. :(

Arj Ugarow said...

I passed my bosses number to her, explaining to call my boss and ask her about any drop-in fees, and to verify it was OK to bring J.

I returned the enrollment packet, signed by J's dad, attaching a post it on it with M's number and a note to my boss to call M about fees. Later that day, I saw my boss in passing and asked her about calling M and drop in, to which she asked how old J was and I told her. She tells me it was fine to bring him, and said nothing about a drop in fees.

It sounds like you were trying to do the right thing by both parties. However, it seems that there is a communication problem at your center which has left you high and dry. I would take it on the chin as an expensive "lesson learned" $240 isn't chump change but it won't break you either. See if your employer can take it out of your check pre-tax which will soften the sting.

I wouldn't listen to the flamers/haters on here. There seems to be a lot of holier-than-thou folks on this blog.

MinuteMuggle said...

awww sorry miss D. Don't be mad. :(

Your follow-up post clarified a lot that your original post did not: your boss's sense of humor for one, and the fact that you were not getting paid and "double-dipping" so the speak.

Please forgive me for being rude! I can be just awful sometimes. :(

And Arj: not all of us are haters.

sd said...

I still don't get why you expected your daycare to give free childcare to someone just because you knew them?

And the Mother was just expecting free childcare for the week?

Am I understanding this right?

mom said...

Sorry Miss Dee.
Speak to your employer at the center and tell her what happened. maybe she will reduce or waive the fee.

Then go to the mom, tell her what happened, and offer to pay whatever fee is left. Maybe she will decline, or maybe she will offer to pay half. But whatever happens, it's good business practice and the right thing to do. Since you offered to be the intermediary here, you sort of had a duty to shore up the details before hand.
Not that I can't see how it happened...but consider it a lesson learned for the future.

confused said...

Now that you explained it , the post makes more sense. At least now I know who you are referring to. What do they usually do for daycare during the week?? Does Dad watch him but now that hes away there is noone to watch him???In any event, I would say that you are responsible for the fees because you didn't inform the mother that she'd have to pay for anything. You just told her that you'd "bring him along to work with you." The right thing by mom to do is just pay it BUT it really does lie on you. IMO.

Kim said...

I would talk to the director about it. If she didn't return calls and nothing in the paperwork mentioned fees, maybe you can convince her to waive them.

Otherwise, I'd pony up and pay.

Ella said...

OP, I have posted on ISYN as well and have been called names by others because they either didn't agree w/my postings or didn't understand them. It is okay for others to express a difference of opinion on this fantastic website (if everyone had the SAME opinion on here it would be so darn boring), however when people start calling me names like idiot, etc., then respect becomes an issue more than the original topic at hand. My words get miscontrued and soon others are jumping down my throat and making me a joke. I guess you have to have a thick skin at times to be on this website, but please do not put everyone in this category. Even when I do not agree w/the opinions of others, I have never resorted to name calling and mocking someone's opinion just because it didn't coincide w/mine. We are all adults on here and I hope that everyone realizes that we all have the same right to be on here as the next guy. about the issue....

I think that you did assume that the child would get free childcare for the four days, however your assumption was not out of line at all. Even though he was not your blood child, since this was only for a few days...I think your boss should have let him participate in the daycare program for free, especially if others are bringing their own child. It would only be fair. I think it was wrong and unprofessional for the administrator to not call your other boss back, and if she would not be in this situation. Hopefully, to rectify this situation, you can speak w/your boss at the daycare and let her know that you weren't trying to be sneaky, you really thought you could bring along another child. Explain your predictiment now and how you may possibly owe this mother $240 and I am assuming since you work in childcare, this will be an economic hardship for you...and see if she will just waive the fee and chalk it up as a loss. If she is not willing to do so, then you may have to tell your other boss what happened and hopefully she will shrug it off and pay it. If she does not, you may have to pay it yourself and if you do, you will probably harbor a lot of resentment for it so it would be best for you to move on. First make sure you have another job and try to keep things civil since you will need them as a reference. There are many daycare centers and I am sure you will be able to find another job soon.
Best of luck to you OP!~

Ella said...

I think the fact that the Welcome folder had no sheet stating fees in it meant that M could probably get in for free. At least that is how I would take it. And because the administrator didn't return M's phone call it is her fault since if there were to be fees collected, it was HER responsibility to let M know. So Administration should waive the fees now.

Psyber Chica said...


There was a major communication problem here and you cannot place the full blame on one person.

What if M had known about the fees upfront, would she still have sent J with you that week? I think you should take the others advice to see if the day care will waive or reduced the fee. Then apologize and explain to J's mom. She will most likely pay since she probably did not expect free care for that week. If she refuses to pay and you are willing to pay the bill, then maybe the day care can take it out of your paycheck over a few pay periods (pre-tax as someone suggested).

Please give us an update when you get this resolved.

mom said...

I disagree that OP should quite either position as a result of thismisunderstanding.
My suggestion that she pay was because:

1) It seems like the right thing to do sinece she was the intermediary and did not have all the facts in order before taking th echoildcare to daycare.


2) Paying the fee herself, although painful, will show both parties what a responsible persopn she is, and that she is willing to stand behind her actions.

This should make her character well known and valued by both of her employers, and hopefully let them know what a gem they have.

I can see how this happened, and I feel for you, op...but it's just one of those hard lessons where you try to do something nice and end up getting in the butt instead. I still think one or both parties may pick up part of the tab if you speak to them...but let that be their suggestion of they so choose. You need to at least offer to pay the whole thing.

LindaLou said...

Sorry that happened to you Miss Dee. I'd just talk to everyone involved and see if a compromise can be reached.

Ella, I agree. You were treated so heninously that there ought to be a constitutional ammendment to prevent it happening again. It was just like the pol pot regime all over again. ::snort::

BizRPeople2 said...

This is one of the strangest posts (and comments) I have ever seen. Following the reasoning of some, any friend of an employee can call up and leave a message and then send their kid in for free child care. Unless the provider "opts outs" of this unsolicited visitor, the day care center is stuck comping their employee's other employer's child's 4-day care. Am I missing something here? Why would OP assume the care was free? Didn't the director tell her about fees (not that she should have to?) Why would OP think it was a joke? Why would M think she was getting free care? Wouldn't any sitter/nanny want to be paid for 4 days of care they provided to a stranger? Why should a center be any different - fees are how they pay their employees. I think OP wanted to look like a big shot by claiming she could provide this free care and now needs to pay the Piper.

2manyinitials... said...

all the initials make this article too confusing... i have no idea what your job is, or your relationship to the people with the initials...
sorry. i however do agree with the other posters, ain't nuthin' in life free.