Mum Charged $55 For Coming 1 Minute Late After Centre Closes

By July 31, 2018

Parents who come late to pick up their child after the centre closes, they face hefty penalties, as one mum experienced - who was charged $55 for one minute of lateness.

The late penalty fees vary for each centre but typically the charge is $1 per minute after the first 10 minutes, some charge up to $25 per 15 minutes past closing time, while others have a flat $20 fee which is added to each additional half hour.

Te Whare Ako childcare centre in the Lower Hutt suburb of Petone, New Zealand is open from 7.30am to 5.30pm. The penalty fee if a child is picked up past closing time is a $20 flat rate, plus $35 for 1 to 30 minutes, and then $85 for 31 minutes to 1 hour.

A centre spokeswoman says two parents have been charged under this policy this year.

One of those had been late by one minute. Following discussions with the parent, the centre reduced the fee to $20.

"We don't charge it straight away. If someone is late getting their child, we'd certainly give them a chance first."

The staff work really hard to remind parents to pick up their child before closing hours, she says.

The fee is based on costs to staff the centre outside of license hours with two teachers (at least one must be ECE certified and registered) at overtime rates, she says.

If circumstances are beyond a parent's control, most early childhood managers will waive the fine.

Many centres do not charge late fees because they focus on developing trustful and respectful relationships with parents.

They would sooner the parent arrive late to collect their child than die to speed on the road."

Besides, fines don't always work to prevent parent lateness.

Research shows that if parents have the option to pay a late fee then they worry less about being late because they "can purchase more childcare without the guilt", Alexander says.

A late fee "undermines parents' sense of personal obligation to teachers to be on time".

Meier, Cecile " Mum charged $55 for picking up her child from daycare one minute late", Stuff NZ, 31st July 2018

Last modified on Saturday, 24 November 2018 05:12