1. If I close my child care, can I still charge families? (Last Reviewed 11/23/21)
The answer to this question depends on whether you have a contract and what it says. For more information about child care contracts during the COVID-19crisis please see Tom Copeland’s article by clicking here.
*This answer is for families who do not have child care subsidies. For information about subsidies, see the Child Care Subsidies section above.
(1) If You Have a Contract
COVID-19 has given rise to many unforeseen circumstances. If you have a contract with your families, review it to see what its terms are. We also suggest you visit Tom Copeland’s website to read more about child care contracts during the COVID-19 crisis.
(2) If You Don’t Have a Contract
Having a contract with the families you provide care for is always a good idea. A contract allows all individuals to understand the rules of the child care program, such as what happens when your child care is closed.
If you do not have a contract, you might not be able to charge your families. You will have to rely on your personal relationship with each of your families to determine if you should continue to charge them. You will have to assess their ability to pay if you close your child care and children are not receiving care.
If you have contracts with some of your families and not others, you will want to look at the contracts you do have and review what they say about payment when your child care is closed because of a public health emergency.
You might decide to ask your families to sign a contract now, which states that they must pay while you are closed or pay a fee to hold their child’s space. You have the right to do this, however, you must be mindful that some families might feel this is unfair. If families don’t want to sign your new contact, you will need to have a conversation with your families and try to come to an agreement. Any agreement or contract must be in writing and signed by the family to be enforceable.
(3) Insurance Coverage
If you have liability insurance for your child care business, read your policy carefully to see if you have coverage when there is a public health epidemic or civil order to close. Homeowners or business liability insurance will most likely not cover loss of business income. However, some business property insurance policies may cover loss of income.
2. If a child cannot attend my child care because they are sick from the coronavirus or at risk of getting the Coronavirus, or if a parent or guardian chooses to keep their child home, can I still charge the family? (Last Reviewed 11/23/21)
For families that do not receive a subsidy, the answer depends on what it says in your contract with your families about a family’s obligation to continue to pay their child care fees and/or co-pay during the time a child is absent from care. Review the terms of the contract signed between you and the family to see what the contract says about (1) paying for days when the child is not in care; (2) the advance notice that is required for termination of the contract by either party; and (3) if there are exceptions to the advance notice requirement.
*This answer is for families who do not have child care subsidies. For information about subsidies, see the Child Care Subsidies section.
For more information on child care contracts during the COVID-19 crisis please see Tom Copeland’s article by clicking here.