Childminders are threatening to stop caring for students’ children at Edinburgh College – claiming some haven’t been paid for three months.
They claim they are missing thousands of pounds they are entitled to for their services since August.
Louise Chisholm, 45, says she is £1500 out of pocket after not getting paid for one of three children she looks after, and has had to dig into her Christmas savings in order to pay her bills.
She said: “It is an absolute joke. I have been doing this job for 11 years and I’ve never experienced anything like this. It is putting me off doing the job altogether.”
The childminders strongly believe that the correct paperwork has been completed and are confused as to why they haven’t received their wages.
Aileen Storrie, 49, looks after one child from the college and believes it’s “ridiculous” that childminders are expected to continue working without pay.
She said: “It is disgraceful and it’s getting to the stage that we’re looking to stop offering our services to mind the students’ children. It’s nothing against them, but we can’t keep going on like this and not getting paid.
“I kicked up a fuss and the college paid me £540 around six weeks ago – which still wasn’t the correct amount. There was no notification that I was going to get paid and I haven’t received anything since.”
Maggie Simpson, chief executive of the Scottish Childminding Association, said: “It is a real Catch-22. Childminders really do take a risk because in this type of industry it isn’t always guaranteed that you will get paid.
“The frustration is they don’t know what is holding up the payment. Normally it is the parent who is at fault and it may be that the college has tried to get the parent to give them the correct paperwork but not succeeded. If this is the case then it is down to the parent to sort out the paperwork as soon as possible so these childminders can be paid.”
Edinburgh College told the Evening News that of 436 applications for childcare payments in August, all but 41 of these have been dealt with.
A spokesman said: “There are a couple of reasons why a childminder might not be paid. Students may not have provided all the information necessary for the college to complete its application assessment. They may not have applied until well after their course started. Or they may not have attended classes or withdrawn from their course.
“We understand how difficult a situation it is for childminders who haven’t received payments.
“We are trying to arrange this for everyone as quickly as possible and as soon we have all the required paperwork we will be able to process each application and make the payments.”