I will be doing a gan this year beH and before the summer I told the parents that I would be going “according to the Beis Yaakov schedule”. When I returned from America, I was told that the BY is starting a week early this year, and that they may not be having certain vacation days that they usually do have (such as Isru Hag). Being a private gan, am I obligated to work every day that Beis Yaakov is open? No parent has returned their signed contract yet- can I add a stipulation that my schedule will be similar to the BY but I reserve the right to close a day here or there where the BY is open and I’m not obligated to refund their money? Two of the parents said that it is gezel to not work all the days of BY- but I don’t think so because I am taking checks according to the goyish month- ie I start Sept. 2 and their first check is dated Sept. 2. So how is that stealing- if anything I am not obligated to give them an extra week for free, right?
On that note, are there other items that the Rav would recommend I include in my contract to protect myself?
If the “gan year” has already started, and parents are sending their children based on an expectation (because you told them) that the gan will be following the Beis Yaakov schedule, you won’t be able to change the arrangement during the year.
If you wish to protect yourself, you have to tell the parents (before the beginning of the school year) that although the gan follows the Beis Yaakov schedule roughly, it is not obligated to follow the schedule precisely, and can switch one day for another on a one-time basis.
The presence or otherwise of a written contract does not make a difference: Once children are sent on the basis of an agreed arrangement, the assumed arrangement is binding.
An important item to include in the contract – written or verbal – is the terms of payment. The amount must be clear, and the fact that payment is given at the end of each calendar month (or whatever time you agree on).