Let’s talk about the unsung hero of harmonious nanny-family relationships: guaranteed hours.
First, the basics:
What are guaranteed hours?
Guaranteed hours mean that as a family, you commit to paying your nanny for a specified number of hours each week, even if you don’t end up needing them for the full duration.
Why would I pay my nanny if they’re not working?
Nannies need financial stability just as much as you do.
Imagine this: you rely on your job to pay the bills, but suddenly your hours get cut without warning. Not cool, right? Well, it’s the same for your nanny.
Whether it’s a work commitment, social event, or personal emergency, life throws curveballs. Guaranteed hours provide stability for your nanny, allowing them to adapt to unexpected changes in your plans without worrying about fluctuations in their income.
Situations where guaranteed hours do (and don’t) come into play.
Say you hire a nanny to work Monday through Friday from 9AM to 5PM at $30/hour. You offer 5 paid sick days and 10 vacation days.
- If you decide to take a planned week-long vacation for Spring Break, you pay your nanny for the full week even though you don’t need them to work.
- If you go on an unplanned trip that cuts the nanny’s week short, you still pay your nanny as though they worked the entire week.
- If grandma’s in town and you send your nanny home a few hours early, you pay for the full day.
- If you get Covid and your nanny has to stay home for 5 days while you quarantine, you pay for all 5 days. [Note: Please don’t ask your nanny to come in while anyone in your household has Covid.]
- If your nanny gets Covid and has to stay home for 5 days to quarantine, they have to use up their paid sick days.
- If you give your nanny Covid, your nanny technically still has to use their paid sick days to take time off. Some families are extra generous and don’t count this time off toward their nanny’s sick days, but that’s not required.
- If your nanny needs to take a day off after using up their sick days, you can let them use a paid vacation day as a sick day OR let that day be unpaid.
- If your nanny uses up all paid vacation and sick days within a given year, additional days off before those days renew are unpaid.
- If roads are slippery and you tell your nanny to stay home (without an official advisory requiring people to avoid driving), you pay them for that day because it was your choice for them to not work.
- If roads are slippery and your nanny tells you they’re staying home (without an official advisory requiring people to avoid driving), they would need to use up their paid time off or not be paid at all (if they already used up their paid time off) because it was their choice to not work.
You can’t bank hours.
If you take a month-long vacation and pay your nanny for the entire duration (as you should), you can’t come home expecting your nanny to work date nights and weekends to make up for the time you were away. That’s called banking hours, and it’s actually illegal.
If you want your nanny to work extra hours for any reason, those hours must be paid — even if the caregiver had “unworked” hours from a previous pay period.
A nanny is not a babysitter.
Nannying is a professional career. While babysitters and nannies both take care of our children, babysitters earn supplemental income through occasional childcare, whereas nannies rely on earning a consistent income through childcare in order to make financial ends meet.
Guaranteed hours are a win-win situation.
Offering guaranteed hours isn’t just a nice-to-have policy; it’s an investment in the well-being of your family and the person you’ve chosen to entrust with your little ones.
Cheers to building strong, supportive partnerships! 🌟