The phrase Guaranteed Hours is one you may not have heard if you are new to the nanny industry, but you will quickly find out is one of the most important topics when it comes to hiring and keeping a professional top-notch nanny. You may be asking yourself what exactly this means? Let’s say you hire a nanny for 35 hours per week. Your nanny has made a commitment to be available to you for those 35 hours and needs to know that she can depend on her paycheck consistently. This means that you are guaranteeing this nanny 35 hours of pay every single week whether you need her or not. Let’s take a look at some examples of how this plays out: It is Friday afternoon at noon, your nanny usually works until 4pm but you are done for the day and choose to let her leave early. You must still pay her for those 4 hours that you did not need her. Let’s say family comes to town and you tell your nanny that you won’t need her on Monday, you must still pay her for her Monday making sure that her paycheck reflects her full 35 hours. If you go out of town on vacation this applies as well. The reason for this is very simple, it is the right and fair thing to do. Unlike working in a restaurant where a server can switch shifts or pick up shifts your nanny has set aside her time for you. Simply put her living expenses and financial needs don’t change simply because she is not needed at work. She is here and available to work and it would not be considerate of her needs as a working professional to not pay her consistently. Consider how most jobs work, if the office closes early, the staff still gets paid. No matter how much someone loves their career they are still working in exchange for steady income and they need to know that it is something they can depend on. Your nanny is not the same as your neighborhood babysitter that you call on occasionally for date nights.
You might be wondering if there are any exceptions to this and if so, what they are. Upon making a contract you can do some negotiating with your nanny within reason. Let’s say you hire her for 45 hours and you agree that you will guarantee her 40 hours per week. This is acceptable as you have discussed it together and your nanny can live on the 40 hours per week. This would be a fair agreement. You can also ask your nanny if she is comfortable doing some basic things to help out while you are out of town. Examples are bringing in the mail, doing the laundry, organizing children’s rooms. Keep in mind your nanny is not your housekeeper so it would not be ok to ask her for heavy cleaning, or to fill up all of her hours with busy work just because you have to pay her. If your nanny has agreed to take vacations when the family vacations, then it is not appropriate to ask these things of her as that is her vacation as well. However, if your nanny takes her paid vacations at times of her own choosing, you could consider asking her to help out a little while you are away. Remember that your nanny works hard and does not get typical lunch breaks and such as in another type of job. Even if it is outside of her vacation time it would be very considerate to let your nanny know that she is off and free to make her own plans and enjoy some time off! A little appreciation goes a long way in the nanny and family relationship.
Lastly remember that having a nanny is a commitment and an expense but one that is absolutely worth it! Most nannies will not even consider a position without guaranteed hours, nor should they, and to keep a professional and wonderful nanny guaranteed hours are a must!