I’ve been getting so many questions around guaranteed hours and required availability from both nannies and parents that I wanted to write a quick post to clear up the misinformation that’s out there. There is A LOT of bad advice and attitudes about this topic in nanny groups and it’s causing major problems in employment relationships.
Nannies, if your family says, “Hey, we’re going away for a long weekend in a couple of weeks so we won’t need you that Monday”, that Monday is covered by guaranteed hours. Yeah! HOWEVER, if they then say “Hey, plans have changed and we need you that Monday.”, you are obligated to work that Monday UNLESS you have a clause in your contract that explicitly says once extra time off is given, you have no obligation to work if their plans change. (The A to Z Nanny Contract provides that clause if you and your employer agree on the policy.)
Common objections I hear:
“Once they give me time off, they can’t take it back.” They’re not giving you time off in the traditional PTO sense. They’re saying we don’t need you but we’re still going to pay you.” They can just as easily have you come in on that Monday and do any number of child-related tasks detailed in your contract.
“My time is my own.” True, except this isn’t your time. This is work time your employer is paying you for. At this time, they’re just not requiring you to work it.
“What’s the point if I can’t make plans?” For me and many, many others, the point is there’s a good chance I get an extra day off and get paid for doing nothing. And you can make loose plans, just know you may have to cancel them. How is that not a plus?
“If they change their mind, that’s their problem.” I’ll skip over the “bad attitude” soapbox here and simply say this isn’t a helpful mindset for anyone to have in an employment relationship.
If you want that time to automatically become additional PTO, then negotiate that and add it to your contract. Don’t make assumptions about what an employer will do or should do.
I firmly believe all nannies should receive guaranteed hours and have been advocating for that benefit with family clients for well over a decade. However, nannies need to understand the obligations and limitations that come along with it.
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