What are Guaranteed Hours? • The Gypsy Nurse

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By RTG Medical

August 4, 2023

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What are Guaranteed Hours?

RTG Medical provided this article.

The “guaranteed hours” clause is common in healthcare traveler contracts, but it’s often misunderstood. So, what exactly does it mean?

Some travelers believe they’ll be paid for the hours outlined in their contract regardless of whether they work them. Others assume it’s a form of financial support from the agency while they’re away from home base. Additionally, some view it as insurance to protect their salary if the census drops or they’re not scheduled as frequently as promised. However, the meaning of “guaranteed hours” can differ depending on how it’s covered in the contract, causing uncertainty for many.

guaranteed hours

Protects the Traveler and the Agency

Healthcare staffing agencies use contracts that include guaranteed hours to protect both the agency and the medical facility. This agreement ensures that revenue is generated by both parties to cover costs. The agency’s ability to cover expenses is directly impacted by the hours the traveler works at the medical facility. This policy benefits both the traveler and the agency by ensuring payment, even if a facility becomes overstaffed. Maintaining a proper patient-to-staff ratio in hospitals is a constant challenge due to fluctuating census, sick employee calls, vacations, and other variables.

So Who Guarantees Your Hours?

When a traveler signs a contract, the contracted agency is obligated to guarantee and pay for their hours. Nevertheless, the facility to which the traveler is assigned often commits to a minimum number of hours as well. This guarantee from the facility to the agency guarantees that the facility can meet its financial obligations while also fulfilling its agreement with the traveler. It’s important to note that the contracted agency bears the responsibility of fulfilling its obligations to the traveler.

Read and Understand Your Contract

The guaranteed hours policy can vary between hospitals and regions and sometimes even within different facilities. It’s crucial to thoroughly review the contract, including the fine print, to avoid any surprises during your assignment. While some hospitals may guarantee all promised hours, others may allow up to three shifts to be canceled within a 13-week period without compensation. Some contracts offer more flexibility, allowing one shift cancellation per week while still meeting guaranteed hours obligations.

It’s essential to keep in mind that contracts can change at different times of the year, and floating to other units within your scope of practice may be necessary to fulfill the guarantee. In a major metropolitan area, you may need to float between multiple hospitals to fulfill your guaranteed hours. Please note that asking for specific days off may result in not receiving guaranteed hours if it doesn’t fit within the hospital’s schedule.

While guaranteed hours may seem straightforward, the execution can sometimes be more complex. To avoid any misunderstandings, thoroughly read and understand your contract.

Our job board is a great place to search for your next travel nurse assignment. We have you covered with our housing page if housing is an issue. You can search for what you are looking for.

If you are a new travel nurse or looking into becoming a travel nurse:

Travel Nurse Guide: Step-by-Step (now offered in a PDF Downloadable version!)

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