For Parents

How guaranteed hours work and why they are important to nannies


In the Nanny industry, it’s standard practice for families to guarantee nannies a fixed number of weekly or monthly work hours.

Guaranteed hours are the fixed weekly (or monthly) work hours the nanny is paid for by a family at their regular hourly rate. The nanny also guarantees to be available to work with the family during those hours.

For example: A nanny usually works 45 hours per week, but on a particular week, the family only needs them to work 30 hours. The nanny receives her guarantee of 45 paid work hours that week regardless.

What about overtime hours? Depending on what province you live in, there are different provincial overtime rules set in place. In British Columbia, for example, working more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week (whichever comes first) is considered overtime and the employee is entitled to time and a half pay.

Banking Hours: Some families will request that their nanny ‘bank’ time to make up unworked hours that they were paid under their guarantee. This should be agreed upon in advance so that there are no misunderstandings around vacation or sick time. As the ‘middleman’ between nannies and parents, we do not recommend this type of setup in a contract as things can get messy. Not only be confusing for both parties but it can cause strain on a relationship.

Here’s a sample scenario of “banking hours”:

The Williams family employs their nanny to work Monday to Friday, from 8am – 4pm, with a guarantee of 40 paid hours a week.

They decide that they will take a long weekend trip and will not need their nanny for Monday & Tuesday of next week. They will still pay their nanny as per their guarantee but the nanny will ‘owe’ them 16 hrs for future babysitting hours. They request their nanny to work her regular shifts from Wednesday to Friday, but also work the following 2 Saturdays (8-4) without any further compensation, to make up the hours.

Deciding in advance whether your nanny will be asked to “bank hours” is extremely important when negotiating your contract. The exact details of how the hours will be banked must be mutually agreed upon between the nanny and the family, and carefully outlined.

  • How much advance notice will the nanny receive when they are not needed?
  • What is the maximum amount of time that they can have in their ‘bank’ at one time?
  • Who is tracking these hours?

Not setting this up correctly, can have a very negative impact on the nanny-family relationship.

What is the Nanny’s Perspective? The nanny is ready, willing and able to work their normal schedule from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm.

The family chooses not to use the nanny’s full 40 work hours, and they have a guarantee clause in their contract which states that the nanny will be paid for 40 hours regardless.

Since it is the family’s choice not to use the nanny’s full regular working hours, nannies generally feel that they shouldn’t be penalized for that decision.

Using the banking example above, the nanny feels that they shouldn’t be made to work on weekends because the family decided they weren’t needed on Monday and Tuesday.

The tension of using the “banking hours” method can make the nanny feel like they always have to make concessions regardless of the agreed-upon regarding guarantees.

Banking time may be money-saving for the parents but asking the nanny to completely overhaul their availability shows that you don’t care that they have a life outside their nanny role, and may mean that they’ll look for a more appreciative employer elsewhere!


Our advice: If you value your nanny employee and care for their work-life balance, you will soon realize that “banking time” is not the key to a successful working relationship.

Keeping a record or logging who ‘owes’ what will only hurt the relationship and make the nanny feel undervalued.

We recommend that you follow and respect the guarantees in the contract as closely as possible from the get-go. Openly communicate any schedule changes with as much notice as possible, and don’t expect the nanny to make up time.

If you do wish to use the “banking hours” method, we strongly suggest having a cap of hours (these should never exceed a full week’s guarantee of hours), as well as a common schedule that’s used to track what is worked and what is owed. Give the nanny at least 2 weeks advance notice and the ‘option’ of when they can make up the time.

Remember, a nanny that feels valued and appreciated will be happy to accommodate changes and stay working with you for as long as possible!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *