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 fixed weekly or monthly hours that the nanny will be available to work. It is also usually equal to their typical weekly schedule.

For example: If the nanny works 45 hours per week, they will receive a guarantee of 45 work hours per week, with the corresponding pay.

Depending on what province you live in, there are different provincial overtime rules set in place. In British Columbia, for example, anything over 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week (whichever comes first) is considered overtime hours 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 nanny and parents, we do not suggest this type of set up in a contract as it can get messy. Not only be confusing for both parties but it can cause strain on a relationship.

Here’s an example of banking hours:

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

Again, deciding in advance whether your nanny will be asked to bank hours is extremely important when negotiating your contract. The details around the banking must be laid out also. How much notice will be given to your nanny for time when they are not needed? What is the maximum amount of time that he/she 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 your nanny/family relationship if not handled correctly.

Nanny Perspective: They are ready, willing and able to work their normal schedule from Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm. The family choses not to use the nanny, and they have a guarantee clause in their contract which states that she will be paid. This is the choice of the family if they chose not to use the nanny during their regular working hours and nannies generally feel that they shouldn’t be penalized for the decision of their employer. This can cause hostility if the nanny feels that they are always the ones bending on what was agreed upon regarding guarantees.

Banking time is money-saving for the parents but asking your nanny to completely overhaul their availability and not being mindful of the fact that they have a life outside their nanny role, may mean she walks!

Our advice; if you value your employee and are conscious of their work-life balance, you will soon find out that banking time is not the key to a successful relationship with your nanny. Keeping a record or logging who ‘owes’ what will only flaw the relationship if the nanny feels undervalued for not being paid for work outside their regular hours. Stick to the guarantees in the contract and be as detailed as possible from the get-go. There is always room for give and take in any relationship, but be sure to openly communicate any changes and don’t expect them to make up time.

If you do wish to bank hours, we strongly suggest having a cap of hours in a bank (this should never exceed a full week’s guarantee of hours) as well as a common schedule that is used to track what is worked and what is owed. You should give your nanny at least 2 weeks advance notice and the ‘option’ of when they can make up the time. Remember that they have a life outside the job!