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  • West Coast Nannies

What are guaranteed hours?

Seattle is home to a very competitive nanny market, and many factors have become industry standard. It is important to be offering positions that contain industry standard specifics, to ensure that you are attracting professional, career nannies, and once you hire that amazing nanny, you are keeping her happy, and paying fairly. Whether you are new to hiring a nanny, or are an experienced nanny employer, a term that you may hear a nanny or our agency mention is “guaranteed hours.” You might be wondering what exactly guaranteed hours are.


Guaranteed hours are hours that are guaranteed to a nanny so she can rely on consistent pay. For example, if you hire you nanny for 40 hours a week, but sometimes you get home a bit early, and relive your nanny, she should still be compensated for that time. The same applies if your family decides to have a family day, or go on vacation. In these cases, with guaranteed hours, a nanny is always paid for 40 hours a week (or how ever many her guaranteed hours are), regardless of if she worked them or not, per the parents request. Guaranteed hours are not applied in cases where a nanny takes time off, at her discretion, is late to work, or leaves early, ect. Of course, she should have vacation and sick time to cover these circumstances.

Why is this industry standard? Number one reason, because it’s fair! When you employ a nanny, you are forming a work relationship where you are providing a living wage. Nannies treat their jobs like other career professionals, and they rely on their income just like everyone else. Just because you go on vacation, or decide to have a day at home, a nanny’s living expenses and financial commitments don’t stop. A living wage not only means fair pay, but consistent pay. Imagine how hard it would be to budget or plan if you didn’t know how much your paycheck would be each time. It’s just not fair to expect your nanny to miss out on pay, when she is willing and able to work, but you are requesting that she doesn’t.

Imagine if your boss told you to not come into work for a week or a day, but you wouldn’t be paid. Even one day of lost wages can seriously affect someone’s finances, or ability to pay a bill. Even if you are employing a nanny part-time, you should still be offering guaranteed hours. To compare to another childcare option, daycares still charge the full payment amount, even if a child misses days. Guaranteed hours are industry standard and most professional and experienced nannies would not consider accepting a job that doesn’t offer guaranteed hours.

In Washington State, household employees (nannies) may not be paid salary. A salary is a fixed compensation, paid at set times, for regular work and services. The amount is always the same, regardless if a person works more or less hours in a week. Nannies can’t be paid like this. Nannies are non-exempt workers per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and must be paid hourly. Nannies must be paid their guaranteed hours, plus any additional hours worked, and overtime if accrued. Overtime laws also apply to household employees, therefore, any hours over 40 per week, must be paid at time and a half.

By paying your nanny fairly and offering industry standard benefits, you are helping to maintain a healthy and happy work relationship, where a nanny is much more likely to stay long term. I hope this post has helped you understand more about guaranteed hours, and why they are important to offer. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to local nanny placement agency, West Coast Nannies.

Are you a family looking for an amazing nanny? Interested in nanny placement services with our nanny agency? Contact West Coast Nannies Placement Agency in Seattle to see how we can help! Our nanny agency serves: Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Kent, Renton, Newcastle and more! We match great nannies with local families.

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