Traveler Contracts: What are Guaranteed Hours?

Most healthcare traveler contracts include a “guaranteed hours” clause, and it’s often misunderstood. But what does “guaranteed hours” 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.

Protects the Traveler and the Agency

To ensure both the medical facility and the agency are protected, healthcare staffing agencies use contracts that include guaranteed hours. This is a mutually beneficial agreement since revenue must be generated from both parties to cover the costs involved. The traveler’s hours worked at the medical facility directly impact the agency’s ability to cover the expenses.

In a traveler’s contract with an agency, the guaranteed hours policy benefits both parties. This clause ensures that the traveler will continue to receive payment even if a facility becomes overstaffed. Hospitals face a constant balancing act in staffing to maintain the patient-to-staff ratio amidst an ever-changing census, sick employee calls, vacations, and other variables.

So Who Guarantees Your Hours?

When a traveler signs a contract, the contracted agency is responsible for guaranteeing and paying the traveler’s hours. However, the facility the traveler is assigned to often agrees to a minimum number of hours that they’ll give them. This guarantee from the facility to the agency ensures it can meet its financial obligations while fulfilling its agreement with the traveler. Remember that a contracted agency is responsible for ensuring they fulfill their side of the agreement with the traveler.

Read and Understand Your Contract

The guaranteed hours policy can vary from hospital to hospital and sometimes even within different regions. To avoid surprises while on assignment, reading and comprehending the contract (including the fine print) is essential. While some facilities may guarantee all promised hours, others may allow up to three shifts to be canceled within a 13-week period without coverage of pay. However, some contracts provide more flexibility, enabling one shift cancellation per week while still meeting guaranteed hours obligations.

It’s important to note that contracts can change at different times of the year, and floating to other units within a traveler’s scope of practice may be necessary to fulfill the guarantee. In a major metropolitan area, travelers may need to float between multiple hospitals to meet their guaranteed hours. Keep in mind that requesting 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. Be sure to read and understand your contract fully to avoid any misunderstandings.

Understanding guaranteed hours within your contract can be complicated. Luckily, you can trust RTG Medical’s expert recruiters. Contact our team today to get started on your next travel assignment.

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