How do guaranteed hours for travel nurses work?

Let’s break down exactly what guaranteed hours for travel nurses means and answer some of the most common questions about guaranteed hours we hear every day.

There are so many different details that go into a travel nurse assignment, including everything from bonuses to health benefits. Guaranteed hours are a trending topic and one of the things we get the most questions about.

What are guaranteed hours?

Guaranteed hours are simply the number of hours that the facility will guarantee you will be scheduled for during each week of your assignment.

For example, a typical contract is about 13 weeks long. Your hourly guarantee might be 36 hours per week (three 12-hour shifts) or 40 hours per week (five 8-hour shifts). Whatever shift length is laid out and agreed upon in your contract will help determine the guaranteed amount.

Why are guaranteed hours important?

Guaranteed hours exist to protect travel nurses. If you are going to spend the money to travel to a new job location, you want to make sure that you will be properly compensated for your efforts. Especially if you are duplicating expenses, you want to be assured that you’ll be able to work the expected number of hours (and earn the expected amount of money).

The travel nursing agencies also prefer guaranteed hours. Agencies can only bill the facility for the number of hours their traveler works. If the traveler’s hours are not guaranteed, the agency leaves themselves open to the same risk as the traveler—if no one’s on the schedule, no one gets paid!


Does every facility offer guaranteed hours?

No. Each facility is different. Most facilities will have some version of guaranteed hours, but they might guarantee 48 instead of 36. Some facilities don’t guarantee hours at all. Talk to your recruiter and make sure you know what the facility’s policy is before you sign your contract.

What happens if I don’t get scheduled for my guaranteed hours?

First, make sure your recruiter knows ahead of time. They can always work with the account manager and the facility staff to make sure you get the number of hours you were promised. Secondly, if for some reason they are unable to schedule you those hours, you will be paid for those hours if you were available to work.

What happens if I call off or can’t work some of my hours?

Unfortunately, guaranteed hours does not mean guaranteed pay. If you call off your shift for any reason, you are expected to make up those hours in order to get paid for that missed time. The facility guarantees that they will provide you with the opportunity to work 36 hours, but if you make the choice not to work a shift for some reason, you will not be paid for that time unless you make up that shift in a timely manner.

Can I work more than my guaranteed hours?

Absolutely! If extra shifts are offered by the facility, you are open to working them. Each contract should outline what your overtime rate is. Talk to your recruiter if you have any questions about that rate.

Make the most of your assignment

Understanding what guaranteed hours means, how they work, and which jobs have them is a critical part of finding the right assignment for you. When you work with a top travel nursing agency like trustaff, your recruiting team will have all the details you need to set you up for success.

If you have more questions about guaranteed hours, talk to a recruiter today!

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