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Guaranteed hours for travel therapists explained

There are some difficult terms that you might hear thrown around in the travel healthcare industry. And Nomadicare is here to break these complicated terms down into knowledge that is simple and EASY to understand! Soooooo what does “guaranteed hours” mean? Why are therapists told to get “40-hour guarantees”? And why is a 40-hour guarantee considered “travel goals”?

Well… let’s talk about it!

Guaranteed hours explained

A facility may have open travel therapy job postings because they already have (or will have) a high census spike. That means they are going to need more healthcare workers! And our travel therapy agencies fill those needs with us. It’s a huge win when we can get a great travel assignment, especially in a competitive travel market. But what happens when that spike goes *poof* and the facility no longer needs us? Sometimes they send you home early. Since we’re traveling medical professionals and we don’t get a permanent position, they can do this.

And sometimes it means we don’t get our full pay (aka what we wanted and expected) because we ONLY get paid for hours we work at a travel job. It’s a huge bummer when this happens and your anticipated schedule/plans are thrown to the side.

But there is something you can do to avoid this tricky situation. You can make sure guaranteed hours are in your contract.

Guaranteed hours are exactly what they sound like: hours that an occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech-language pathologist, PTA, or COTA is guaranteed to get paid for (regardless of low census or the facility’s need changing). This will typically be a 40 hours per week guarantee (a full work week). And it’s a great clause to check for in your travel contract! It will typically cover any instances that are out of your control such as low census, being called off, or even missing work because the facility is closed for weather or holidays. The guaranteed hours could be 32, 36, or another specific number of hours, but 40 hours is mostly the standard and goal for travel therapists. It’s very important to have it in the contract before working because it will state how much you’ll be covered, regardless of the number of hours you were allowed to work.

What if the facility no longer needs me?

If a facility truly ends up not needing our therapy services, they can send us home and make our travel contract shorter. Our travel agencies cannot stop or control this from happening. It’s up to the healthcare facilities. Cancellations can always happen. It can even happen to experienced travelers with perfect recruiters. However, you can lessen the blow of a canceled travel contract by having a cancellation clause in your contract ahead of time.

A cancellation clause often requires 30 days’ notice or at least two weeks’ notice before a facility will send you home. This clause will permit you time to find another contract in that area quickly, make arrangements to travel somewhere else, and/or change your living situation as needed.

Cancellations don’t happen “often”, but they can happen. It’s always better to be prepared!

If I get canceled, how can I find a new assignment fast?

  • Contact your recruiter ASAP and try to form a game plan together. If you’re wanting to stay in that location (and avoid further travel expenses), try to see if they have any open travel pt jobs, travel ot jobs, travel slp jobs, etc. in that area already! If they have any exclusive contracts near your location, that’s even better.
  • If your recruiter’s travel company has nothing in that area and you will consider traveling somewhere else right away, great! That is totally an option. Travel reimbursements will help here.
  • If you can’t get a hold of your recruiter or no longer want to work with them (for any reason), but you still need help with your job search: Nomadicare is here! We have partnerships with dozens of companies and you can utilize our instant matching feature (you can immediately connect to recruiters and their staffing agency via jobs you’re interested in). You can also use our custom recruiter matching service and I’ll connect you with vetted, transparent recruiters who work at travel therapy companies that have an open travel position that fits your preferences! Either way, I’m here to help you find travel therapy jobs and keep your steady income going!

Here’s to getting guaranteed hours and getting paid no matter what!

Laura Latimer

Laura Latimer

Founder of Nomadicare

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