Local Contracts Versus Travel Contracts For Registered Nurses

Aug 11, 2022
Jessica Pinto, BSN, RN and Jessica Crabtree BSN, RN, CPN

Did you know that you can work as a contracted nurse close to home? Local travel has become a popular option for nurses who want to stay closer to home but are interested in the flexibility of travel nursing. The good news is that many facilities are open to taking local travelers and Trusted offers local contracts! If you aren’t sure where to get started, we are here to help debunk the rumors and share some helpful tips! 

What is a local contract?

The primary factor that distinguishes local contracts from travel contracts is the distance from a nurse’s home to the facility. Generally speaking, most facilities have a mileage rule. The facility uses this mileage rule to determine if a nurse qualifies for a travel rate or a local rate. One common misconception is that a traveler’s tax home must be at least 50 miles away from the facility. While this is true in some cases, the mileage rule varies from facility to facility. Keep in mind while job searching that the package that is listed on the Match page is an estimated travel package, which includes an hourly wage portion and a tax-free stipend portion (which is designed to reimburse you for housing, meals and incidentals while away from home). Make sure to reach out to your Nurse Advocate to see what your local package would look like! 

One common misconception is that a traveler’s tax home must be at least 50 miles away from the facility.

Your next question may be - does Trusted determine what type of package I will receive? No! It is up to you to determine whether you should receive a local or a travel package, since the actual rules are very specific for each person. Only you can determine if you qualify for the untaxed stipends which is what we consider a “travel contract”. Since we specialize in travel nursing (not taxes), we always recommend speaking with a tax professional when making this determination. Keep in mind that there is no option to take a fully taxed travel contract. If you are not eligible for stipends or do not wish to receive the stipends then you would qualify for our local contract. 

👉 Read more: Are you wondering - what is a tax home?

Local contracts versus travel contracts

So let’s say, you’ve decided to take a local contract. It’s important to note that there are some differences beyond how your package is structured. At Trusted, there are several required, fundamental differences between travel and local contracts.

  • The first difference is that you will not receive untaxed stipends. Local contracts are formatted to be all taxable hourly pay. 
  • Secondly, local contracts do not qualify for extra time with Trusted although you will be eligible to receive overtime pay per applicable state and federal laws. Trusted extra time is the rate paid in addition to a nurse’s hourly rate for each hour worked outside of contracted hours. 
  • The last important difference to mention is that local travelers do not receive guaranteed hours. No guaranteed hours means that you are not guaranteed hourly pay if the facility were to call you off. While they can cancel you at any time, the facility is hiring you to work contracted hours and expect to fully need you for that time. 

Our Travel and Local contracts are carefully designed by our team at Trusted to give nurses the best experience possible - as either a local or travel nurse. The contracts have been carefully vetted by our legal team to ensure that our contracts are fully compliant with the law. For any additional questions you may have about local and travel contracts please reach out to your nurse advocate. 

Looking for more resources?

Check out these related articles:

📍What Should I Know About Pay Rates

📍Trusted Guide to Nurse Pay

📍Trusted Guide to Travel Nurse Taxes.

And sign up or log in to get started with Trusted today!