May 21, 2013
Thank you for last week's email on "trouble with a new hire". The probation period where the employee stays "at will" is great, and I definitely want to use that and have you incorporate it in my next employment agreement. I did have another question on this topic - I am looking to hire an associate but I am not sure what to offer. Do you have any tips on where to start?
Dr. P, thanks for your question. I often hear this comment that when contemplating a new hire the terms to offer are a bit murky. Compensation is the clear factor both employer and employee are concerned with, but compensation is just one important factor in an offer. Restrictions, malpractice, benefits, control are all equally as important, if not more important than compensation. While there is an "industry standard" range for some of these elements, for the most part, what you offer is specific to your practice and the employee you are recruiting. The offer and proposed agreement following the offer will also work with your practice policies, which the employee should be required to adhere to. So where to start? I recommend starting by contacting your healthcare attorney prior to making any offer and requesting that you work on a term sheet together or proposed contract to present to your potential employee. This is a good idea for a few reasons: (1) you will have the opportunity to get feedback from an objective standpoint; (2) your attorney (who specializes in healthcare) will know "industry standard" and advise - for instance if you are offering a "shift position", how many shifts off is adequate vacation?; (3) presenting a formed offer and terms to the employee will limit the employee's opportunity to talk you down or negotiate you out of protective terms; and (4) you can now blame the offer on your attorney!