Q&A: Paying for the phone in their pocket


What's the best way to compensate on-call technicians? Should we pay them simply for carrying a phone at all times?

Anyone carrying a cell phone for the practice deserves to be compensated, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Karl Salzsieder, JD, owner of Salzsieder Consulting and Legal Services in Longview, Wash. There are a few ways you could do this. You could pay them $5 to $10 per day for carrying the phone, or you could pay them a bonus for every hour they work when called in. This might mean paying them a minimum of two or four hours, even if they're only needed for one hour.

Another approach is to pay on-call technicians time-and-a-half when they're called in, though this is not required by law. "Labor budget control is very important these days," Dr. Salzsieder says. "But I like the idea of giving them some benefit for carrying the phone and being on call."

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