Remember five rules to help write successful employee contracts
Dr. Susan calls my consulting office in distress because her first employer DVM, after only six months on the job, has met with her and explained she?s not working enough hours, she?s not being active enough in civic and community activities and he doesn?t understand why she wants every-other weekend off.
Dr. Susan calls my consulting office in distress because her first employer DVM, after only six months on the job, has met with her and explained shes not working enough hours, shes not being active enough in civic and community activities and he doesnt understand why she wants every-other weekend off.
She checks her one-page, handwritten employment contract that clearly states her start date, end date, pay, continuing education time off and some details about medical and liability insurance. The contract does not include any specific terms about the number of hours she is to be at the office, weekend work or any reference to community or civic activities. Susan remembers when she was hired, with the excitement of her first professional job, the employment contracts was not a significant condition of her employment because she believed the detailed terms of employment could be dealt with as they occurred.
How could this situation have been avoided?
Rule No. 1: Communicate. You as the employer, and the potential employee need to meet and discuss all issues that may be unique to the potential employees lifestyle and the needs of the practice. The contract or letter of intent is to be a bilateral agreement, including terms from both parties. After employment begins, management decisions may not meet the employees viewpoint, if sensitive issues were not discussed in pre-employment meetings for inclusion into the contract.
Rule No. 2: Understand that there are no silver bullets or perfect, pre-written employment contracts; they must be customized for mutual needs. Generally, there are at least 36 items that need to be included in the contract, even though only about half or less of them need detailed negotiations, because many items have to do with notice for state and federal employment laws.
Rule No. 3: Set your expectations based on industry standards. Employees should know it is normal and acceptable in most states to sign a non-compete agreement. For other reasonable terms, be prepared to seek consultant advice for the area and type of practice you are working with. The other needed reasonable terms include pay, time off, continuing education, insurance, vacations, holidays, benefits, emergency work schedules in the geographical area you are seeking and why you would expect for charges for treating your own pets at the hospital.
Rule No. 4: Both sides should be ready to bring to the negotiation table the minimum acceptable terms on the most sensitive of the above terms. The usually involves compensation (production pay, salary, combination of both) and work schedule, followed by the benefit package.
Rule No. 5: Failed negotiations are not a failure. This is especially true if the employers requirements and the prospective employees requests were within industry norms.