After the long periods of hard work, commitment, and sacrifice, you’ve finally graduated from dental school, congratulations!!! That’s overwhelming news. Or, perhaps you are in a position to offer employment to another dentist. Either way, it is necessary for you to get a signed agreement before you commence with your job practice. Your dental school might have taught you how to handle patients with care. However, you might have little knowledge of how to negotiate your employment terms and agreement. As a golden rule, before you get employed in any medical organization, it’s important that you sign a Dentist Employment Agreement.
What is a Dentist Employment Agreement?
Well, in its simplest definition, a Dentist Employment Agreement is a contract signed between the medical organization and a licensed dentist defining the terms of the partnership, the compensation/benefits, legalities, and other work practices.
For instance, the agreement defines the number of hours the dentist will work on a weekly or monthly basis. What’s more, the it describes the dentists’ salary, bonuses, duties and responsibilities, and duration of the partnership. At the same time, the agreement also defines the required code of conduct for dentists as well as repercussions that will follow should he or she engage in any misconduct.
What to Include in a Dentist Employment Agreement?
One thing you should note is that not all contracts are the same. While some are very lengthy, others will be very short and with only a dearth of information. You can, therefore, choose to include any relevant information to your agreement whenever you wish.
However, the following are some of the basic information you might include in your Dentist Employment Agreement:
If there is one thing that drives motivation in any kind of employment is remuneration. The contract should clearly indicate how you will be paid and by when. This can either be a salary, percentage of your production, among others. At the same time, it should indicate who is responsible for laboratory fees and procedures, among other charges.
Usually, it is recommended that payments be made on a monthly basis. In case you are eligible for individual production or team bonuses, the contract should state the policy in advance. Lastly, on compensation, the contract should clearly state the payment terms should the dentist request for personal leave.
Other than the compensation, the other crucial thing to include in your Dentist Employment Agreement is the benefits. While many people tend to overlook this aspect, it is one of the most important in dental practice. As an associate dentist, you should be entitled to receive all the benefits offered to other office employees. Since benefits vary from practice to practice, a dentist should at least receive something that will spark their motivation.
The truth is, most new dentists don’t know their legal rights as an employee or doesn’t want to challenge their employers on the issue. As such, some of the most common benefits dentists should be given include continuing education, clothing allowances, disability insurance, professional liability, and healthcare insurance, paid vacation time, retirement savings, and paid leaves, to mention a few. Note that as a dental employee, you aren’t entitled to all benefits but only those offered by the organization.
Just like any other organization, the medical field must also be regulated to ensure efficiency and smooth running. As a new dentist gets to a job market, he or she should be aware of some of the governing rules and restrictions in their respective field. First, the employees should be aware of the need to protect and maintain confidential information such as personal health information (PHI). As such, the Dentist Employment Agreement should restrict the new hire from disclosing such information.
At the same time, the agreement should also include a restrictive covenant clause. This clause demands that when a dentist quits the dental practice for whichever reason, they will be restricted not to practice dentistry within the locality for a specified period of time. Lastly, the agreement will stipulate the consequences that the employee may face should they engage in medical malpractice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. A Dentist Employment Agreement describes the nature of the relationship between you (dentist) and the employer. Also, it helps provide recourse should one break the rules highlighted by the agreement. Failure to sign the Dentist Employment Agreement, the employer, will have higher bargaining power, and this may underpin your rights in one way or the other.
Some common issues covered by the agreement include:
Whether you will work as an employee or independent contractor
Methods by which your production will be evaluated
Any deductions that will be taken out of your pay
Various types of restrictions
Practices and situations that may lead to your dismissal
Supplies, fees, benefits and other charges that may accrue
The most common contract terms in a Dentist Employment Agreement that a dentist should look for include employee w2 or independent contractors, commission/salary, patient volume, charges to the dentist exit strategy, additional benefits and time off, and immigration to mention a few.
Usually, the average time a dentist may be offered for a vacation ranges between one and a half weeks to two weeks annually. However, this may change depending on the institution of work.
An associate dentist is a dentist who practices dentistry either as an employee or as an independent contractor. They work in various healthcare institutions to provide oral care and complex dental procedures for patients.