Advanced Practitioner Employment Contracts
While a majority of Physicians work under an employment contract, the same cannot be said for many Advanced Practitioners. Some APs find themselves being classified as a "non-physician" by employers, being told that only Physicians require contracts within their organizations. If you are an AP considering a new job where contracts aren't standard, it is important to consider whether or not a contract would be right for you. To help you decide, consider these pros and cons of employment contracts.
- Contracts Can Protect Your Interests As with most things if it's not in writing it didn't happen. Instead of trying to enforce employment terms that were verbally agreed upon when you interviewed, be sure to lock them in with a contract. This includes agreed-upon salary, benefits, working hours, conditions of employment and any terms regarding termination.
- They Can Have Long Term Benefits Contracts can also help ensure that you receive added benefits down the road. Be sure to include terms establishing annual reviews and employer determinations of how raises or revenue-based bonuses or incentives will be determined. This is especially important for AP's agreeing to revenue-based incomes and incentives so that they clearly understand how their earnings are determined.
- They Clarify Possible Ambiguities Contracts allow you to clearly understand what an employer is providing you and how it will be delivered. It is important to define what CME funding, liability insurance coverage, licensure payments or professional development opportunities an employer may provide and how it will be conveyed to you.
- Contracts Provide Stability Knowing what your terms of employment are can provide some reassurance when it comes to your job. The simple act of having your monthly earnings, PTO/sick days, and benefits clearly defined can provide you with much-needed peace of mind.
- Contracts Can Be Limiting A commonly included component of many employment contracts is a non-compete clause. These clauses can affect your employment options both during and after your employment ends by restricting your practice with other employers in similar specialties or jobs located within a specific geographic area. This means that if you aren't careful, you may not be able to work in the same area after your employment ends.
- There May Be Less Room For Negotiating If you are locked into specific terms of employment it may be more difficult to change the terms at a later date regarding pay changes, days off or available benefits.
- Pay a Lawyer or Pay the Price There is a lot of "legalese" in most employment contracts and unless you have a law degree, you run a high risk of not understanding or even worse, misinterpreting the contract's terms. Therefore it is imperative to enlist the help of a contract lawyer before agreeing to or amending any contract. While hiring a lawyer can be costly, it is far less expensive than breaking the terms of a contract and facing possible litigation.
- They Generally Protect the Employer, Not You Most organizations create contracts to protect their assets and interests, not the employees. This can frequently leave you at the mercy an employer's interests and not your own.