An employment agreement should clearly outline the obligations and duties expected of you. In order to know whether you are fairly compensated, you must have a complete picture of what it is you are being compensated for. While specific obligations may vary depending on the industry, practice setting, and specialty, here are some common obligations and duties that should be included in a healthcare worker’s employment agreement:
Clinical Responsibilities: Within your employment agreement, you should find the scope of your clinical responsibilities, including patient care activities, diagnostic procedures, treatment planning, and medical or dental procedures to be performed. The employment agreement should specify the expected standard of care and adherence to professional guidelines.
Work Schedule: It is imperative that your agreement includes your expected work schedule, including regular office hours, clinic sessions, surgical schedules, on-call duties, and any requirements for weekend or holiday coverage. You should be able to ascertain the flexibility or limitations in adjusting the schedule if needed. This is important both on your end, where you need a change, as well as on the employer’s end, so that they cannot change your work schedule on a whim and with no input from you.
Administrative Duties: Your employment agreement should identify any administrative duties or responsibilities, such as record-keeping, documentation, billing, or participation in quality improvement initiatives. Specify the expected level of involvement and the time commitment required, and whether many of these tasks, such as charting, are taking place while you are in your workplace or if they are taken home to complete.
Teaching or Supervisory Responsibilities: In some situations and settings, teaching and/or supervisory responsibilities are expected from you. In such situations, your employment agreement should detail any teaching or supervisory roles, such as mentoring residents, training students, or participating in educational programs. You will need to know the expected level of involvement, including lecture presentations, case reviews, or hands-on teaching.
Research or Scholarly Activities: If research or scholarly activities are expected by your employer, your employment agreement should outline the level of involvement, such as conducting research projects, publishing papers, or participating in conferences. It is important to specify the allocation of time and resources for these activities.
Professional Development: Your employment agreement should specify any expectations for continuing education, participation in conferences, workshops, or other professional development activities. It should also address whether or not the employer will provide financial support or time off for such pursuits or if you will be financially responsible and if you must use your Paid Time Off.
Professional Conduct and Ethics: It is standard that your employment agreement contains a statement on adhering to professional codes of conduct, ethical guidelines, and applicable laws and regulations. While it may seem obvious, review the specified expected behavior towards colleagues, staff, and patients. It will likely also highlight the importance of collaboration and teamwork within the healthcare team. There is much emphasis on the need to work harmoniously with other healthcare professionals, support staff, and administration.
Compliance and Credentialing: Your employment agreement should outline the requirement to comply with all relevant regulatory and compliance standards, such as maintaining appropriate licenses, certifications, and credentialing. It should also specify any expectations for participation in quality assurance programs or peer reviews. Many times, your employer will take on the financial responsibility for your compliance and credentialing, so it is important to take note of it.
Professional Societies and Memberships: Specify any expectations or requirements regarding membership in professional societies or organizations relevant to the specialty or practice setting.
Conflict of Interest: Your employment agreement should specify your responsibility to address any potential conflicts of interest that may arise, such as financial interests in healthcare-related businesses or relationships that could affect your professional judgment or objectivity.
Non-Disclosure and Confidentiality: Your employment agreement will include provisions related to patient confidentiality and non-disclosure of confidential information. These are part of your obligations to your employer, and breaking these covenants can have detrimental consequences to your both financially and professionally. The expectations for maintaining privacy and the consequences of violating these obligations are typically outlined in the agreement.
Termination and Notice Period: Your employment agreement will outline the terms and conditions related to termination of your employment, including the notice period required by both parties and any obligations during the transition period. This is important to consider for your exit plan, which is something you must plan for as you begin new employment, regardless of how unlikely you think it is that you will want to change employment in the future.
Non-Compete and Restrictive Covenants: Your employment agreement will include provisions related to non-compete clauses or restrictive covenants, which may limit your ability to practice within a certain geographic area or work for competitors after leaving the employment. Because these terms are limiting your ability to do specific things upon the termination of employment, it is important that you are aware of the obligation you are signing on for.
It is crucial to carefully review all obligations and duties outlined in your employment agreement and ensure they align with your professional goals, ethical standards, and work-life balance. It is important to see an attorney who specializes in employment contract review and negotiations to review the agreement and provide guidance to protect your interests. Contact us today.