What Dentists Should Know About Dental Professional Contract Benefits
Dental employment contract benefits are an essential part of a dental professional career. The benefits can influence your lifestyle and can add a huge value to the overall compensation you receive as an employee.
Salary and benefits make up the overall compensation, and the latter takes the hugest part. For example, employer A can offer a great overall compensation than Employer B even when employer B offers a higher salary than Employer B. This just shows how benefits packages can make a big difference.
In this article, we will look at several common questions about dental professional contract benefits and highlight the benefits you should look out for before signing such an agreement.
What Are Dental Professional Contract Benefits?
Dental professional contract benefits are non-wage compensation given to dental professionals by their employers. They can be in the form of paid leaves, continuing education allowance, life insurance, health insurance, professional liability insurance, disability insurance, retirement savings plans, and more.
Dental professionals can be dentists, dental assistants or dental hygienists. One best way to ensure that your employer offers you comprehensive benefits package no matter which department you’re in the dental practice is to get a dental contract lawyer to review your contract or independent contractor agreement. An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you and negotiate with your employer so as to obtain the best benefit package for you.
Why Do Employers Offer Dental Professional Contract Benefits?
Employers offer benefits to attract and retain skilled dental professionals. By offering a comprehensive benefits package, employers can offset the lower salaries they may offer compared to their competitors.
They also offer benefits to set forth clear expectations for the employee and offset the negatives of a non-compete clause. For example, when an employer offers health insurance, they are telling the employee that they are responsible for their own health and well-being. Simply put, they don’t have to go to work when they have paid sick leave days. They don’t have to start solving a chronic back pain when they could have seen an Orthopedic when they experienced acute back pain.
What Are the Types of Dental Professional Contract Benefits?
The type of benefits offered by employers differs from organization to organization. However, there are some common benefits that almost all employers usually offer. These include:
Health Care Insurance
Health care insurance helps to offset the cost of medical care, including prescription costs.
Employers will often offer a variety of health care plans to their employees, so it is important to compare the different options before choosing one. If you have a pre-existing condition, you will also want to make sure that the plan offered covers it.
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance, or Dental Malpractice Insurance, protects you from lawsuits that may arise from malpractice.
This type of insurance is usually used to help cover the cost of legal fees and damages if you are sued in the event a patient claims they were harmed during dental care.
Most employers will require you to purchase your own professional liability insurance, but some may provide it as part of your benefits package.
Your employer should be able to provide income protection in the event that you are unable to work due to a disability. The compensation may differ from employer to employer, but it’s typically a percentage of your salary.
Paid Time Off
You’re entitled to take time off from work and not be penalized by your employer. This can include vacation days, sick days, and holidays.
Paid time off allows you to take the time you need to recharge and come back to work refreshed and ready to work.
Note that you may require to work a certain number of hours before you’re allowed to take any paid time off from work.
Employers often offer retirement plans to their employees as part of their benefits package. Your employer will match your contribution up to Y% of your salary. However, you can contribute more than Y% if you wish to.
Retirement plans allow you to save for your future and provide you with income in retirement.
Continuing Education (CE) Reimbursement
Your employer may offer to reimburse you for the cost of continuing education. You will also be offered some time off. Your meal, lodging or conference fee will also be paid by your employer.
Note that the CE must be approved by the practice.
If you lose a close family member, you may be entitled to take bereavement leave. The leave is typically up to X paid days annually. The leave is important because it allows you to grieve without having to worry about work.
Usually, bereavement leave covers the funeral for immediate family members who include spouses, domestic partners, children, step-children, parents, step-parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and in-laws.
If your contract has a relocation reimbursement, it simply means you should cover your moving expenses, knowing that your employer will reimburse the predetermined amount of money after you’ve relocated.
A signing bonus is a one-time payment that you receive when you sign your employment contract. The cash payment is typically to entice you to join the practice, and it ranges from $5,000 to $50,000.
Dental Associate Contract Agreement | About To Sign Contract Benefits?
Dental professional contract benefits can vary from employer to employer. However, there are some common benefits that almost all employers usually offer. These include health care insurance, professional liability insurance, disability insurance, paid time off, retirement plans, continuing education reimbursement, bereavement leave, relocation reimbursement and signing bonuses.
When choosing an employer, it is important to compare the different benefits packages offered. This will help you to choose the employer that is right for you. Again, you should always have a dental contract lawyer review your agreement. This way, you can be sure your benefits are well covered. Don’t sign a contract if your benefits packages are not clearly stated or if they don’t favor you in any way. Let our team at Chelle law review your contract and guide you accordingly. Contact us today, and let’s get started.
Other Blogs of Interest
- Red Flags in a Dentist Employment Contract: Dental Employment Agreement Concerns
- Does a Dentist Have to Repay a Bonus if they Terminate the Contract?
How a Dentist Should Negotiate a Contract | Negotiating Dental Agreement
How should you negotiate the dental associate contracts? I will give some tips and tricks to get a better dental associate employment contract. First, there’s a difference between negotiating a contract with somebody fresh from training versus an established one in a community. You have more leverage if you are in any community and a corporate practice or another group is bringing out your practice and wants you to join them. You have an established patient base. Let’s first talk about those coming out of training. What do you need to do to put yourself in the best position to negotiate a contract? Well, you need to know what’s important.
Negotiating an Employment Contract for a Dentist
For most dentists, the most important things are compensation. Is it a base salary? Is it a daily rate? Is it a net collection? How do you terminate the contract? Can you get out of it with a certain amount of notice or benefits? Do they pay for your license, DEA registration, credentialing, and continuing education, and are there signing bonuses and relocation assistance? Do you have to pay them back if you leave within a certain time? And then probably the two highest priorities are who pays for malpractice insurance. Then, who must pay for tail insurance after the contract terminates if it’s a claims-made policy and the non-compete? It is some people’s absolute, most important thing in the contract. Suppose they’re married to a community, kids in school, family. In that case, they absolutely can’t leave, then you need a reasonable non-compete that’s not going to make your move completely out of the area.
Alright, those are the most important things to dental associates. Now, you’re coming to training. You have a job offer. They’re giving you a certain amount. How do you know what’s reasonable and what’s not? Well, talking to your classmates is the best way to find that information. What are the offers they’re getting? How much are they getting? How are they structured? Where are the job offers to come from? That’s the best and most, I would say, accurate means of finding out what the going rate is at that time. The compensation is going to vary wildly. As I said before, is it a base salary? It is a daily rate. Is there some net collection involved? Is it a hybrid? Could it be half base, half net-collections?
Considerations Beyond Compensation Offer
Many times, compensation for a job may look great. Still, the benefits are bad, they’re not paying for your tail insurance, or the non-compete is terrible. So, you can’t just take compensation as the number one factor in determining a good opportunity, but it is certainly important. Knowing whether a non-compete is fair or not is something you probably must talk to a professional about. For the most part, anywhere between one to two years, and then maybe 5 to 15 miles from your primary practice location, would be considered reasonable. Suppose you’re in a non-compete that’s more than two years, or it knocks out like multiple counties, or maybe they’ve attached the non-compete radius.
When Does Actual Negotiation Take Place?
Let’s say it’s a corporate practice in a big city with 10 locations. And they’re saying, well, you can’t work within 10 miles of every location we own. That’s not a reasonable non-compete. The actual negotiation will depend on two things. One, do they give you an offer letter, or do they give you the employment agreement? If they give you an offer letter, they expect those terms to be negotiated in advance and incorporated into the employment agreement. And then, they’re going to give you the employment agreement. I find it difficult to come to terms with the main parts of an offer letter without seeing the full employment agreement. If I had a perfect scenario, there would be no offer letter. They would give the employment agreement. Then you’d fully understand what the job entails and the expectations for both parties.
You could agree to a salary, you could agree to the length of the term, and there is a non-compete. What are the things they’ll pay for? When you see the specific language in the contract, it could greatly change how you look at the value of the contract. Just because you’ve signed an offer letter doesn’t mean you can’t renegotiate those terms if you provide proper context to the employer. Alright, I was okay with making $110,000 a year and base salary, not knowing that the non-compete effectively knocked me out of the entire state. If you want me to sign this contract with that non-compete, I need 130,000. There are many ways of going back and forth.
Reluctance to Revision of Contract as a Huge Red Flag
Some employers will simply say, this is a take-it or leave-it. I would be wary of signing a contract with an organization unwilling to make any changes in the contract. It usually means they’re difficult to work with down the road or in a very rigid and unprofessional environment. So, if you find that someone says, take it or leave it, I would leave it and move on and try to find a better opportunity. I’m just telling you, if they take the mindset that they’re not going to change anything in the contract, like nothing at all. No change at signing bonus, relocation assistance, benefits, or anything. It is a bad sign moving forward.
One more thing to think about and absolutely should be top of mind when signing a contract or negotiating the terms of an agreement is the without-cause termination. Either party should be able to terminate the agreement at any time with a certain amount of notice to the other party.
Red Flags in a Dental Practice Employment Contract
Usually, somewhere between 30 to 90 days. Suppose your contract does not have without-cause termination. That means you must fulfill the entire initial term of the agreement somewhere between one to three years. Typically, it is an enormous red flag. You absolutely should not sign that contract for this reason. Suppose they have excluded without-cause termination, which is standard across all healthcare professions. In that case, it usually means they’ve had a ton of turnover or some very dissatisfied dentists wanting to leave. So, they’ve removed that ability and ensured they must stay there for three or more years. If it’s not in the contract, it’s typically not there because they’ve had a ton of turnover. The turnover is usually due to bad management. It’s either it’s a toxic work environment, or the compensation is not worth the amount of time or effort you’ve, you’ve had to put into it.
It makes sense there’s always without-cause termination and the employment agreement. Don’t feel bad about asking for things. If you’re negotiating the terms of employment, most smart employers expect there will be some back and forth. Ask for a little more salary, a little more bonus, and a little less non-compete radius. Incremental things that you can change in the agreement can significantly change the value of an opportunity. So, don’t feel bad. Now, if they’re offering a hundred and you ask for 300 or some crazy amount, they’ll think you have no idea what’s happening. They’ll probably move on. When you ask for something, it needs to be reasonable.
How to Effectively Determine What Is Reasonable
How do you find out what’s reasonable or not? Once again, talk to your classmates. Talk to any mentors, talk to attorneys who understand what they’re doing, and deal with these contracts every day. That’s where you need to get in. But if you go in and ask for these ridiculous changes to an agreement, most places will pull the offer to say, no, we’re not doing any of that. So, that’s how you negotiate a dental associate contract.
Dentist Independent Contractor Tax Deductions | Tax Deductible Considerations for Dental Independent Contractors
What deductibles can be taken by dentists’ taxes when they are independent contractors? Suppose you are an independent contractor or received an independent contractor opportunity. Then, at the end of the year, you’ll receive 1099, and no taxes are deductible from the employer’s provided compensation. You’ll not get a W2, and then you will be responsible for paying those taxes quarterly or at the end of the year. If you are considering being an independent contractor and haven’t before, what are some things you need to consider? And then what are the possible tax deductions advantages of doing that? First, I’m not a tax attorney. I’m an employment contract attorney.
Tax Deduction Expenses For Dental Professionals
So, I’ll give you kind of the bare-bones knowledge that I have based on drafting and reviewing independent contractor agreements for the last couple of decades. But I would suggest if you are thinking of beginning as a first-time independent contractor, you should ask for advice from an accountant. I’m not sure a tax attorney is necessary. And then, you would set up an LLC, a bank account, and then run everything through that. But they can walk you through the tax advantages for setting that up. As I said before, if you are a 1099 independent contractor, you would essentially think of yourself as your own little corporation. So, you’d set up a limited liability company/corporation. Then you would get your own federal tax ID number, set up your bank account, and run all the compensation through that.
All the business financial expenses would go out of that as well. And then you would be able to deduct those things at the end of the year. I’m going to go through a list of things you can deduct briefly, and then we’ll talk about why an independent contractor arrangement might not make the most sense. First, you can deduct mileage, health insurance premiums, home office deductions, work supplies, travel, car expenses, and cell phones. In this case, be either business or malpractice insurance, and you can depreciate the assets. You can deduct all the things that would go into working as a dentist in that situation.
Suppose you’re just coming into the practice to work a few times a week, and they’ll pay you as an independent contractor. You won’t deduct the supplies they give you, or if the practice somehow decides to pay for your annual malpractice premiums, you couldn’t do that either.
Making an Independent Contractor Agreement Worthwhile
But there are a whole bunch of things you can do and some creative ways of making it worthwhile. Now, you’re not going to get all the ancillary benefits that a normal employee would like health, vision, dental, disability life retirement. They will not pay for your dental license, DEA registration, or continuing education. You won’t get any paid time off. You’re not going to get any of that as an independent contractor. But as an independent contractor, it should be easy in, easy out. You can work as little or as much as you want. And you are essentially or should be, in charge of your schedule. There are situations where being an independent contractor would make no sense. And then there are probably other situations where being an employee wouldn’t make a lot of sense either.
Tax Credits and Deductions
It’s situationally dependent, so you must weigh if I have to pay for these things. However, I can ultimately most likely dig into most of them. Still, you won’t be able to easily get all the insurance if your only work is as an independent contractor. Health insurance is tough to get. Disability is not tough to get but expensive. Retirement, like those things, is not easy to set up. And I know that some dentists are like, I don’t want to deal with that. I want to be an employee. I want them to set everything up and opt into it. I don’t want to have to deal with all of this stuff on my own. And that’s great. But suppose you are an independent contractor who pays for everything.
In that case, you should probably get compensation at a little higher level than if you are an employee because the employer doesn’t have to pay employment tax.
They don’t have to pay for anything I went through: the licensing, the continuing education, the paid time off. Those are their exemptions. So, it would make sense if they were free from all those business financial expenses. That would at least pass on in some percentage to the dentist. Those are the deductions on the taxes that a dentist can take when they’re an independent contractor. There are a bunch of factors that go into whether it makes sense or not. But hopefully, that was a little bit of information you may not have had before.
Consultation with Chelle Law
It’s a no-brainer that you should only enter a contract after it gets reviewed by a skilled dental contract lawyer. At Chelle Law, we have hands-on experience drafting and reviewing employment contracts in all medical specialties.
When dental contracts are reviewed by an experienced lawyer, you will find great financial benefits which end up outweighing the cost of the contract’s review. If you are in need of legal assistance with a dental contract review schedule a review with Chelle Law today!
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