What Expenses Should a Dental Practice Pay For a Dentist? | Dentistry Office Expense Costs for the Dentist to Be Reimbursed
Should an employer pay for in relation to business expenses for the dentist? This can vary greatly. It kind of depends on the makeup of the practice. If it’s a smaller practice, sometimes the employer will pay for fewer business expenses. A corporation, not all the time, but sometimes will pay for more. It kind of just depends on what the makeup is. Sometimes, the business expenses are standardized. All dentists that are employed there get the same. Other times, this is something that can be negotiated. Let’s kind of go over the list of the main business expenses that the employer will pay for. I would say probably the most common one is continuing education. Every dentist needs to continue their education to keep up their certification and license.
Dentistry Clinic Cost Reimbursement
An employer will typically give you an annual allowance. I would say industry standards are anywhere between 2,000 to 5,000. They will say, we’ll give you $2,000 to $5,000 a year, you can use this towards continuing education. Sometimes, this will include conferences which would include travel expenses. Sometimes, it has to be approved directly by them, but normally, it’s just an allowance. They give you a specified amount of money annually, and you can use that because you need it to continue your education to keep up with your licensing requirements. It’s also known and stated sometimes in contracts as CEs or continuing education. You might also get CE days paid time off to attend those conferences that that allowance is providing for.
Sometimes though, dental contracts have unpaid time off. If you have unpaid time off, it’s not likely that this is something that would be provided to you. However, if you are granted PTO time, it is likely that you would be granted specific days to attend those CEs. That’s the most common one, continuing education, because everybody has to do it, otherwise, you will not be able to keep your license. So, it’s very important. The second one I’m going to talk about is your licensing fees with your state board. This is very common that it is provided for or reimbursed. These expenses would be in addition to paid time off.
It’s typically structured in two different ways. They might give you a different allowance for licensing in dues, or they just say, go ahead and apply for your license, pay for it. We will reimburse you. It depends on the agreement. So, you have read your agreement to know which way it’s structured. But your licensing fees, if you’re moving to a new state and you need an initial license, would likely be covered. If you need a renewal, again, that would likely be covered, but you want to make sure in your agreement. The next one is a DEA license. If you are prescribing controlled substances within your practice, which dentists may or may not, it depends, you’ll need a DEA license. Those are expensive, and they just keep going up. That is another expense that you would want your employer to cover.
Office and Dental Care Overhead
And you would also want them to cover the renewals. And then lastly, any sort of professional organization because again, that’s important. You can get continuing education through that. It’s good for networking and keeping up your skills. That’s also something that would be covered. Another one in dental contracts would be malpractice insurance. Either the practice themselves will add you to their policy and pay for your premiums, or they will reimburse you. And then the last two are kind of unique, but I do see them on some contracts. Cell phone expenses. They may reimburse you or provide you with a cell phone for communication, and then travel. If you’re going to multiple locations, they may reimburse you for mileage or even provide you with a vehicle, but that’s kind of rare. It’s mainly that they would just reimburse you for mileage and travel expenses.
So, those are the typical ones. I would say that dental agreements greatly vary because the practices and their makeups really vary. You could see all of these on an agreement; you could see none of them, which I would try if I were you to negotiate for some of them because these are things that can really add up. You want to advocate for yourself to get these costs or reimbursements included in your employment agreements.
Should the Dental Practice Reimburse Moving Overhead Costs?
Should a dentist receive relocation expenses and reimbursement? The short answer is yes. Industry standards normally dictate that this is common in employment agreements for dentists. However, it does depend on where you’re moving from. Is this a short distance or are you moving out of state or across the country? Normally, you must be moving a pretty far distance to the practice in order for them to offer this to you. They’re also structured in a couple of different ways. I would say the most common way it’s structured in a dental employment agreement is it’s normally listed as a relocation allowance. It’s just a flat amount. I’ve seen it range anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 and what will happen is upon signing the agreement, normally, they will give you that allowance.
And it’s just given to you in that flat amount. Now, when that happens, it is normally taxed as income. So, you don’t receive the full 5,000 to 10,000. That’s something to consider upon signing. And then sometimes you must give receipts back to the practice showing that you used it for relocation expenses. Other times, that requirement is absent from the agreement. The second way that it’s typically structured is that the practice will directly pay the companies for moving expenses. You will let the practice know what sort of moving company you’re going to use. And then they will reach out and pay them directly. There could be a cap on that amount. And again, it’s normally anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 in dental contracts. The thing you want to look out for whenever you receive a relocation allowance or reimbursement is there’s normally a payback provision or amount of time that you have to work for the practice, in order to get that amount forgiven.
Normally, it’s anywhere from one to three years; three years is a little long. And normally, we try to advocate for our clients to have one to two years. You will work for the dental practice for one to two years, and then that amount that they gave you at the beginning for your relocation expenses will be forgiven. You want to read your agreement very carefully. Sometimes, these sorts of provisions are very strict and if you terminate the agreement for any reason within that specific period, you have to pay back the entire bonus or allowance.
And the problem with this is when you receive the bonus, taxes will be taken out of it if it’s considered income. But you’re going to pay back the full amount. So again, you want to be careful. A better and very common way that it’s structured is it’s prorated for how long you’ve worked there. Let’s just say that the forgiveness period is two years, and you work for one year at the practice and decide to leave. Therefore, you’d only have to pay back 50% of those relocation allowances or reimbursements. So, always want to read your employment agreement first. See how those relocation expenses are structured. It is common to be offered one if you’re moving to the practice from a long distance.
Does a Dentist Have to Repay Bonuses, Fees, or Wages?
Does a dentist have to repay back bonuses if they leave early? This really depends on the employment agreement that you’ve signed as each one is unique itself. However, I would say generally anytime a bonus is offered to a dentist in an employment agreement, there is always some type of forgiveness period. And it’s normally between one to two years. If you terminate the employment agreement within that period, it’s likely that you would have to pay back any bonuses you receive. There are normally two types of bonuses that we’re talking about here. The first one is a relocation bonus or relocation allowance. This can be anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on where you’re moving from.
And this bonus is used for moving expenses just to get there, and get your household settled before you start with the practice. And then the second bonus typically offered in a dental employment agreement is a signing bonus, and that can normally be anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. You sign the contract and sometimes you are given those funds upon signing. Other times, you’re given half at the time of signing and then half at the time that you commence your employment with the practice. Those are normally the two types of bonuses that we’re talking about here when we mean paying them back. The paybacks are normally structured in one of two variations. The first one is just simply if you terminate the contract within a specific period, you have to pay back the full amount.
How Much Should a Dentist Get for CE Expenses? | Continuing Education Cost for a Dental Associate
How much should a dentist get for continuing education from their employer annually? If you are an employee of the practice, they’ll offer you benefits, or at least they should provide you with. And that will include health, vision, dental, retirement, disability, and life. Then they’ll pay for your licensing dues, DEA, and registration. And then they’ll also, or at least they should offer reimbursement for your CE costs each year. A dentist’s average amount would be somewhere between $2,000 to $3,000 a year. The employer would reimburse you or pay for the cost.
What Things Can You Pay For?
And so, what things can you pay for? Well, if you must travel to the conference, the travel costs, so airfare, car rental, the price of admission to the conference, and lodging, some will also pay for meals. That is an average amount. Now, I find many dental practices, especially corporate-owned ones, try to lowball the dentist on the amount they’re going to pay for CE. I mean, I see like 500 to 1,000 sometimes. That is not what I consider reasonable, and you should certainly ask for more before signing your employment agreement.
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