How much time off should a veterinarian get? If you’re an employed veterinarian associate, how much total time off should the employer give you each year? First, it’s going to be in the employment contract how much time off you get. And time off has four components. One is vacation, two would be sick days, three would be continuing education, and then four, federal holidays. Those four things kind of make up the total time off. There are two types of systems for vacation. You have a pure PTO system, so PTO is paid time off. And I guess the corporate-owned practices kind of the big conglomerates that are gobbling up all the veterinary-owned practices lately, they’re more likely to use a pure PTO system.
In a pure PTO system, the vet would have one bucket of time off and they can do whatever they want with that time off. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sick day or a holiday or whatever. It’s coming out of that bucket if they’re not in the office for that day. And in a system like that, normally, the vet would then accrue a certain amount per pay period, and then assuming they’ve accrued enough, then they can use it. One tip: no vet should accept an accrual system. It should be, this is how much time off you get per year and from the beginning of the year. Having to accrue time off is just rare for an advanced-level healthcare provider. You don’t want to accept an accrual system. It should just be, you get what you get. Now, how much is a normal amount?
Well, for most vets, it’ll be 10 to 15 days of vacation time. It’ll be 3 to 5 days for sick leave. Now, sick days are sometimes state-dependent, meaning, there are many states that have laws in place that state if you are a full-time employee, you are then allowed this many days of sick time off per year. Continuing education is somewhere between 3 to 5 days as well. And then lastly, for the federal holidays, most places observe six to seven federal holidays. Let’s just kind of add them up. Let’s say you got 10 vacation days, 3 sick days, 7 federal holidays, that’s 20, and then continuing education, another 3, then that gets you to 23 total days off. That’s okay. Other blogs of interest include:
It should be somewhere between 20 to 30 days of total time off. You’re not going to see more or at least it’s very unlikely you would see more than that in any veterinary contract. If you’re only getting 15 days of total time off, that’s a big red flag as well. Why is that a red flag if you’re getting a very low amount? Well, I find employers who maybe don’t appreciate a work-life balance or expect the vet to just be in the office all the time. They’re usually more difficult to work with, or don’t appreciate the need for a little bit of time off occasionally. So, if you’re only being offered a very low amount, that’s a job you should probably just move on from and find another opportunity.
One benefit of these bigger corporate-owned practices is that it’s standardized how much time off they provide. And it’s usually good. I find that kind of egregious time off is usually for the smaller veterinary-owned practices and it’s possible, maybe they just don’t understand what the industry standard is, or maybe it’s possible they just don’t want to give that much time off. But you’ll usually get a decent amount of time off if you’re worth a corporate-owned practice. So, what can you negotiate? Well, the vacation is what you kind of want to focus on. Obviously, it depends if it’s a pure PTO system or it’s segmented, but if you’re going to focus on one thing and like, let’s just say you want five more days, then you want five more vacation days. You don’t want to add five continuing education days because you can do what you want with a vacation day.
Whereas if it’s a continuing education day, then you must do continuing education and some people just want the flexibility. And then as far as holidays go, that is what it is. There’s not going to be any negotiation as far as holidays go. Maybe if you’re in a vet specialty when you’re on call, that’s one thing you need to think about, okay, well you’re giving me 20 days, including these seven federal holidays, but I’m going to be on call for three of them. Will I get an additional three days of time off that way? It equals out. Most places would do it that way, but it won’t be written in the contract that way. You need to make certain and talk to the employer about, alright, if I am on call and I must come in on these days, will I get makeup days after the fact? That’s something to keep in mind if you’re in a vet specialty that’s on call. If you’re just a general vet who’s never on call, that’s not something you need to worry about. In summary, somewhere between 20 to 30 days would be a standard amount of time off for a veterinarian.
You can negotiate whether the employer is willing to do that or not. I don’t know. But it’s certainly something that you don’t want to, I guess, get the short end on one. Another consideration, I forgot to mention this: If you are on a pure production employment relationship, meaning, especially in the vet industry, they use pro Sal a lot. And that means you get a percentage of the collections that the practice receives. The more time off you take, the less money you’re going to make. If you’re just on a straight-based salary, then take as much time off as you want that is not going to affect your compensation. If you’re on productivity model where it’s in the vet industry, it’s almost always based upon net collections. The less you work, the less you’re going to make. There is a balance in between, alright, if I want to make this much money, I can’t take 30 days off versus what your target is as far as what you want to make per year. That’s one consideration you should consider.
Employment Contract Questions?
Contract Review, Termination Issues, and more!