Do Physician Assistant Independent Contractor Agreements Advantage You?
The work world has evolved rapidly over the last few years and decades, and there are now more people than ever who count themselves among the ranks of independent contractors. Data from May 2017 showed that approximately 10.6 million workers were classified as independent contractors. That made up just 6.9% of the total workforce at that time, but that number has risen rapidly since then. There are now job types that were not traditionally considered for independent contractor designations that are sometimes being reclassified in this way. What this means and how it can impact your career as a physician assistant are important questions that you need to have answered.
What is an Independent Contractor?
The most important thing to understand about independent contractors is the fact that they are completely responsible for managing and paying their own tax burden:
As an IC, you practice in a self-employed capacity. This means the financial end of employment is now your responsibility. An employee fills out a W-4 form so an employer may report financial information. An IC fills out a W-9 form. The employer may then send financial information and issue a 1099-MISC.
They take care of this because the taxes are not withheld from their paycheck for them as they are not technically an employee of the place where they work. They have come to an agreement with that facility to offer their services, but they are doing so on an independent contractor (IC) basis. Thus, they will need to set aside the money that they owe for taxes, and they are expected to pay their taxes quarterly. Many hire tax consultants in order to make sure they are following all of the rules and pay only the amount that is required of them.
Independent Contractors are Not Bound to One Employer
If you had just stopped reading at this point, you might wonder why anyone would want to agree to an independent contractor agreement. It sounds like more work on the worker and more stress. However, there are advantages to being an independent contractor as well. For example, it is possible to spread your work out among many different service providers. You don’t have to work all of your week at a single location, and you are not obligated to meet certain obligations that a traditional employee would have to meet.
You will still need to perform your job duties to a satisfactory level or risk being asked to leave, but you don’t necessarily have to work full-time at one location. If you want to pick up some hours at one location before moving on to give some of your time elsewhere for higher pay, you are allowed to do so. If you work as an independent contractor, you cannot be made to sign a non-compete clause in your agreement. That facility is not your employer, and they cannot bind you to them in this way. If you run into any problems with this, you should contact a physician assistant contract attorney right away. Other related topics include:
Can You Make More Money as an IC Physician Assistant?
The earnings potential for an independent contractor physician assistant is very high. They can work for whatever amount the market will agree to pay them. That is to say that they can leverage their skills to seek higher and higher pay offers from various facilities. The savviest physician assistants will try to find the facilities that value their talents the most and negotiate their salary based on what the highest-paying facilities are willing to offer them. They may even pit offers against one another to see if they can get a higher rate of pay from their preferred facilities. There is nothing wrong with this, and it is all considered to be part of the negotiating process.
What an Independent Contractor Can Do that Traditional Employees Cannot
A few things that an independent contractor can do that traditional employees often cannot include:
Start Negotiations Any Time
Most traditional employees have no choice but to wait until their annual review time rolls around to even consider bringing up the prospect of negotiating a raise. Even then, many are boxed out by employer complaints that they “simply don’t have the money in the budget”. Traditional employees often feel stuck with the pay rates and benefits that they initially received for far longer than necessary. Independent contractors don’t have this same worry. Independent Contractors can attempt to negotiate with their place of employment whenever they feel it makes sense for them. The facility where they work still may be unwilling to meet their demands, but they simply take their talents to another facility in that case.
Demand Higher Rates
Independent contractors are in the unique position of knowing a lot more about the rates that various employers are willing to offer. This means that they can take those figures to different facilities and make them compete against one another to offer the best terms. Traditional employees are often blind to the various rates offered at other facilities, and this makes it more challenging for them to demand more money. You don’t know what you don’t know, and that puts traditional employees at a major disadvantage.
Leave Without Fear of Benefits Lost
Traditional employees often feel bound to their employer if for no other reason than the fact that their employer provides them with health insurance and other benefits. Independent contractors don’t have that same problem because ICs do not receive those benefits from the places where they work. Instead, they can leave anytime that makes sense to them from a personal financial standpoint.
As you can see, independent contractors have a lot more flexibility in their workplaces than many other types of workers. It is one of the reasons why so many people are drawn to being classified as ICs. The added flexibility and freedom that they receive is certainly something worth paying attention to.
Anyone who is considering signing a contract to become a physician assistant independent contractor should contact us first and get a meeting set up with one of our qualified contract attorneys. Our people can go over your contract paperwork to ensure that everything is set up just the way that you want it to be. Getting an extra set of trained eyes on it like this is exactly what you need to make the most of your contract negotiations.
Consultation with Chelle Law for PA Independent Contractor Review
When your Physician Assistant agreement is reviewed by a contract review attorney, you will find financial benefits which end up outweighing the cost of the review. Leave it to the experts if you are in need of assistance with an employment agreement or contract review schedule a Physician Assistant Contract Lawyer with Chelle Law today!
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