Associate Veterinary Employment Contract | Veterinarian Agreement
Those in the veterinary practice will often discuss their compensation, hours, benefits, and other details with a potential new employer shortly before they are asked to sign a professional contract. The contract is meant to provide exact details about the nature of the working relationship between the veterinarian and the practice that they work for. This is a positive thing because it means that there should be no confusion about the expectations of both parties once the document has been signed. However, you should certainly consider contacting a veterinary contract lawyer to review the full scope of your contract before you agree to it.
Terms of Employment
It is common practice to have virtually anyone accepting a new job position of any kind sign a contract agreeing to the terms of employment. Veterinarians work in a high-wage professional job, which means that the contracts established for them are often more in-depth than those that exist for other lines of work. It is critical to establish:
- Workplace expectations
- Hourly schedules
- Rates of pay
- Benefits (including PTO, health insurance, 401(k), etc.)
- Any other terms that the two sides would like to be mutually understood
Essentially, vets are asked to sign many documents because the type of work is so critically important. If they are unable or unwilling to sign those documents, they simply need to move on to another clinic or practice with terms that all sides can agree on. However, the use of a contract in and of itself is a good thing.
Are There Any Veterinarian Positions That Don’t Require a Contract?
It is exceedingly rare that any employer hiring a full-time veterinarian will allow them to accept a position without a contract. Their job can literally be the difference between life or death for a pet, so it is necessary for companies to get everything done in writing as far as what they expect from the veterinarian that they hire.
There are limited cases in which a freelance veterinarian may do a minimal amount of work without a contract. This may include helping out at an event put on by a local animal shelter or doing charitable work that they will not be compensated for. In those very limited cases, there is some chance that the veterinarian will not have to sign any paperwork. That said, vets generally anticipate signing paperwork before doing almost anything related to their professional career, and for good reason.
What are Some Veterinarian Professional Contract Benefits?
Numerous veterinarian professional contract benefits are available in a contract that is well-structured and fair to everyone involved.
A Defined Veterinary Work Schedule
Anyone who has worked a job where they are not given a defined work schedule ahead of time knows the pain of trying to juggle their job responsibilities with everything else that they have going on. It is not fair to the worker, and it is a major stressor in general. Fortunately, veterinarians with professional contracts don’t have to worry about this. They receive a defined work schedule that they can refer back to in their contract if there is ever a dispute about when they are supposed to work.
Benefits They Can Count On
Another area of comfort for veterinarians with professional contracts is in the benefits that they receive from their employer. They can look at their contract and see in plain language what kind of job benefits they will receive for staying with a particular employer. These benefits may include:
- Premium health insurance offerings – Health insurance is expensive, but a lot of that expense can be spared when one is offered decent health insurance through their employer. Veterinarians often rely on their job to provide them with this layer of security. They can even insist on it in their contract before they agree to work for a particular clinic.
- 401(k) benefits – Retirement is something that one needs to start saving for right away if they hope to have an enjoyable quality of life when they are no longer of working age. That is why 401(k) benefits are so critically important. They make it possible for a veterinarian to save for the future.
- Sign-on bonuses – The demand for veterinarian services is so high right now that many companies are offering sign-on bonuses for the vets that they can get to agree to work for them. These bonuses are a big deal because they are a major incentive for a vet to come to work for one practice over another. The offer of upfront cash just for agreeing to go to work for someone is a huge deal.
Employee Job Security
Any employer that goes through the trouble of creating a professional contract for a new vet to sign is likely going to want to keep that employee around for a significant period. They wouldn’t bother with all of the formalities if they didn’t believe that they could get a lot of value from the relationship that they are building with their new employee. As such, veterinarians who are asked to sign a professional contract can usually feel confident that they are likely in a position where they will have good job security moving forward.
Practice Liability Protections
In some cases, a professional contract may also provide the veterinarian with certain liability protections. If an accusation of malpractice should ever arise, the vet needs to be sure that he or she is protected from legal liability.
Employers will sometimes include malpractice liability protections in the contracts that they provide to the vets that they employ because they know that this helps give the vet some peace of mind to do their best work. It is certainly much better than hiring someone who always has to look over their shoulder with every procedure they do. Vets want to perform at their highest level at all times, but they may need the backing of their employer at times to help them provide those kinds of results to clients.
Have a Lawyer Review Every Contract
Your eyes might get big when you see some of the benefits you can get just from signing off on your professional contract. However, before you get too excited about all that is contained within the contract, please consider having a veterinary contract lawyer look it over. Your lawyer can review each aspect of your contract to see if elements need to be revised before you sign off. They can also inform you about anything within your contract that you do not understand.
A complete review of your contract will cost you some money, but that is money well spent! Most contracts offered to veterinarians are fair and reasonable, but there are cases when a contract should be rejected due to unreasonable expectations. To make sure you don’t end up signing up to work in a situation that you can’t stand, you should contact us and let us get to work, helping you figure out if the contract you are presented with is worth signing.
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