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Dental Employment Agreements
Becoming an associate affords the young dentist an opportunity to enhance technical skills and increase efficiency under someone else's financial investment. The young dentist also gets to witness how a dental practice operates, and has the time with which to marshal capital for an eventual partnership or independent practice. The key to accruing these benefits, however, is ensuring that the right employment opportunity has been created.
Do I Even Need a Dental Employment Agreement?
In short, yes. A dental employment agreement outlines the rules of your relationship and provides the recourse when someone breaks one of those rules. Without a dental employment agreement, the upper hand usually rests with the party with the most bargaining power, which in most cases is the employer.
What Kind of Issues Should A Contract Cover?
No two dental employment agreements are identical; however, some common issues include:
- Will you be an employee or an independent contractor?
- How will your production be measured?
- Will any deductions be taken out of your check, and how do you ensure these deductions are legitimate?
- Will there be restrictions against moonlighting?
- Under what circumstances can you be fired?
- Under what circumstances can you leave the practice?
- If you leave, will there be a non-compete restriction?
- What supplies, equipment, fees, insurance, or fringe benefits are covered under the agreement?
I'm Not in a Position to Bargain
A common refrain from dentists considering an employment is that the agreement is not up for negotiation. In our experience, this is rarely the case. Most employers are willing to consider reasonable alterations that create safety and reliable expectations for both parties. Moreover, if an employer is unwilling to consider alterations, that may in and of itself be a very telling indicator of how the employer will conduct the relationship.