Determining Time Off for Medical Practice Staff

September 14, 2015

What is the right amount of time off to give medical practice staff? Is there such a thing as being too generous?

I am curious to know how much time off other practices typically allow for their staff. I am sure it will be different depending on the size of the practice and the number of staff members.

Since I opened the office six years ago (has it really been that long?), I gave each non-provider staff member 80 hours (2 weeks) off. This includes sick days, and days they either have to arrive late or leave early for whatever reason. The six major holidays are paid. Initially, if the office was closed for other reasons, they were not paid. That included "lesser" holidays that I used to take before the office got so busy and when my kids were younger and had no school. It also included days we were closed due to weather. The office is now open every day except the major holidays but we do occasionally close due to weather. On those days, I give the staff tasks to do at home so that they can get paid and some work gets done.

I also allow them to take unpaid time off if they run out of hours or if they know they are going to run out before year's end and need the time off. I only ask that they give me ample notice and that only one person be out at a time.

Recently, my two more senior staff members asked if they could have more personal time off (PTO) hours. I know they work very hard and can get burned out. I agreed to an additional week's worth of PTO at year five of employment (they are both there).

When I mentioned this to someone else, I was told that I was being overly generous. That in many companies, people work 10 years before they even get two weeks PTO. Someone else told me that in his office, there is no paid PTO; but I'm not sure if any of his employees are full time. I did have a staff member at another office say they only get a week off.

Now, I would never renege on a deal I made with my staff. And I do believe that they deserve a break from the constant neediness (both from the patients and me). And the time does include sick days (my receptionist requires an unusual number of doctor's appointments for someone so young). But I just wanted a general consensus from others about the number of hours your staff is allotted.