Pondering a Raise

October 1, 2008

My physician assistant (PA), joined my practice right out of school. She has performed above expectations and has been a joy to have in the practice. The first year of employment, she was getting a straight salary and worked a four-and-a-half day work week, plus a half-day one Saturday per month. For her second year of employment, I was planning on giving her a raise and keeping her on a straight salary. However, she just told me she would prefer to only work four days a week. In your opinion, how should this affect her salary for the second year? Should she still get all the benefits of a full-time employee? What do you think her salary should be now?

Question: My physician assistant (PA), joined my practice right out of school. She has performed above expectations and has been a joy to have in the practice. The first year of employment, she was getting a straight salary and worked a four-and-a-half day work week, plus a half-day one Saturday per month.

For her second year of employment, I was planning on giving her a raise and keeping her on a straight salary. However, she just told me she would prefer to only work four days a week. In your opinion, how should this affect her salary for the second year? Should she still get all the benefits of a full-time employee? What do you think her salary should be now?

Answer: My gut response is that you should offer to retain her benefits (this is good will and a good retention strategy), but either drop her salary or not offer a raise.

She wants to drop the half-day out of her week plus the Saturdays, which is about a 13 percent cut, so it would make sense for her salary to drop by the same amount. However, if that’s about the amount you had in mind for a raise you can just keep her pay the same or peg it somewhere in the middle.

I’d just share all this thinking with her so she sees you are trying to help her out and has a sense of where you are coming from. Be prepared to negotiate.