Providing Employee Benefit Opportunities at Your Medical Practice

June 20, 2012

Each year, medical practices should review their employee benefits. Here are some ideas on changing what you've done in the past to reward your staff.

Every practice should do a yearly review of their “package” of employee benefits, including the following:

Vacations
Vacations are a time-off-with-pay bonus tool. But rather than making employees wait extended periods to receive extra time off, consider incremental vacation rewards. Instead of two weeks (10 days) vacation for years one through four, then three weeks (15 days) vacation commencing year five, consider the following incremental bonus:

• Year Two: 11 paid vacation days
• Year Three: 12 paid vacation days
• Year Four: 13 paid vacation days
• Year Five: 15 paid vacation days

This becomes a bonus “extra” that pays out every year, rather than being deferred in a lump sum after five years.

Sick leave
If you provide paid sick leave, consider providing a bonus for unused sick leave. One bonus could be carrying unused sick leave days to the next year. Another bonus would be to pay for unused sick leave days anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of their daily pay.

Personal Time Off (PTO)
Some practices provide two or three days of PTO for employees; not for sickness or vacation but for personal matters: family events, doctor visits, etc. Again, the practice could pay for unused PTO as it does for unused sick leave.

Time Off for Perfect Attendance
Another variation of the unused sick leave bonus is to provide one, two, or three days of paid time off for perfect attendance: no days off for sickness, PTO, emergency, etc., and always on time. You could give this paid time off during the holidays, especially if this is a slower time at the practice. Employees greatly appreciate time off during the holidays.

Time Off Without Pay
Consider a policy to accommodate emergencies (medical and other); pregnancy; family emergency (crisis or death); celebrations (graduations, family anniversaries). It could be an extension of your PTO policy. With the exception of pregnancy leave and emergency leave (employee disability due to accident, etc.) you will probably limit your added PTO to no more than five days per year. Accommodating these PTO events is, in fact, a bonus, since it is not a requirement of the law.

Gifts
Here are some of the gifts that practices have provided employees.
Drugs and medical supplies at cost - This can be a savings benefit, depending upon your health insurance coverage. It could be extended to the employees’ families.
Dinner for two at an upscale restaurant - Could be for a work anniversary or helping in the conversion to a computerized medical record system. It could even include a bottle of champagne at the table.
Flowers - For employee anniversaries, birthdays, special occasions.

Education and Training
Employees benefit, and so does the practice, when training programs are provided. Be sure to pay for their tuition, books, travel, and meals. There are many practice-related programs provided by specialty societies, state and county medical societies, as well as evening courses at local community colleges.

Some practices have a special educational scholarship program established for the children of the practice physicians as well as staff. Ask your practice accountant about how these can be set up with the practice’s pre-tax dollars.

Other
Uniforms and uniform allowance -Many practices provide uniforms for their employees as an added benefit. Employees save the cost of wear and tear on their own wardrobe.
Membership in health clubs
Tickets - to sporting events, local plays, symphony, opera, musicals, etc.
Special meals -A number of practices provide luncheons for special occasions: birthdays, practice anniversary, employee anniversary dates, Valentine’s Day, etc.

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