Should Medical Practice Staff Get Paid When the Office is Closed?

If a medical office is closed, and therefore, not generating income, should staff members be paid?

Time is money. And in a business where one of your commodities is time, that is even more true. So the question then is: If a medical office is closed, and therefore, not generating income, should staff members be paid?

I will tell you how I answered this question, and I will tell you that the answer has evolved over time. When I first opened the office, and it was just my secretary and I, and even when I had hired the medical assistant, I told them up front, the office would be closed on major and some minor holidays, and they would not be paid. I had no intention (or ability) to go on vacation, so that was not an issue. There were, however, emergency closings due to weather, and I decided on a case-to-case basis on whether they would be paid or not. If I took time off to go to the medical school, I had them come in and man the phones, so naturally they got paid.

With growth of the practice and the addition of a new physician, it has become economically feasible for me to pay the staff their usual salary if a major holiday lands on a weekday and we are closed. My kids are a little older now, and it is easier to make arrangements for them if school is closed for a minor holiday, so we tend to be open those days, or either I or my associate will be out, but the other will be in, so the office is kept open. We have been fortunate this past winter and have not needed to close due to weather.

I think that being able to pay the staff especially around the holidays, really makes a difference in morale. Isn’t that when people really need the money? And since another one of our commodities is service, happy employees make happy patients.

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