Does your physician employment contract benefit you?

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Does Your Physician Employment Contract Benefit You

You may be starting out in your medical career or looking for a change of scenery when you find yourself in the stressful process of finding a new job. There are many things to consider when job hunting, such as the location of the facility and the kind of medicine you will practice. Because you may hope to stay in your next position for many years, you will want to make sure it will best fit your needs.

When you accept a position at a hospital or medical facility, you will likely have to sign an employment contract. Your contract may include standard information, such as benefits and time off. However, your contract may include some negotiable terms, and failing to closely examine these terms can lock you into an unpleasant situation.

Understanding the job requirements

One of your first questions may concern what your new employer will require of you. The time when a doctor worked every day and was on call at all hours appears to be passing. You may be able to negotiate if your proposed contract includes extreme hours and/or duties. If your contract does not include specifics about your clinic hours and the times you will be on call, you may end up working far beyond what is healthy and reasonable.

Your contract should also give you a clear sign of the kind of work that the administration expects of you when you are on duty. Vague contract language may leave you responsible for work that is outside your knowledge or experience.

Determining pay and benefits

Your compensation is important, especially if you have student loans or a family to support.

Some compensation issues your contract may cover include:

  • Confirmation that your base pay will not decrease but may increase within a few years of your hiring date

  • How the administration calculates bonuses and incentives

  • Reimbursement for continuing education and professional development

  • Allowances for licensing fees and professional organization dues

  • Assistance with repaying student loans

Even though leaving a new job might be the farthest thing from your mind when you sign the contract, it is critical to review the non-compete clause. A non-compete clause that is broad in scope and duration could prevent you from finding work if you decide to leave this position. To protect your interests, you may want to negotiate limits for this clause.

In fact, a careful review of your contract and its restrictive covenants before signing it may protect you from entering an agreement that will not serve you well. Fortunately, there are skilled legal advocates in New Jersey who can give you a comprehensive review of your employment contract so that you can favorably negotiate terms.


Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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