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Employer not offering contract? "Everything is in the offer letter"?

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  • MPMD
    replied
    Originally posted by Shant View Post
    I dunno, in my limited experience, contracts get pages added to protect the institution not the employee.
    i think that's right.

    have asked for changes to a contract at one place and was just told it was non-negotiable.

    full disclosure i have worked a job where all i had was an offer letter and it was fine.

    i don't think it's anywhere near as simple as offer letter = you are going to get screwed and contract = not that.

    if you are joining a PE-backed group, don't you think any contract they give you is going to ruthlessly protect their investment?

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  • Shant
    replied
    I dunno, in my limited experience, contracts get pages added to protect the institution not the employee.

    Leave a comment:


  • pulmdoc
    replied
    Not having a contract+PE firm=red flag in my mind. They are in it for the money, not the mission, don't forget that.

    Loan forgiveness as part of a contract offer is a red flag because that amount of money isn't yours until your time period is up. Want to leave? Gotta pay it back with interest. Far preferable to get the amount of loan forgiveness put into your regular paycheck and you put the extra money towards your loans.

    My initial contract ran 35 pages. Scope of practice, salary, benefits, malpractice, termination for/without cause, notice required, signing bonus repayment, locums work, etc etc. "It's all in the offer letter" leaves an awful lot unsaid.

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  • Random1
    replied
    I would get a signed contract spelling out all the benefits / insurance in specific.

    It takes a considerable amount of time to go from one practice to another with insurances and malpractice. I would want to know and have in writing malpractice insurance carrier and type, specifics about loan repayment ( I would assume it would be considered taxable income and you would be responsible for the the taxes ).

    If they want to pay you a couple hundred thousand dollars a year , but can't get a contract together, I would be a little hesitant.

    It doesn't sound like your dream job, stay forever.

    So I would have in writing a contract with a good exit plan, ie who pays for tail of the malpractice when your leave. How long can you keep your health insurance. Do you have to pay back the loan repayment?

    If everything works out great , so be it. But usually what happens is some sort of disagreement in benefits, compensation , hours worked or call. Then you get , well that is part of the job, or we never agreed upon it, and you are stuck with a low level boss with a bad attitude while you are trying to sell your house and move.

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  • Otolith
    replied
    "That sounds great that your policies are so established that you don't feel the need for the contract, then you shouldn't mind putting those down in a document structuring their clarity for me."

    I would talk with current docs at that practice but otherwise would say it's a red flag. not a deal breaker but a red flag.

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  • White.Beard.Doc
    replied
    Over the course of a long career, I have worked with no contract, with an offer letter, and with a contract. The reputation of the practice, the culture of the group, and their history with colleagues is way more important in my view. Just the same, it is important to have at least the basic things written down so that there is no miscommunication.

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  • bean1970
    replied
    Originally posted by Tim View Post

    They also contain statements affirming compliance with policies and procedures. No non-compete. That doesn’t prevent the institution from raising a ruckus. One physician was getting decimated but won $6m in court. Unusual.
    Ours have non-compete clauses for 18 months.

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  • Tim
    replied
    Originally posted by bean1970 View Post
    yes. our institution (academics) provides offer letter which outlines salary, etc. Benefits are linked to the university page (which is in the offer letter). We do not have contracts. I believed they have been gone about 10 years now.
    They also contain statements affirming compliance with policies and procedures. No non-compete. That doesn’t prevent the institution from raising a ruckus. One physician was getting decimated but won $6m in court. Unusual.

    Leave a comment:


  • bean1970
    replied
    yes. our institution (academics) provides offer letter which outlines salary, etc. Benefits are linked to the university page (which is in the offer letter). We do not have contracts. I believed they have been gone about 10 years now.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tim
    replied
    Contracts are only important when there is a dispute, typically when it leads to a desire to separate. At will or not, terms of notice for cause or without cause tend to ruffle feathers. There might be a clause about compliance or following policies and procedures. Read that as extensions of your offer letter at the employers discretion. Who would have thought the policy for notice would be grossly in favor of the PE firm. You definitely need a contract review, likely by an attorney. Yes they will have terms and conditions that are not in the offer letter. Do you get prorated credit on the loan forgiveness (taxable annually) or “upon completion”? If it is important to you, it needs to be in the letter. Hope you never have a contract dispute.

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  • crashXCI
    replied
    Thanks all for the insight. They were very clear that this wasn't a "contract comes later" situation -- literally no other binding document than the offer letter. They did state that the terms of loan repayment (ie treating it as a loan that is forgiven after working there for 3 years) would be included as part of the offer letter. Lots of great thoughts above (esp alluding to the fact that private money can screw you with or without a contract).

    Good point, Shant. Will definitely be having whatever documents there are reviewed by a contract lawyer, "contract" or not.

    Will update in here if there are any further developments. I'm fortunate to be in a field in extremely low supply at the moment and want to explore every option I have.

    Leave a comment:


  • Shant
    replied
    There is no magic, an offer letter becomes a contract as soon as you accept it. Just make sure the stuff you care about gets added to the letter...

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  • Zaphod
    replied
    You usually sign an offer letter and details are ironed out in the contract. So this is super weird but if anything is written down, even just bullet points...that basically is the contract for better or worse.

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  • VagabondMD
    replied
    There are upsides to working under the terms of an offer sheet. I currently do. I could walk tomorrow if I wanted to. But for your first job out of training, I would do whatever possible to avoid a PE-owned situation and to have a traditional contract. What do the other docs who work there say about it?

    PS You can get hosed just as much with a contract as you can without one.

    Leave a comment:


  • TheTodd
    replied
    Color me confused. An employment contract is as much (or more) for the empoloyers benefit then yours. Non-competes. Non-solicitations. Grounds for termination. Grounds for repayment of signing bonus. Defining minimum notice. Defining your requirements to them (maintaining licensure, certification, etc etc.). All of these an employer wants in writing, even with at will employment. Whats to keep you from taking the job and then just not showing up on day 1? I am employed "mostly" at will in that I can be terminate without cause with 90 days notice. Many docs are in the same boat. So the only real protection you are losing is the guaranteed notice.

    Contracts offer you very little protection. See the many docs who had their pay cut during COVID. Sure their salary was specified in the contract. So lowering the salary is breaching it. But because they can terminate you at will or with X amount of notice, you either accept the change or leave. Similarly for your work situation. Say you were promised a 4 day work week and they are making you do 5. You can quit, or file suit for breach of contract. A suit for breach of contract will likely be expensive, take years, and reap little enough gain you would have been better off just quitting. It may offer some protection if they paid you a signing bonus or something to keep them from coming after it i suppose.

    What I suspect is they are saying they don't have your contract now, you can accept the job if you want and a contract will be signed at some point.

    Leave a comment:

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