Dentist going over dental contract with attorney

Negotiating Dental Associate Contracts

An important part of establishing or growing your dental practice is hiring trusted dental associates that support your vision and provide quality service to patients. To help protect your rights and your business, a solid dental associate contract will be important. A comprehensive dental associate contract can also be an essential part of setting expectations for you as the employer and the dental associate as the employee.

As with almost all contracts, dental associate contracts are often subject to negotiation. You should prepare yourself for this scenario. Here, we will discuss different aspects of negotiating dental associate contracts and considerations you should keep in mind to make the process as productive as possible.

Negotiating Dental Associate Contracts

As a legally binding agreement between a dental associate and a dental practice, it is important to take care in developing and negotiating dental associate contracts. This agreement details the terms of employment for the dental associate, which is a non-owner dentist employed by a dental practice. Oftentimes, a dental associate is a younger dentist who is not ready yet to make the leap to establish their own practice. Joining an already established practice can be a great way to gain experience and grow within an existing business.

Although some dental associates operate as independent contractors, which means they will need to pay for their own insurance and other benefits, many dental associates become full-time employees of the dental practice. In establishing a contract for a full-time dental associate looking to join your practice, be prepared for negotiations to ensue. After all, you most likely have a standard contract that you will start off with and the associate will likely see this as a jumping-off point for negotiations.

As you approach dental associated contract negotiations, you need to be prepared for the associate to challenge the contract terms. It will be important to know what your non-negotiables are. At what point will you be willing to walk away from the opportunity to retain this dental associate? Furthermore, it may be a good idea to come to the negotiating table prepared with evidence to support key contract terms, such as standard industry rates of pay and benefits for your geographic location.

Some of the primary terms of a dental associate contract that will likely play a prominent role in negotiations may include:

  • Rate of compensation
  • Job duties
  • Scheduling
  • Benefits (including health insurance and retirement)
  • Liability insurance responsibility
  • Non-compete clause and other restrictive covenants

The term of employment may also come up in negotiations as well as termination. This section of the contract will address how long the contract is set to be in place and under what circumstances can it be ended by either party. The dental associate candidate will likely be concerned over what grounds for termination are detailed in the contract. It should also be something you as a business owner pay close attention to.

Dental Law Attorneys

For assistance in developing and negotiating dental associate contracts and other key agreements in your dental practice, talk to the team at Mahan Dental Law. Contact us today.