As the owner of a veterinary practice, you understand the importance of your employees. Equally important, however, is to have well-drafted contracts in place outlining the nature of the relationship you have with your employees. In addition to outlining your respective roles and responsibilities, veterinary associate contracts serve to protect the employee’s interests and the interests of your practice. In this article, we provide an overview of veterinary associate contracts.
Reasons for Veterinary Associate Contracts
Veterinary associate contracts are beneficial for a number of reasons, including:
- Veterinary associate contracts serve to protect both parties.
- Veterinary associate contracts help avoid misunderstandings over benefits, compensation, and employee duties.
- Having veterinary associate contracts in place can make it easier to sell your practice should you ever decide to do so.
- Although verbal employment agreements are binding, they are difficult to prove and can lead to disputes down the road.
What Do Veterinary Associate Contracts Cover?
Veterinary associate contracts cover all aspects of the employer/employee relationship, including onboarding and termination. And although verbal agreements are legally binding, it’s practically impossible to outline all details of an employer/employee relationship verbally. Therefore, it is to each party’s benefit to enter a veterinary associate contract that clearly outlines the terms of the relationship between the employee and the practice.
Common Veterinary Associate Contract Clauses
Although every contract is different, common clauses included in veterinary associate agreements include:
Term: The term is the period for which the contract is in effect. Contracts generally may either be written for a set time period, or they may be perpetual.
Duties: The duties clause of a veterinary associate contract outlines the specific duties and requirements of the position.
Compensation and schedule: Veterinary associate contracts also often outline the compensation to be provided to the employee and the employee’s work schedule.
Benefits: If the position involves benefits in addition to pay, such as insurance, professional licensure, tuition for continuing education, or association fees, then these should be outlined in the contract.
Termination: Another common and important clause that is usually included in veterinary associate contracts is a termination clause. This clause outlines reasons for termination and sometimes establishes a timeframe for providing notice should either party decide to sever the business relationship.
Buy-in option provision: Finally, when an associate has been with a veterinary practice for several years, he or she may develop an interest in becoming a partner in the practice or eventually assuming ownership of the practice. When this is the case, the parties can amend the associate contract to add a buy-in option.
Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Lawyers
At Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary professionals help the owners of veterinary practices address the challenges posed by the veterinary industry. Regardless of your practice’s needs, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to provide you with the tools you need to make your practice successful. Please contact us today to arrange an initial consultation with a talented veterinary attorney.