Mailbag: How Can I Work Locums if my Employment Agreement Disallows it?
“My current employer doesn’t allow me to do locums work, otherwise I would be very interested in helping out. Is there any way around this?”
We received this question recently from a urologist who’s academic employment agreement bans outside locums and decided to write an article on the topic.
Before we dive into discussing the best way for urologists to talk to their current full-time employer about doing locum tenens work, it's important to emphasize one crucial point: Do not attempt to do locums work behind your employer's back. Attempting to conceal your locum work from your employer is not only unethical but can also have serious consequences.
The credentialing process for hospitals and payers is extensive, and your current employer will be contacted multiple times during this process. They may be asked to provide references, verify your case logs, provide insurance certificates, and more. Therefore, attempting to conceal your locum work from your employer is highly unlikely to succeed, and it could damage your reputation and credibility in the long run.
Therefore, the best course of action is to approach your current full-time employer in an open, honest, and respectful manner. With that said, let's explore the best ways for urologists to discuss the topic of locum tenens work with their employer.
Section 1: Discussing Locums during Contract Negotiations
If you are currently in the process of negotiating your contract with your employer, it's a good idea to bring up the topic of locum tenens work early on in the discussion. This will ensure that you and your employer are on the same page regarding your ability to take on locums in the future. Here are a few tips for discussing locums during contract negotiations:
- Be Clear and Concise: When discussing locums with your employer, it's important to be clear and concise about your intentions. Make sure that your employer understands that you wish to take on locums to gain more clinical experience and earn additional income. Also, be sure to explain that you will not let your locum work interfere with your full-time employment duties.
- Negotiate the Terms: If your employer agrees to allow you to take on locums, be sure to negotiate the terms of your contract accordingly. For example, you may wish to negotiate for a certain number of days off per year to allow for locum work or for permission to take on locums only during certain times of the year.
- Get It in Writing: Once you and your employer have come to an agreement regarding your ability to take on locums, be sure to get the terms in writing. This will ensure that there is no confusion or misunderstandings in the future.
Section 2: Discussing Locums if Your Existing Employment Agreement Doesn't Allow It
If your current employment agreement does not allow for outside work, including locum tenens work, you will need to approach the topic of locums with your employer in a different way. Here are a few tips for discussing locums if your employment agreement doesn't allow it:
- Be Honest: When approaching your employer about locum tenens work, it's important to be honest about your intentions. Explain that you are interested in taking on locums to gain more clinical experience and earn additional income, but that you understand that your current employment agreement does not allow for outside work.
- Explain your Intent: Many times, a current employer will fear that you are doing locums because you’re unhappy and looking to move on from your contract with them. Be transparent about your reasons for doing locums, whether it's to increase compensation, for tax purposes, to gain more surgical experience, or other reasons. This can help alleviate any concerns your employer may have and facilitate a productive conversation.
- Offer a Solution: If you are interested in taking on locums, but your employment agreement doesn't allow it, you may need to offer a solution to your employer. For example, you may suggest taking on locums only during certain times of the year or on weekends when you are not scheduled to work at your full-time job.
- Negotiate the Terms: If your employer is willing to consider allowing you to take on locums, be sure to negotiate the terms of your arrangement. For example, you may wish to negotiate for a certain number of days off per year to allow for locum work or for permission to take on locums only during certain times of the year.
In conclusion, discussing locum tenens work with your current full-time employer can be a sensitive topic. However, with clear communication, honesty, and negotiation, it is possible to come to an agreement that works for both you and your employer. Whether you are discussing locums during contract negotiations or approaching the topic when your employment agreement doesn't allow it, be sure to communicate your intentions clearly and work together to find a solution that meets both your needs.