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Dental Hygiene Contracts – 5 Key Employer Obligations

What is the employer actually bound by law to provide?

Dental hygienist contracts should make the employer obligations clear. It will be noticeable how little the employer is responsible for, compared to the dental hygiene employee in Part 2 of this series.

This section of an employee contract deals mainly with your employer’s financial obligations. Written assurance in this regard puts your mind at ease, as money does not have to be discussed again (unless the matter is being revisited for a raise, of course).

That’s why this section must also clearly describe your salary situation.

Contractual Obligations Of The Dental Hygiene Employer

While this list is not final, it does give you points against which to compare your contract. This list is loosely based on the Swiss (SSO) dental hygiene employer contract. So keep in mind that some of the dental hygiene employer requirements may not apply in your country or region.

Our guide to starting out as a dental hygienist abroad.

Contracted Salary

The salary description part of the contract should cover the way that you receive your salary. That is, do you get monthly or hourly pay? Or perhaps a commission? Any commission rate should also be clearly noted, including whether it is based on collections or production.

Also, it must state when you will be paid (in case you have to wait for months until collections are accounted for). Any relevant bonuses are also mentioned in this part of the contract.

One such bonus is the so-called “thirteenth month salary”. In the month of December, you get a “double” salary payment, equal to 1/12 of your salary. This setup is common in Switzerland, but I have not seen it done in Germany. You can read more about this here.

Extra Monies Paid

Other things that your dental hygiene contract may include are:

  1. Child and family benefits – some countries will pay you a fixed amount per dependent child.
  2. Social security payments – the government determines these.
  3. Wages paid in the event of illness, accident, or any other excusable reason – many European countries have policies to insure your salary against loss due to incidents out of your control. You can also take out a private insurance policy to protect you and your assets even more. You are likely to need a doctor’s note after three sick days.
  4. Professional liability insurance – you may or may not be covered under your employer’s policy. You should confirm whether or not you need to take out your own policy.
  5. Paid time off for further education – this may or may not be included in your contract, but it can definitely be a part of your negotiations.
  6. Work attire – whether or not your employer pays for your work uniform would also feature here. Most places in Switzerland and Germany provide your top while you must provide your bottoms (white pants and white shoes).

Vacation and Rest Days

Most European countries must give a minimum of four weeks of paid vacation, excluding public holidays. Some offices may keep your vacation days to times when the office is closed, or may require that you take your time off in blocks, e.g., two-week blocks.

If you use too much holiday, it has to be offset by reduced wages, or paid for by working extra days.

Employment Duration and Termination

The date on which the relationship between the dental hygiene employee and the employer commences may feature here. Otherwise, it will be stated at the start of the contract. The probation period is usually three months, though some may ask for six.

The notice period in Switzerland is normally three months, while in Germany it is usually one month.

The manner in which you must give notice will also feature here. For instance, the contract may state that notice can only be given in writing, or only on the 15th or 30th of the month.

Learn more about the culture of a dental hygiene office abroad.

Extras From The Dental Hygiene Employer

This section of the dental hygiene employment contract contains any extra information. This could include further vacation days or any other part-time jobs your employer lets you hold while under contract.

Other examples include language courses paid for by the company, or rent for apartments leased on your behalf.

Part 1 of this series covers the importance of dental hygiene employment contracts. Part 2 discusses your responsibilities as an employee.

The advice in this blog is based strictly on personal experience. I am neither a lawyer nor an immigration expert. Please consult a lawyer, legal professional and/or an immigration official if in doubt. Do so before, during and after your negotiations with your potential employer. Additionally, be sure to do due diligence regarding employment laws, customs, and immigration policies in the country in which you plan to work. The advice given here is no guarantee of success, even if you follow the advice explicitly. There are always many variables at play, and each circumstance is unique.

More about my own story as a dental hygienist working overseas.

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