Signing a contract for a length of employment commitment? - page 2

hi friends! I just finished school, passed my boards, and got my first job offer. Yay! The only thing is they want me to sign a "contract" that says I promise to work for the facility for 2 years. All it says is pretty much... Read More

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    Did you recieve a sign on bonus or did the facility pay for your education. I don't understand why they feel they have the right to ask you to remain employed at their facility two years.

    Does this contract also state that you can not be layed off. Does it guarantee you a job for two years. If they break the terms of the contract are they obligated to pay you
    JB2007 and caliotter3 like this.

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    I'm going to be brutally honest I would literally sit in that chair and go over the rest of the paperwork they're having you sign and read it until you understand what it's saying. Saying, "You agree to work for two years" is *not* an iron clad agreement. Honestly, if this were taken up in court, it most likely would be thrown out on basis that it is not a finite clause. There's nothing that says what would happen if this agreement were not fulfilled.

    I do have two things to add to the situation, however. The first is that in all honesty, two years is NOT a ton of time. That's child's play in terms of commitment. If you're having trouble elsewhere finding a job TAKE it. I don't know about your market, but mine isn't the greatest. Take the job and run with it!

    That said, you ALWAYS have the ability to negotiate this requirement. When I signed up recently to transfer to one of our ICU's I was asked, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" I answered honestly, "Living in (city) and working in SICU, hopefully!" It's not a lie, but if something stupendous comes up later down the road in a year or three, I'll not think twice about jumping ship. This being said, you cannot plan for things that far in advance. That's like looking into your crystal ball and telling the future. I suggest putting it to them in this way, "I love LTC / Rehab, and this is where I want to stay for the long haul. I really love (insert place) and I really want to work for this company. The only thing holding me back from sitting down here and signing anything you put in front of me is that I am concerned about the "contract" that you're having me sign. I'm more than likely going to be here for 5+ years, but as far as putting that in writing, I'm going to have to decline signing that paper." Please note that this can mean that they'll rip the position out from under your feet. That said, though, there's also the possibility they will say, "We understand, we want you anyways," and rip the paper up right in front of you.

    To say "they don't need you, but they're hiring you b/c they see potential" is a load of crock, btw. LTC is looked down upon by many nurses when they get out of school b/c of the stigma. New nurses will avoid LTC's at all costs.

    This company is just trying to butter you up by making it sound like they are giving you a break out of the kindness of their hearts ... They're definitely not. LTC and hospitals alike don't hire people unless they need them, plain and simple. LTC is exceptionally important in the grand scheme of things, and you guys have a ton of hard work that you do.
    Last edit by shiccy on Jul 29, '10 : Reason: Clarification
    JB2007 likes this.
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    If you break this contract after signing it, you would be in "breach of contract" Not good. I would be wondering why this facility is asking for a signed commitment in the first place? Have they experienced a high turn-over rate with nurses? If so, Why? Personally, as a new grad, I wouldn't be signing a 2 year commitment letter. Lots of things can change in two years, I'd want to keep my options open. Maybe you could ask to shadow a nurse currently working there, for a day or two, that should give you a good vibe on how the overall work environment is.
    JB2007 likes this.
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    Thanks everyone so much for all of the thoughts! I definitely will have an attorney look at it. though I really wasn't kidding when I said the "contract" only says "I agree to work here for 2 years." There is literally only one sentence to it. no fine print to read.. thats what makes me wonder how legit it can be.
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    Quote from cherubhipster
    thank you! I'll give some more info too.. the facility is a ltc/sub acute place. Also, the job is union, I don't know if that matters. It literally just says "I agree to work for 2 years". I am apprehensive about asking what happens if I break it because the HR told me they are only hiring me because they like me and see potential, and they dont really -need- extra nurses right now. They only want me to take the job if I am "really sure" I can commit. Said they had too many new grads work there for a years experience and go to a hospital for the money, that's why they made the contract. I am afraid if I ask what happens they will take that as I am indeed NOT committed to the full 2 years, and will withdraw their offer.
    The economy is awful, thus why I am considering taking the job despite a few things going against it... and new grads have a really hard time. I know people who have been otu of school for months and months with nothing...

    If its a LTC facility, I don't see how they have the reason to ask for a 2 yr commitment. I'm signed to a 2 year contract at my hospital because I was hired into a New grad residency program for the critical care division, which has lots of extra classroom education. I can see them asking you for a good faith type of commitment since they lose new hires so quickly, but if they have any penalties for breaking the contract, I'd say to keep looking.
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    While I agree that I would be v. reluctant to sign a contract committing me to a particular facility for a specific minimum amount of time, I can also sympathize with employers who feel that they are tired of getting screwed over by people who take a job and then leave after a short period of time. And, reportedly, new grads have been doing more of this in recent years than ever before. I can recall when the standard length of time with a single employer to avoid the "jobhopper" label was at least two years -- now, people think a single year is plenty and a surprising (to me, at least ) number of people post here about going through three or four jobs in their first year or so of nursing. (My current employer has hired four new grads within the last year, and three of them are already gone ...) Employers are tired of paying the extra expense of orienting new grads just to have them leave, and more and more healthcare facilities are either asking new grads to sign contracts or simply declining to hire new grads. Which do you prefer?? (Being asked to sign a contract, or just not being considered for employment, period, because you're a new grad?) This was starting to happen even before the economy tanked, although the bad economy has made the situation worse. These days, it's definitely a "buyer's market" in nursing employment and employers can pretty much set whatever conditions and requirements they like (as long as they're not violating federal or state employment law) -- and I doubt things are going to get better any time soon.


    Thank you for this. I know this is a little off topic, but as an Employee Health nurse that deals with all the new hires campus wide, it amazes me how so many of the "younger" set work for a few weeks and then leave. (this is in all departments, not just nursing)
    Like elkpark stated above, it is EXPENSIVE to orient new employees. Disregard the actual training you will receive in your department....instead, think about the cost of a drug screen, back screen, immunizations, name badges, X-rays, etc. that's needed before you even sit down in your general orientation class. We also give out backpacks, free meals, snacks, etc to all new employees. So, as you can see, it can get quite costly just to get you in the building. So I can completely understand employers going to contracts.
    Back to the topic at hand, sit down with HR and ask them any questions you have. If they can't answer them, then chances are it's not something they're going to follow up on. It seems to me to be a weak attempt to get people to stay.
    JB2007 and cherubhipster like this.
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    Personally, I would look on it as a guarantee of work for two years and go ahead and go for it. You realize that you are in the rare position of even having a job offer at this point. I would take the job and worry about any ramifications afterward. And look for the best in the job. Amazing how content you will feel when that check goes to the bank each pay period and you think about your friends who are still trying to find a job. Good luck.

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