Per Diem Salary issue

  1. I work every other weekend in a 120 bed nursing home in NJ. I really love my residents, their families and my co-workers. The director of the facility is another story. :stone

    Last week, when I picked up my pay check, I was handed a contract along with every other per diem nurse. Most of the issues the contract raised I had no problem with. It stated that as a per diem nurse I would agree to work one weekend a month, one major holiday, one minor holiday etc.

    The issue that raised my eyebrows was one that concerned call outs. By signing that contract, I would agree to a pay cut of $5.00 per hour for the entire pay period if I called out for any reason. I was taken aback a bit. I thought about it for a few moments and considered that I never really ever call out. I thought about how much it really hurts patient care when we do work short. Then I thought that my hourly salary minus $5.00 per hour wasn't a bad wage at all and then I signed it.

    I'm having second thoughts now. What is to stop my director from punishing his staff like this for other reasons? Other reasons such as a higher decubitus rate.

    I have some concerns about this. Is this contract legal? Should I approach an employment board with this?

    Any input is much appreciated.
  2. Visit TeresaNJ profile page

    About TeresaNJ

    Joined: Apr '02; Posts: 3


  3. by   susanmary
    It is probably legal. But ... it is one of the most punitive things I have ever heard of. Nurses at your facility clearly aren't valued or treated like professionals -- I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU SIGNED THAT CONTRACT. So, if you are truly sick one day, you have to take a pay cut of $5 per hour for each day you work??? Get out of that place now. I thought I heard everything ...

    Your facility should be grateful to have dedicated per diem staff -- and not punish them for being ill, having an emergency, etc.
  4. by   ChainedChaosRN
    Dang that is harsh. What would of happened if you refused to sign? What benefit is there to signing it? I could see if you got the 5 an hour if someone called off and you worked. What's the chances?
  5. by   Catsrule16
    What do you do when the MAJOR HOLIDAY you are to work falls during the week? Did you get a copy of the contract? What if the facility doesn't live up to their part? Is there a way to get out of the contract? Is there a union in your area? What did the union rep have to say about the contract? Why should you have to take a paycut? As per diem, do you have any benefits? Do you have sick days? Sounds like they are going to make you pay for replacements. You are already working on average 2 weekends a month. If I were in your shoes, I would have someone who specializes in employment law review the contract.
  6. by   renerian
    I guess you need to decide if you want to do it or not. I think it is sad but I have heard this more and more.

    Keep us posted.

  7. by   Talino
    A facility can make up their own policy regarding an offer of employment and retention. However, it should be fully disclosed to an applicant.

    In your case, there is obviously a full disclosure of the contract. By entering your signature, you accepted the terms written therein. Unless, your paycheck wouldn't have been handed to you if you didn't sign it which is duress .

    I agree with the above posters regarding the $5.00 cut. I admire your dedication, but sometimes absence from work can be inevitable.

    If the contract does not apply to a duration of service, maybe you should consider exploring other facilities. I'm sure with your pleasant work outlook it won't be difficult.
  8. by   OC_An Khe
    PRN means as needed and in the employment setting that street runs both ways. The employer needs you and you need the income. But you don't need this type of an employer. Move on there are plenty of other employers with a need.
    Let them know why you are leaving also.
  9. by   TeresaNJ
    Thanks for all your replies. You all have said exactly the things that I've been thinking along with my co-workers. I know I should look for another job, it's just so hard to leave the residents that I have come to really care about.

    Susanmary, you hit the nail on the head. The director of the facility has very little respect for his nursing staff with respect to treating us like the professionals that we are. He'll stick up for us when a doctor has a complaint, but he views us as support staff.
    If there was a table of organization, we would be on the same bar as the dietary and house cleaning staffs.

    I'm not sure what would have happened if a nurse refused to sign it. I do know a few more savvy nurses who did a "line item" veto. They crossed out that portion of the contract and signed it. The benefit I saw in favor of signing it was that maybe perhaps it might work as a deterrant. And besides, my pay would be deducted to $25.00 an hour, which isn't a bad rate. I regret signing it now because after more thought, I don't think it's fair. I would like to see the director and staff coordinator over schedule or utilize agency staff -- which they never do.

    As far as the major holiday, I don't have a problem with that when it falls during the week. Most places require that of per diem staff and I'm glad it's only a two days a year.

    As a pre diem nurse in this facility, the only benefits I get are holiday pay and the priviledge of making my own schedule. We don't have a union, but I think the climate is right for one to move in.

    >>A facility can make up their own policy regarding an offer of employment and retention. However, it should be fully disclosed to an applicant. <<

    That's just it. None of the per diem staff are applicant anymore. We're all staff members now. Which is why I questioning the legalities of it. As hard as I think it's going to be to leave, it's getting harder and harder to work like this.

    Thank you all so much for replying and especially for your good advice, questions, and support. I appecriate it.