Reality check for a receptionist

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Oct 01, 2006

Q: Our receptionist is excellent at her job, and the clients love her—when she's here. She's been with us for less than a year, but she's frequently absent and still asked for a raise. So we switched her wages from hourly to salary, but now she wants even more money and doesn't want to work Saturdays. Am I being taken advantage of?

"I've been down this path before," says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, president of The Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management Group that owns and operates hospitals in Michigan. "We all value a good team member, but there are many aspects to being a good employee. While this receptionist appears to have some good skills, this doesn't make up for her taking advantage of the salaried position."

Dr. Rothstein recommends offering her what you think is a fair hourly rate, this way you can feel good about what you're paying and yet be able to offer the flexible schedule she desires. "My guess is she'll have fewer absences under the hourly pay system," he says.


Dr. Jeff Rothstein
"Don't baby her," says Dr. Rothstein. "It's nice to be compassionate, but there are limits to the support you're compelled to offer beyond a fair wage and a healthy work environment. The bottom line: Take charge. Make her an offer that works for your practice. She can take it or leave it."