Spreading around the management duties

Spreading around the management duties

Feb 01, 2008

Q. We employ a bookkeeper, a head technician, and an inventory manager who all share some of the management duties at my practice. I perform about four days' worth of management tasks a month. My partner and I are looking at a tiered approach to compensation—management will be compensated at 3 percent to 4 percent of gross. What goes into this figure?

Sheila Grosdidier
Deciding what's categorized under management can certainly be complicated at times, says Sheila Grosdidier, RVT, a partner with consulting firm VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. She says to keep in mind that your bookkeeper is an hourly administrative position and not a salaried exempt management position. But often an office manager's job duties qualify him or her to be a salaried exempt position, as do those of a practice manager or hospital administrator.

In reviewing your supervisor and head technician job descriptions, identify the portion of their time that they actually spend on supervisory duties, such as hiring, coaching, evaluating, making unique business decisions, overseeing training, and so on. Grosdidier says this portion of their wages should be considered part of management.

Here's an example: Sharon, your head technician, oversees five other technical team members. For two shifts a week, she's the surgery technician, and for two other shifts, she isn't scheduled to fill a position but fulfill her supervisory responsibilities. So half of her wage would be considered management. Between partners, there's usually a mutual agreement about who does what tasks and the compensation that's due.

Are you paying (or intending to pay) these employees as salaried exempt employees or hourly employees? "To stay out of trouble," Grosdidier says, "it's a good idea to make sure that anyone you assign to a salaried exempt management position actually qualifies according to what the Department of Labor considers executive, administrative, or professional exemptions." These criteria include a pay rate of not less then $455 per week, the employee's primary duties, and other factors based on the position as explained in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Remember, Grosdidier says, it's not the job title but the job duties and the amount of time spent on these duties that qualify a person under these categories. So before you make someone's position part of salaried exempt management, make sure they'll qualify and avoid potential penalties later. Click below for a link to the Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act fact sheet regarding exempt positions.