resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
April, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 04
Are You Under Contract?
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
Unfortunately, it's still not the norm for massage business owners to have employment contracts with their massage therapists. Although things are changing and employers are more informed than ever, the average business owner still does not protect themselves or their staff with a written contract.We previously have been a more lax profession and our personalities, by nature, are trusting and friendly. However, as our industry has become more professional and our business training savvier, we are starting to understand how important a working contract is. A handshake won't do the trick anymore. Every massage therapist should have a contract, either as an independent contractor or employee.
I wish I could tell you this is preventive in nature, and for the most part it is. But, as a business teacher and coach, I hear too many stories that prove how important this concept is. I was inspired to write this article because a former student called with his "nightmare story." It seems an entire staff of massage therapists was fired because they wrote a letter of complaint about a recent promotional venue at the spa at which they were employed. The spa offered a 50 percent discount during a two-week period, and the cut came strictly from the therapists' pay. When the therapists wrote a letter and complained, a meeting was called. That same day, the therapists (I think there were 10) were questioned, fired and told to vacate the premises immediately. My former student called me to discuss if this was legal. I asked, of course, if there was a contract.
The good news is that he said there was a contract, sort of. It came in the form of a 38-page handbook for employees. However, nothing was negotiated and there was no room for discussion. It was a "take it or leave it" handbook and had to be signed by the employee. There also was a clause in it stating the employer had the right to change things as they saw fit. The bad news is it wasn't really a contract and did not have the "right" information in it to support both the employer and the therapist. A truly fair contract will support and protect both parties.
I can't stress how important a contract is, as a starting place for negotiation and as a concrete design of what the working relationship and model will be for the duration of employment.
Here is where it went wrong. First, there was, in fact, information about promotions. However, it only stated that the establishment had the right to run them. There was no description about how they would impact the therapist or their pay. Often, promotions are run and the house takes the hit, or a combination of the house and therapist will be affected. If the massage therapist were to assume the entire financial burden, wouldn't you want to know that going into the job? That is not to say you wouldn't work for someplace that assigned the financial burden to you. Rather, the information would be helpful so you could budget and/or plan your finances. Perhaps you rely on other sources of income and two weeks of a pay cut are fine, if it brings in more volume and is good for business. The converse side is, if you rely completely on this one paycheck for your personal finances, this could be a problem. Maybe you could not afford such a change in salary. Either way, knowledge is power and it would be helpful to know for future financial planning.
Second, there should have been a paragraph detailing termination agreements. If the business owner wants to fire you and end your job immediately, that is their right, but it should be in writing. Similarly, what if you are not happy? Are you allowed to walk, or are you obligated to give some notice? I am not an advocate for walking off the job. I always think the right thing to do is give at least two weeks notice. Whatever you and your employer decide, it should be detailed in the contract. Wouldn't it be helpful to know these things before you start working someplace?
Lastly, how are disputes handled at places of employment? A good contract will detail this in the unfortunate event that it happens. How stressful is it to think you cannot have a voice at your place of employment for fear of losing your job? If something like this were made clear in the contract/handbook, perhaps there would have been a forum to vent their grievances instead of everyone being fired.
There are many other topics I would suggest for an employment contract. And when it comes to contracts, the more information there is the better. Take any uncertainty out of the employment situation and detail the working relationship and model as much as possible. I have detailed three topics for you, given the unfortunate example from my student. In addition, I have named the other two on my Top 5 and provided this list for your reference.
Topics for written working contracts:
This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a start. I strongly suggest you get your hands on The Business of Massage by the American Massage Therapy Association and use it as a resource. It's an excellent book you will use for years to come. As ambassadors for the field, we must encourage employers to have working contracts. If they don't, suggest it. Be proactive. Draw one up yourself. If they don't like it or won't sign it, ask yourself, "Do I really want to work here?"
Above all, protect yourself and stay focused.
Click here for previous articles by Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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