Tips for Working With a Dental Staffing Agency

Traditional dental temp agencies act like 3rd party matchmakers, pairing hygienists with offices with openings (like when someone calls in sick). They call the day off to tell you where you will work.

Many dentists and dental office managers prefer to avoid working with temp agencies because they need control over who they are sending in that day. However, some alternatives exist, such as app-based temp services.

Get to Know the Agency

The best way to work with a dental staffing agency like the is by building a relationship and having a good communication process. This will ensure that the temporary dental employee has all the information needed to do the job right and that the office manager/dentist can provide the help and direction necessary.

Dental practices can be short-staffed due to employees getting sick, going on vacation, or leaving temporarily or permanently for other reasons. A reputable staffing agency will take the time to screen their temp hires, ensuring that they have experience in the dental field and can work in your particular dental practice. This will save your dental business time and money by allowing you to fill the empty position more quickly and easily.

In addition to providing a quick and easy way to get a temporary dental hygienist or assistant, an agency can also offer benefits that regular employees don’t have. This may include 401k contributions, insurance coverage, and paid holidays.

Unfortunately, not all dental staffing agencies are created equal. Some are what we call “basement agencies.” These companies do not directly employ the people they send to you, and they have no customer service or support. Because they are desperate for staff, basement agencies often have to pay their temps hostage wages. These wages can be $5/hr higher than the market rate and are an additional cost to your dental office.

Know Your Rights

There are many horror stories of temp agencies treating workers poorly. As a temporary worker, it’s essential to be well-informed of your rights in the workplace and understand how the employment relationship between you and the agency works on both federal and state levels.

Dental offices that depend on staffing agencies for help can sometimes find themselves with short-term vacancies in their staff. Whether it’s because an existing staff member is out sick or on vacation, maternity leave, or an emergency arises, staffing agencies can be a lifesaver for busy practices that want to keep patients served and their business running smoothly.

In the case of a temporary position, your work will be at the discretion of the agency that assigns you to the job. You should have a contract with the agency outlining your terms and conditions. This contract should include your salary, hours of work, and duties. Getting familiar with state and federal laws covering workplace safety, discrimination, minimum wage, paid sick leave and overtime, notice requirements, documentation, and more.

Some referral staffing agencies may treat their employees as contractors rather than as employees, which can shift tax liability and limit a temporary employee’s ability to apply for unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation should something go wrong. A reputable agency will pay its temps as employees, issue W-2s, and comply with all applicable employment laws.

Be Flexible

If you are new to dental, a staffing agency is an excellent way to find temporary work. However, knowing that these agencies can be highly unpredictable is essential. They may give you an assignment at a dental office that you dislike or put you in a place with a dentist that makes you uncomfortable. Temp assignments are often passed on short notice and can last from days to several weeks. This can be a real challenge if you have a family, classes, or another job to juggle.

Pros of hiring a temporary employee via a staffing agency include saving time on advertising, interviewing, and training candidates. It also means that the practice can immediately fill a gap in staffing due to sickness, vacation, or maternity leave. This can save a course up to $879 per day in lost revenue.

A temp agency works as a 3rd party matchmaker, pairing dental hygienists with dental offices that need them to fill employment gaps. They may physically have a physical location or use an app to offer temporary jobs. Sometimes, the quick hygienists are paid through the temp agency and issued a W-2, but they need direct employment with the dental office. This arrangement is legal and complies with applicable laws.

Be Honest

As a temporary worker, you must provide accurate and detailed time sheets. Typically, a dental staffing agency will have a free timesheet on its website that you can print and leave for your assigned office. This will help clarify when you started and finished work and keep your paychecks accurate.

Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances can leave dental offices short-handed. Whether it’s an employee calling in sick, going on vacation, or leaving for good, many offices use a temp agency to fill the gaps. Having a hygienist or assistant who can fill in for days, weeks, or even months allows the office to continue to see patients and generate revenue.

Unfortunately, dental temp agencies aren’t always as reputable as the dental practices they serve. As a result, many temp workers tell horror stories about working with these agencies. This can be due to bad management, rude dentists, or other reasons.

In addition, dental temp agency workers are often underpaid compared to the dental practice they work for. This can lead to resentment among dental temp workers and can create downstream problems for the offices they’re working in. To combat this, the temp agency and the dental practice must be upfront about wages and fees.

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