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Unread 06-16-2008, 01:55 AM
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Default Full-time hours, "prn" pay....

I work in healthcare, and in the past, I have run into situations before where we’ve allowed employees to work FT hours (especially RN’s) but they were paid at a “prn” rate which is much higher than what they would normally make. We have allowed it to happen quite regularly when we just can’t find a FT employee, and we’re actively looking for FT staff. The following situation I have is a little bit different, so just wanted your input.

We have a very highly compensated pharmacist who wants to go from FT worked approx 32 hours per week) to prn ($15.00 an hour more than her current rate, retain the same hours and schedule).

I’m uncomfortable with this…I’m thinking this type of arrangement is unfair…just because this particular employee doesn’t need our benefits, she’s going to retain the exact schedule but be paid at a much higher rate. We do reimburse FT employees a VERY small amount (like , $20 per pay period) if they do not take our benefits. I just haven’t been able to point to any wage & hour laws yet that would keep us from doing this, but I'm maybe not looking far enough. Administration is okay with it (even though it’s gonna cost us a fortune!) but there’s something about it that is hitting me wrong. Any advice?

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Unread 06-16-2008, 02:08 AM
Susan in La
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Default RE: Full-time hours, "prn" pay....

I would tell her that as a PRN she is not guaranteed any hours and that if you find a FT person to replace her she will not have any hours. She is trying to work the system, and I would discourage it.
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Unread 06-16-2008, 02:13 AM
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Default RE: Full-time hours, "prn" pay....

I don't think you're going to find an answer in federal wage/hour law. Maybe there is something in your state. I think your best bet will be to review your company's policies.

I agree it seems unfair to allow someone in a FT status to 'request' and receive a status change to PT, keep the same shift/hours, and make more money doing it. However, if your company's policies don't have a restriction to keep you from honoring the request, you may not have a choice.

We also happen to have a significant number of healthcare workers, and the prn staffing arrangements are challenging and an issue we confront often. My advice to supervisors to to forget about the worker making the request for a few minutes and think about the position. What is the position? FT or PT? If it is FT, we should keep it structured that way. If it is PT, then there are no benefits for the position if you have no benefits for PT staff, and prn by any other name is part time.

I think that a fair way to look at your pharmacist position is through the eyes of your company's business need. If you need a FT pharmacist, suggest to your current pharmacist that the position is FT, and if he/she desires to go PT, the request should be made in writing, and the pharmacist should be prepared to hear from you that it is not an option. Your company's decisions on when to allow prn staff to fill positions should be based on your business need and the availability of replacement staff, a slightly different angle than using a fairly new industry custom as the means for defining your business need.

With all that said, it sounds as if you have an steep uphill battle since your company's management staff are already supportive of allowing the pharmacist to make the requested change. I'm not sure you'll prevail, unless you find something in your company's staffin/manpower policies/budgets to restrict the activity.

You can point toward an Equal Pay issue if you want, but I'm not sure you will find what you are after if you have only one pharmacist. I guess a fundamental philosophical question would be to consider how badly your organization needs a pharmacist, how much revenue does the position bring in for your organization, and how difficult would recruiting another one be.

best wishes.
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Unread 06-16-2008, 03:43 AM
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Default RE: Full-time hours, "prn" pay....

This person does not meet the parameters of what a "PRN" individual is.

In our practice, PRN is truly "as needed". As long as they have set hours, schedule, etc., they are either classified as a full time or a part time employee.

Our PRNs are used to fill in for vacations, short staffed times, etc.

In my estimation, it would not be appropriate to pay this person $15.00 more per hour when essentially nothing is changing but their per hour rate? I can forsee morale problems, etc. if this is allowed.

If she truly wants to go PRN, state to her that you can accomodate this,but as soon as a replacement is found for her position, then she would no longer be needed to work PRN.
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Unread 06-17-2008, 02:20 AM
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Default RE: Full-time hours, "prn" pay....

Thank you all, for your input. I'm going to discuss again with our administration, and discuss some of the potential issues that you have pointed out. I know I can always count on all of you to point me in the right direction!!
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