Staff Overtime: The Real Cost to Your Practice « ePractice Manager | Focus on patients, not on running the office.

Staff Overtime: The Real Cost to Your Practice

By ePractice Manager
March 17, 2021

At ePractice Manager, we often get asked “Do I need to pay my staff overtime?”  It’s interesting that it comes up so frequently because in truth, most details have been addressed by state and federal HR laws, including the fact that certain salaried employees are exempt from overtime, and remaining hourly wage earners are allowed specified breaks that push into overtime past a certain hours-worked threshold.  Not a lot of gray area.

When this question comes up, we find that managers and practice owners are actually expressing frustration with things like the proper allocation of staff (how many are needed in which positions), staff scheduling, staff cost ratios, and difficulties addressing emergency situations.  And it makes sense.  Even a well-trained team experiences attendance issues, changes of circumstance, and patient emergencies.

So, unless you have these issues mapped out with the appropriate handlings, even slight complications can throw a wrench in an otherwise smoothly running practice.

It’s important to note that the least of the expenses related to overtime pay is the actual dollar amount spent on time-and-a-half payroll costs.  The real cost of overtime is an unpredictable work environment, diminished staff morale, an inadequate staff count, and the possibility that patients will need to wait or reschedule because you’ve exceeded practice capacity.

Doctors and managers who let this go on too long are often disheartened to find that their valiant efforts to “keep it all working” have actually resulted in staff turnover and patient attrition.

A practice that consistently pays overtime to staff is showing signs of disorganization and vulnerability that can have lasting effects. So what’s the solution? 

While it’s important to address the symptom of high overtime costs, it’s even more vital that practice owners identify and address the underlying causes, which can include:

 Your staff count.
 Employee qualifications.
 The proper combination of responsibilities for each position.
 Potential for improved efficiency using proven management systems.
 The possible impact of staff training and cross-training.
 Effective staff scheduling.
 Employee cost ratios.

There is nothing as cost-effective or rewarding as finding, training, and managing the right people in the right positions.  If you, as the owner or manager of the practice, take care of the essential points listed above, the combined efforts of a properly calibrated team will consistently deliver the highest level of patient care!


Here at ePractice Manager, we understand that running a practice is stressful, which is why we offer a full suite of onboarding, training, and management resources—to help you focus on what matters most, patient care. Sign up for a free consultation today!

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