Congratulations, now that you have started your contract, let us make sure that you are able to make the most out of the experience by learning the details of your pay. Surely you have a rough idea on what your pay is going to be but it will be important to actually know what to expect after you put in your hours. In this discussion, we will be talking about your pay. Everything that constitutes your salary from the regular hours you put in, your overtime, your double rate (if applicable), your holiday rate and even your stipends.
Let us start with Timesheets
Always request a copy from the agency of a blank timesheet that you can fill out manually. This way you can keep track and have a reference of your weekly time. Now the facility or agency might require you to actually keep a copy of the timesheet so it would be best to learn how to accomplish it properly. Here are some things you might look into:
- Write your name clearly and make sure that all the other details are clearly indicated in the form. I know this is pretty self explanatory, but you would still be surprised how some people still miss this. Here are other things you need when filling out your timesheet.
- Work week dates
- Time in and out
- Break times
- To ensure the validity of your timesheet, it will be really helpful if you are able to have your form countersigned by your superior. Make sure that they indicate their name, position and have them sign it afterwards.
- Any comments indicated should be clear and concise.
- Make sure that you are using the correct form.
There may be a chance wherein you will be asked to complete two forms (one for the facility and another one for the agency) I understand that this may sound like a lot of work, but you have to remember that this is how the agency determines how much you are going to get paid for that week.
Now you need to really pay attention during your orientation to figure this one out. Most of the bigger or more established chains of medical facilities would have something like Kronos for their timekeeping system in place. Now this is well and good because this should save you the trouble of having to keep track of it yourself.
However, I am always a fan of being safe rather than sorry. Sure, it does save time that you no longer have to submit a timesheet for the facility, but I would still advise you to actually keep your own copy of your log ins. Like all other systems, it is not perfect and there might actually be a time when a system glitches on you. I am sure you would not want to lose hours because of a glitch that has nothing to do with you. Here are some details you need to watch out for when you are advised to utilize a timekeeping system:
- How do you log in?
- Are you supposed to get your own login info? Maybe you will be given a card that you can swipe? Different facilities may require different ways of logging on. All in the hopes of keeping accurate records of log in and outs in the facility.
- Pay extra attention to your login information. Experience has shown me that a zero in front of your login information can spell a whole lot of potential lost hours. If you need to print it out and laminate it and hang it around your neck with your identification then go ahead and do just that.
- Make sure to ask your superior if it’s possible to get a report of your logins for the week or for the day. If you can get a periodic report whether your times are picked up by the system or not, it will definitely be better before you eventually are able to find out because you lost hours in your pay.
- There are systems where you will be able to check your logins in real time. This way you can immediately be rest assured you are covered.
- In any case when you do not have a portal that you can access to check your login information, then you would have to take it upon yourself on how you can keep track of your logins in the event of a system failure or perhaps a pay discrepancy. Either way, your own documentation should save your argument. You can do this by taking a photo of the Kronos system upon logging in or out.
This is another sore spot of a discussion when it comes to pay. The thing that you need to understand is that there is no general formula that you can use to pre-determine how much you are able to receive in a week’s pay given the rate on your contract. Do note that this would differ per city.
As a traveler this is definitely going to be something you need to pay attention to. Feel free to reach out to your recruiter to clarify the taxable income for you on your assignment. As an RN on the average you can expect at least $22 an hour wage depending on your contract and depending on the state. As a traveler (assuming you are not from the state) you will be allowed access to non taxable income.
Depending on your assignment, your tax exempt or stipends can be determined initially on your salary as well as cost of living in the area (provided that you are not from the state). This will be broken down into two categories: meals and lodging. As mentioned above, there is no specific formula that would allow us to pre-determine your pay to the last cent if you consider doing a contract for a given state. Agencies would have their own approach on how to do the computations for your stipends and it involves consulting the general service administration (GSA.gov)to determine the ideal tax exemption or stipends. The cost of living plus the salary will determine your final value for stipends. One thing to take note is that you will be entitled to your full stipends if you are able to serve the full weekly hours set in the contract. Failure to do so will result in a partial payment of the stipends.
One thing to remember (depending on your contract of course) is if you are given guaranteed hours. If you happen to have shifts canceled by the facility, you will be entitled to the guaranteed hours.
It is important to know what you are entitled to when it comes to your pay. If you need to, do not hesitate to ask questions about the contract you are signing. It is imperative that you understand every little thing you can expect to get from your contract.