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Do you get paid if you do not have a patient?

I have been a hygienist for thirty years. I have always been paid every hour regardless if the patient showed or not. From 2008 to 2010 I was unemployed and in 2010 I got a job but this Doctor only pays me if a patient shows. If they cancel, no show or there wasn’t one scheduled I will not get paid. I know it’s still very hard for hygienist to find jobs so I’m fortunate just to have a job. I’m wondering since 2008 if more and more dentist are paying their hygienist this way? I’m in the Boston area. If you got hired after 2008 I would be interested to know if you get paid when you don’t have a patient.



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36 Answers

For those who clock out but continue to work: According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), if you are doing work on behalf of your employer you must be getting paid at least minimum wage for your state.
 
The courts have held that work time under the FLSA includes all time spent performing job-related activities which (a) genuinely benefit the employer, (b) which the employer “knows or has reason to believe” are being performed by an employee, and (c) which the employer does not prohibit the employee from performing. These can include activities performed during “off-the-clock” time, at the job site or elsewhere, whether “voluntary” or not.
 
Courts have awarded FLSA damages for “off-the-clock” time spent by employees maintaining equipment, staying late after normal shifts without “putting in” for overtime, doing job-related paperwork “at home,” making and responding to job-related telephone calls, working through meal periods, and many other activities. Employees sometimes underestimate the amount of “off the clock” time they spend performing compensable tasks.

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I’ve had it both ways. The first office (I was there for nine years)I got paid if the patient canceled or did not show up but the doctor always made us feel guilty about it. He would even make remarks, such as, “You should call that patient and them to pay us since I have to pay you!”. Needless to say, I MUCH prefer my current situation. I have worked in my current office for 30 years. For the first few years, we were paid hourly, including if there were cancellations. They next few years we were paid hourly, plus partial commission/bonus. The past 20 years have been straight commission and I love it! My patients are for the most part very reliable and we have a great recall/confirmation system in place. When I do get a cancellation, I take advantage of the time to restock supplies, set up trays, send out personal notes/make care calls, help out at the front desk, or leave the office if I need to run an errand. I would much rather be paid this way. We are paid 44% commission of our individual hygiene production and x-rays.

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I do get paid still, but I’m expected to do stuff around the office.

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I get paid as long as I’m doing things around the office like stocking, sharpening, calling patients, assisting doc, etc. I also write a blog for her website, and she pays 1/2 if I come in on my day off to work on it, but that time has to be pre-approved.

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I’m paid a flat rate for the day. I won’t lie. My position is quite cushy. It’s a high-end office and I get paid whether I see 2 or 8 patients a day. If I have downtime, I stock my room, sharpen instruments, get sterilization caught up, etc. If there’s nothing to do, I utilize my time to do online CE courses to gain more information in which to help my patients!

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I get paid whether or not I have a patient. I do use my time to sharpen, stock supplies, and help at the front desk.

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You absolutely get paid for hours worked if you are paid hourly…if they want to not pay for no shows or cancellations then you should be commission based…if the contract with you to work 8-5 then youget paid 8-5 and he better get on his staff to fill it

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I get paid regardless of having a patient or not. I do check charts for the next day, restock, help at front desk, do sterilization etc. the only difference is if the cancellation is around lunch or at the end of the day. Then I either have a long lunch or leave early. Fortunately that doesn’t happen too often.

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I am in Oregon. I cannot speak for every one in the. State but I know many of the hygienists in my area and most are paid hourly regardless if they have a PT or not. A few are salary and a few paid on commission. But the majority are hourly. I know at my office we all pitch in when we have an opening g in anyway possible.

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It depends on the office. At one office I do not, but I am still expected to help out anyway.

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I had one office that paid me and one that didn’t (couldn’t afford it I guess). I don’t think it’s fair because if you don’t have a patient you are still expected to clean, stock, make phone calls or help others out. But all those thinngs aren’t bringing in production so the doctor doesn’t want to pay. It’s unfair but what can you do. I have heard of office who pay half your normal hygiene wage when you don’t have patients so that way you at least get paid something.

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Nice to hear there are still dentist out there that don’t try to take advantage of the hygienist when they can clearly do so now in this economy.

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I get paid by the hour regardless of if I have pt or not. However when we had that big economy bust my doctor had is clock in and out for every pt which is horrible. I will never do that again:(

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I have worked for an office on a temporary basis where if I did not have a patient I was not paid. However, I would leave run an errand and come back or sit in the breakroom and read or relax. I work full time in a practice and have been for over 15 years and I get paid by the day. I am paid the same whether 8 patients show up or 1.

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I am a part time hygienist who gets paid an hourly rate, but I DO get paid regardless. I work in a community clinic

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I have been a RDH for 38 years. I have always been paid by the day for my services, which means if the front desk does not book me the DDS comes down on them. I get paid either way.

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I get paid hourly regardless. I help around the office with other tasks if my patient no shows. What I want to know is if the RDH does not get paid if a patient shows, does this send a message to the front desk that it’s no big deal, no need to confirm appts or fill holes? What is the policy regarding confirming patients?

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I’m part-time and get paid for my time regardless of no shows…I do absolutely use that time to help out and keep busy so itsnot dead time…

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I get paid regardless, but absolutely find something to do. If not a hygiene job, then I ask Front desk, assistants, someone always needs help!

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I get paid rather or not I have a patient. During those times I make phone calls, stock, sharpen instruments, sterilization or help the doctor if they are behind. If I don’t have a patient right before lunch or at the end of the day I usually clock out early. If you are asked to clock out you should not be doing any work In the office.

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I get paid regardless and have at both places ive worked since 2012

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I get paid regardless, if I don’t have a patient I am stocking, doing sterilization, or assisting if need be. It is the front desk job to book patients and the doctor comes down on them for holes in the schedule, I can’t control that.

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I get paid my hourly wage and it doesn’t matter if I have a patient in the chair, cancelation, no show, hole in the schedule. I always find something to do even it is scrubbing toilets. Just because I am an RDH doesn’t mean I can’t clean and help the assistants and front office.

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I’m paid hourly and it’s not dependent on whether I have a patient or not. Whenever I do have a no show I use that time to work on calling recare patients and calling patients who have unscheduled treatment to help fill both my schedule and the doctor’s. I’m always doing something to utilize my time.

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I am paid hourly and not asked to clock out for no shows. I am willing to come late or leave early if there is a big gap, but that is my own choice, as they are fine if I want to be there the full day regardless. Having a FT job with benefits is a blessing these days!

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I’m in Niagara Falls, paid hourly, patient or not , I never just sit though, I help in sterilization, filing, anything!

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I work in the Boston area and I do get paid hourly regardless of whether there is a patient or not. I do however get called iffy first patient cancel and told not to come in until the next patient time. Which can be very frustrating. We also charge a cancelation fee if the patient doesn’t cancel within the 24 hour cancelation policy that’s office has.

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I get paid if the patient is there or not but whenever there is an opening the front desk moves patients around to condense the schedule. If my patient at the beginning or the end of the day cancel Im expected to come in late or leave early. If someone cancels in the middle then they move patients from the end of the day up to condense and make me leave early. If its a no show I still get paid but have to help around the office somehow.

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I live in the boston area too and we used to always get paid regardless but now my doc has recently changed to calling us In late or leaving early if PTs cancel or no show. I hate this but there is not I can do about since jobs are so hard to find in my area. It stinks that we have to put up with this stuff.

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I do get paid for no-shows but I always find other stuff to do around the office. If the end of my day falls apart then I have the option to do “busy work” or leave early.

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I do get paid if a patient no shows or cancels. I do not punch a time clock do I believe this is fair. I have stayed late many times and have had my lunch cut short as well when I run over. Because that time is not counted for… It makes me feel a little better when I gave somewhat of a break. Usually during that time I will make setups , restock, and help out other co workers. I feel I should take advantage of that time and I also feel like I have somewhat of a break. I look at it as one less patient which equals to less stress on my body. I have worked for a dentist that did NOT pay me. I would rather work for one that does. I think it always works out in the end.

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If you are expected to stay there for the next patient after the no show you should be paid. There is always something to be done during down time. You don’t own the business. The dentist does. You show up for work and you are there to work regardless if there is a patient or not.

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I am in boston area and get paid if they show or not… Just keep busy sharpening and stocking room….

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I’m from Texas and I have to see 6 patients a day or my pay is prorated to however many pt I saw but I have a very understanding office manager and if I help out around the clinic when I have a cancelation then she does not dock my pay for it.

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I get paid, but I need to “look busy.”
I do the recall postcards, so that can sometimes keep me busy. Sharpen instruments, etc.

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I have been with 2 offices so far in my hygiene career. With the first office I was in, I was paid if I didn’t have a patient, but it was significantly less than I got paid when I was with a patient. The biggest issue with that for me was that I was in an office that didn’t have an established hygiene department (the doctor was doing cleanings before I got there), so I had a lot of times when I didn’t have a patient in the chair. After doing this for several months, along with other things, I decided to leave that office. I felt like I could have made more money doing a different job. Luckily I found another office that had a great hygiene department set up and I now get paid the same amount when I don’t have a patient. With this office having a good hygiene department, I find that I have much less time without patients. For the most part, my schedule is always booked full, unless there are last minute cancellations or no-shows.

If there is a time when I don’t have patients, I always make sure to keep myself busy. There is usually something for me to do: things like sharpening instruments, catching up sterilization, catching up on notes, etc. I am very lucky that at this office, the OM and assistant OM take charge of filling the hygiene schedule and scheduling recalls so I don’t have to worry about that.

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