This paper is designed to analyze the role of healthcare contract workers. This paper discusses the reasons of being hired by different companies. The advantages that a company has by appointing temporary employees are also highlighted. As every aspect has two sides, therefore disadvantages are also discussed. There are many controversies that temporary employees have to face while working in any company. Companies believe that there resources might be wasted if they invested more in temporary employees hence they have to survive on their own. They face reliability issues and permanent employees do not trust them a lot. This paper gives an overall analysis on the difficulties faced by temporary employees, their role in the success of a company and gives recommendations to the companies for hiring them.
A contract worker is a person who is temporarily employed for a limited period of time based on certain terms and conditions of the organization. These employees may be employed directly by the employer or the private agencies. Agencies sometimes hire and train these temporary employees and then hire them out to the employers. These contract workers are also known as Fixed Term employee, which means that they are hired on certain fixed rates.
More and more companies are hiring contract workers rather than going for the permanent employees. The Temporary placement service provider Adecco predicts that the rate of growth of the contract workers will be 3 to 4 times more than the growth rate of the traditional workforces and will eventually make up about 25% of the workforces. (Erickson, 2012)
Benefits of Hiring Contract Workers for Healthcare
In many areas, every business or organization has to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of hiring independent contract workers rather than full-time employees. This is an important decision for the business owners because there are many considerations which illustrates the benefits of hiring an independent contract worker. Benefits of hiring contract workers include:
Reduced Benefit Costs: By hiring contract workers the costs of benefits such as vacation, sick leave and retirement plans is eliminated. The biggest saving by hiring contract workers is that in United States it costs approximately $6,000.00 per year to provide health insurance for single employees. This may vary depending upon the employee's age and medical condition but still it remains one of the biggest costs associated with direct employees. The companies can save these costs by hiring contract workers.
Business Cost Only Increases during Growth: By hiring contract workers the employer is only paying for services if or when they are required. This allows flexibility during growth periods which is of great importance to cash flow of the company.
More Employees Means More Responsibility:Human resources are one of the most time consuming field in all businesses. The more employees a company has the more difficult it becomes to manage them. Since contract workers are self-employed and are more motivated to excel therefore require little or no management.
Reduced Overhead: Payment of the payrolls, taxes and other overheads is reduced due to the hiring of contract workers. There is also a hidden cost of firing employees that the employees are not aware of. This means that whenever the employer fires an employee, the tax rate for unemployment benefits increases for all other employees.
Specialized: Another advantage of hiring contract workers, especially for healthcare companies is that contract workers are generally very specialized. The advantage to company owner is that the contract worker is allowed to do what they are best at.
Hiring contract workers is an excellent solution during unpredictable economic times. Most of the business owners depend on knowledgeable contract workers to fill in the gaps where needed. Contract workers can be an ongoing part of the team without the overhead costof hiring them directly. (Hutton, 2011)
Drawbacks of Hiring Contract Workers
While contract workers can be beneficial in some fields, there are a number of disadvantages related to hiring of contract workers which have been proved right with time.
Lack of Loyalty and Motivation
Temporary workers often lack loyalty and motivation to the company due to the short time that they spend in the company for doing the work assigned to them. They may not work for the benefit of the company due to lack of incentives like bonuses and promotions and may work just for the paychecks.
Training the temporary workers to complete specific tasks necessary for the company to succeed may go to waste because it often happens that the contract worker may not return to the same company for more than one placement. During the training the contract workers often require a lot of manpower and a waste of revenue.
The contract workers lack consistency and may not come on time for the job or won't show up for the job. The contract worker who arrives for work with a negative and unproductive attitude can affect the company in a severe way.
The permanent employees may not want to work with the contract workers due to lack of experience and knowledge of the tasks. The permanent employees may not like to work with the contract workers and may not wish to guide or train them because they consider it as a waste of their efforts to work with someone unfamiliar with the work they are assigned for.
Most of the healthcare jobs are dangerous and require careful safety training. Studies show that the frequency of on-the-job injuries is higher with contract workers. No matter how much the worker is experienced, care must be taken that dangerous tasks are performed safely.
There have been many assumptions made on the fact that temporary workers are less reliable then the permanent workers. Studies suggest that the occurrence of on-the-job injuries is higher for the temporary workers. Lack of commitment and poor attendance are the issues which make the temporary workers less reliable then the permanent employees. (Schaefer, 2005)
Healthcare Contract Workers
Approximately 1.7% of the healthcare industry's workforce is now composed of temporary or contract workers according to the ASA data. That's about 240,000 employees, compared to the nearly 14 million full time healthcare workers in the United States. This was due to the economic downturn that has affected the healthcare industry in recent years because the patients put off elective procedures against hospital uncertainty over effects of the Affordable Care Act. (Wilson, 2012)
According to a CNN reporter Jacque Wilson, a temporary radiologic technologists David Kwiatkowski was accused of stealing drugs from New Hampshire Hospital and giving the patients hepatitis C through infected syringes. This worker has been accused of doing such things in the past which has put a spotlight on the staffing of the healthcare industry as a whole.
As reported by Jacque Wilson, the contract worker David Kwiatkowski has worked in 13 hospitals in eight states between January 2007 and July 2012. According to the court documents he was arrested "in an intoxicated state" in a Massachusetts hotel room. During that time David was employed by at least two firms Triage Staffing and Springboard Healthcare Staffing.
According to the documents obtained by CNN two years ago, Kwiatkowski was fired from Arizona Heart Hospital when a fellow employee found him passed out in a men's bathroom. A few weeks later, he was working at Temple University Hospital in Pennsylvania.
The staffing agency that employed Kwiatkowski at the time, Springboard, reported the incident to the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, according to a spokeswoman of the agency.
The Kwiatkowski case has raised questions about the hiring process of the contract workers of the healthcare industries.
This is not the first case regarding a healthcare worker accused of harming patients by troubling incidents. In 2005, a New Jersey law took effect making the healthcare companies to notify the state Division of Consumer Affairs of concerns or misconduct about the healthcare workers who could endanger the patients. (Wilson, 2012)
Despite of these controversies surrounding the healthcare contract workers which have been a severe blow towards their reputation, their importance cannot be denied. These contract workers play an important role in hospitals. They fill in gap in almost every field- from nurses to physicians, medical technicians and administrators. A 2007 study conducted by the Centre for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania that temporary nurses are often better educated and highly trained. Berchem said that the hospitals that do not use contract workers tend to have more negative response from the patients because they have less staffing resources overall. The problem occurs when the former hiring managers are unwilling to disclose the reason for a past employee's termination which results in creating holes in checking the…