Scrutinize Appointment Documents

You could be hurting yourself.

You're excited to have matched into a fellowship or perhaps it is that first non-trainee job offer you just received and someone sends you documents to sign; an employment contract or letter of agreement.  Please, do yourself a favor and refrain from signing anything until you've had time to critically review the information and/or sought the advice of an attorney or your union.

Things to look for:  no mention of specific pay or pay ranges, healthcare benefits not being included, paid time off and paid leave not addressed, missing information on disability insurance coverage, unusual gaps in start dates.

Recently, the HOA has seen several House Officers sign employment letters or accept a grant funded appointment for a research position, only to find out they would be taking a steep cut in pay, lose their Lump Sum, and have no disability insurance coverage.  

Others, due to being coerced into a personal Leave of Absence (LOA) with a gap in appointment start dates, must pay out-of-pocket for healthcare benefits between appointments.  If you are taking a personal leave and forced to pay for healthcare, the monthly cost for a House Officer (no dependents) is roughly $700.  The gap may be less than a week, but you are required to pay for the entire month.