As a traveling therapist, you generally sign a 13-week contract. If signing a 13-week contract is not risky enough for job stability, there is also a chance that the contract could be canceled with a short notice. Travel therapy contract cancelation is never something that you want to happen, but it can and does. I’ve been in the travel therapy industry for over 10 years and refer to travel assignments as “high risk high reward”. When contracts go right they are filled with great memories, money, travels, and new friendships. When they go wrong, especially if they are canceled, they can leave you in a bad place financially and emotionally.
What you need to know about travel therapy contract cancelation
Travel therapy contract cancelation is something that happens in the traveling industry and something that travelers should be knowledgeable of, even if it never happens to you. Travelers are paid high bill rates to fill temporary needs. These needs are primarily because of staffing shortages and medical leaves.
If you are working a contract to fill a staffing shortage (versus a medical leave), it is in the best financial interest of the facility to replace you with a permanent employee as soon as possible. Thus, a traveler can get canceled if a permanent employee gets hired. A cancelation may also happen if the census is high and suddenly drops.
When you look at your travel therapy contract you will find the length of notice that you can give or receive to legally end a contract in good standing. he standard notice is either 14 or 30 days and varies by the facility you are working at (versus your agency), so for one contract you may be under a 30-day notice and another may be a 14 day.
Here are some important things to know about travel therapy contract cancelation. And, some ways to protect yourself.
1. Know Your Notice Policy
Look at your contract and see if you have a 14 or 30 day notice. It can change from contract to contract so do not assume that you know. You can change your notice policy (14 days to 30 or vice versa) if both parties (you and the facility) agree to it and have it signed in writing in the contract. Being well educated on your contract and cancelation notices can lead to less stress if it happens down the road.
However, it’s also important to know that there are loopholes for facilities to get around the notice policy. Unfortunately, if a facility really wants to break a contract they can claim that you are not proficient in your work or make another claim to void the contract. This is obviously extremely unprofessional, and honestly fairy rare, but it does happen.
2. Know The Terms Of Your Lease And Make It Work For You
When leasing an apartment for the short term, read the fine print. Know the terms of your lease and the repercussions of breaking a lease. If you sign a 3-month lease and get cut after a month does that mean that you have to pay for the whole 3 months? Do you need a give a 30 or 60-day notice to break your lease?
Also, think about the area that you are working in. If the geographic area is full of travel jobs you may not care so much about a lease. Because, if your contract is canceled you could easily get another contract in the same geographic area.
Personally, I do not sign leases that are longer than a month to month. The one time I had a contract canceled, I had to pay 60 days worth of rent. Sadly, this was on a rather expensive apartment. That experience stuck with me and now I chose to do only month to month leases.
I recommend looking for travel therapy housing on Furnished Finder. On this website, the landlords cater to working with traveling healthcare professionals and understand our lifestyle. I find those landlords more flexible with lease terms.
3. Have An Emergency Fund
Money is key to rebounding from a job cancelation. If you have money in the bank, there is a lot less stress and worry about finding your next job.
Most financial planners recommend that people with permanent jobs have an emergency fund saving of 3-6 months worth of living expenses. Some financial advisors even recommend as high as 8-12 months. As travelers, I think it is highly important that we have a liquid emergency fund, which for us may be needed faster than somebody with a perm job. It may not be as much as 3 months or more, but something to get us through a rough time.
Having an emergency fund can ease the financial burden of a contract being broken and reduce overall stress.
4. Attitude For The Win!
In life, especially in travel attitude is everything. If you go into an assignment with a bad attitude, you will probably have a bad assignment. Don’t let a broken contract get you down. Accept that this is part of the business and that it happens. Keep a professional, good attitude for your last 2-4 weeks and move onto the next job. Remember: a travel contract cancellation is nothing personal and it is all a part of the world of travel.