A non-compete clause (also called a do-not-compete agreement, or more whimsically a faithless servant doctrine) in an employment contract is a hiring restriction.
It is intended to limit your choices of other employers (competition) or protect or maximize an employer’s investment in your services. Typically this means protecting trade secrets, confidential information or an investment in an employee’s training and skills.
This is an interesting subject. Most travelers are surprised to learn that overtime is something that can be negotiated like any other item. Here are some examples: everyone is familiar with negotiating your base rate. If you negotiate the base rate down, perhaps due to an upgrade in housing, or a tax free reimbursement, why should your overtime rate suffer and the agency benefit? Many travelers are also familiar with agencies that pay double time for overtime instead of the usual time and a half. How is it possible for them to do this? And there are number of agencies who pay less than time and a half for overtime. Is that legal?
Generally speaking, all methods are legal.
In fact, almost any rate an agency pays for overtime is legal. In many states, overtime laws have been interpreted to mean time and a half based on state or federal minimum wage. All healthcare professionals make substantially more than that, limiting intervention by state labor departments. Recent federal laws passed further obscure the issue of overtime (for nurses) as they define nurses as supervisory personnel exempt from overtime regulations. While it this legislation turns out to be a red herring for hourly employees, it is still misunderstood by some employers and even some lawyers.
For the purposes of this article today, we will ignore labor legislation and agree that as contract employees, overtime is governed solely by our contracts with the agency. Realizing this gives the traveler the freedom to negotiate a contract based on not only the traveler's individual work patterns, but also on the ability of agency to pay a fair percentage of the bill rate they receive for your hard work.
What you need to take on an assignment depends on your type of housing. Obviously, if you will be housed in an extended stay or corporate housing where all linens and kitchen ware is supplied, this list will be vastly shorter. For the average traveler who is going to be living in the average one-bedroom apartment, furnished with basic furnishings only, you will need to take quite a few things.
Optionally, you can choose to purchase what you need after arrival to the assignment. Dollar stores and garage sales are an easy, cheap and often fun way of providing many of the items that you need. Donating your purchased items after your assignment at the local Goodwill helps the community and provides a tax deduction for you.
It may come as a surprise that travelers are eligible for unemployment at the end of every completed contract and in certain other circumstances. This is true in every state, and all wages earned in multiple states go towards your eligibility and weekly compensation. While you may consider it either unethical or demeaning to apply for and draw unemployment, it is an insurance pool that you have been paying into all your life with every hour worked, and it certainly should be considered in a time of financial need.
It is not difficult to picture a healthcare traveler in many of the scenarios listed below. It can happen to anyone. While it is not necessary to read this article closely just now (unless you are in such a situation), just skim it and recognize that unemployment compensation is a legitimate option that may prove of use to you in the future.