Ask Amy: I want my discount back

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Sep 01, 2006
By dvm360.com staff



Q. Our practice just cut employee discounts because of an IRS law. Most of us have worked here for five or 10 years, and we have many pets to take care of. We can't afford their care now. Should we look for other jobs?
—Missing My Benefits

Dear Missing My Benefits,

Wow, that's a blow. If you're like others in your profession, you may already feel under-compensated for all that you do. And when your boss takes away one of your benefits, it's easy to view it as an all-out declaration of war.

Let's start with the facts. There are IRS laws that regulate the discounted services your boss can give you. They aren't new, but many practice owners are just starting to learn about them. While they don't prohibit the practice owner from giving discounts for services, your boss does have to report the difference as taxable income on your W-2 if they exceed 20 percent. However, the practice can sell you products at cost plus a small markup (10 percent, for example) without tax implications.

Now let's get to the meat of the problem. I suspect you're angrier about how your boss changed the policy than you are about anything else. The best practices find ways to minimize the impact on team members, and they involve you in the process. For example, the owner might decide to offer pet insurance as a benefit to help defray team members' out-of-pocket costs for pet care. If you're looking for a measuring stick to evaluate your benefits, consider this: 98 percent of practices provide employees discounts on pet products and services.

Bottom line: Do you love your job enough to get over your frustration? Your decision will depend on several factors: your current compensation and benefits, how well you like your job and your co-workers, how well your managers treat you, and your opportunities elsewhere. Good luck!
—Amy