Going home early when the patient census is down can be common. This is unfortunate because we have very skilled people spending time at home and not treating patients that can benefit from their services. We are unique in that our skills and services are marked by our productivity/efficiency and the insurance a person carries. There are not many professions limited in that way.
No employer will keep therapists sitting around waiting for patients to show up; and doing "busy work" is a true waste of their skill set. When therapists do go home early, some will use PTO (paid time off or vacation time) to make up the difference and support their families.
My paycheck fluctuates frequently and trying to explain this to those in a 9-to-5 position is difficult because they do not understand the implications with budgeting and saving extra money. There are times when it would be nice to know how many hours I will be working a week or two from now but this is not the case.
And to be honest, it is nice to go home early every now and again. When the census climbs, I will be asked to see too many people in too short a time span and will pray for the low-census days to be back.
So for the next couple of days I am going to relax, catch up on some TV and enjoy the time spent at home with my children and wife.