Wednesday, March 25, 2020 4:08PM

No, this is not the post you’ve been waiting for.  The bill is still not final.  But the following is still important!

Please know that it is not our goal to qualify every piece of information we are providing, but things continue to evolve.  So what we’re giving here is our best information right now.  I’ll bullet this to try and simplify.

  • We posted Sunday evening that dentists most likely would have to comply with the expanded family leave provisions of Phase 2.  As a reminder, this is the provision stating that if you have employees at home with school age children, you would provide them with up to 10 weeks of sick leave at 2/3 of their regular pay (uber shortened non-technical version).  
  • We then revised the post yesterday saying the opinion tide had turned and the position was that dentists are exempt from the new provisions because they are “health care workers”.
  • Today we are reverting to our original position. That being, dental employers are subject to the provisions.

I know…I sound like a politician trying to play both sides of the aisle!  But as firmly as possible at this moment, we stand by this new/original position.  The employment attorney we just heard from confirmed our original thinking and backed it up with code references as support.  The potential “health care” exemption does not apply to the entity, but to the individual employees within the entity.  Meaning you can’t exclude your Front Desk employee as being a health care employee just because you are a dental office.  The same is true for your dental assistant and all other non-clinical positions.  Employees such as hygienests or associate dentists may be a different situation and we will try to clarify those positions.  But non-clinical staff would not fall under the “health care worker” definition, and therefore, would not be excluded.

That means the only possible exclusion at this point is the exclusion related to having under 50 employees and providing this leave would effect the viability of the practice.  There is still no clear path as to how you would prove or report that you qualify for this exemption.  But remember, our advice right now is not to try to get out of the provisions.  Our advice right now is to maintain your current payroll levels, because the upcoming Phase 3 provisions will reportedly cover your payroll costs and subsequently be forgiven.  That would mean there is no need to send staff to unemployment at a greatly reduced rate IF you can afford to float the payroll until you obtain the new proceeds.