ADA, other dental organizations ask Labor Department to help small businesses

Washington — The ADA, along with a large group of other dental organizations, told the U.S. Department of Labor that they are concerned about provisions in HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as related to family and medical leave and paid sick leave.

In a March 18 letter to Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, the organizations urged the secretary to consider using his office’s discretionary regulatory authority to exempt small businesses, including dental offices, which are experiencing significant financial challenges at this time.

“Dentist owners care deeply about the welfare of their employees, especially those employees who are parents, however, the majority of private dental practices are small businesses with only five to 10 people on staff,” the coalition wrote. “The leave requirements currently being negotiated may create an extreme hardship for these small businesses that do not have additional staff to cover for necessary employees who are out and that are already facing economic turmoil as a result of COVID-19.”

The groups noted that under both the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave sections of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Secretary of Labor has the “regulatory authority to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees ‘when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.’”

According to the letter, “The ADA and dental organization urge the Secretary to immediately act to issue these exemptions, and, recognizing that these requirements would jeopardize the viability of dental offices, issue them for all dental practices with fewer than 50 employees.”

“We ask that the secretary not require each dental practice to apply for an exemption, as that would be a hardship on businesses that are already
short-staffed and do not have the time to go through a lengthy application process,” the letter concluded.

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