Washington — As the Senate works to pass a stimulus package aimed at granting relief to the millions of Americans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ADA is thanking dentists across the nation for making their voices heard in Washington on that same legislation.
"As the global situation on COVID-19 continues to evolve, the American Dental Association is committed to guiding the dental community through these challenging times," wrote ADA President Chad P. Gehani in a March 23 Issues Alert. "We are looking out for you, particularly as federal lawmakers work on legislation that could make a big difference for our profession."
“You should know that our grassroots efforts over the last 48 hours regarding the CARES Act [known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act] have been outstanding — 117,462 dentists have sent 358,535 emails to Capitol Hill,” Dr. Gehani continued. “There is no doubt that dentistry’s message has been received!”
The CARES Act is the third legislative package in response to the coronavirus pandemic following the successful passage of an emergency funding bill and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The package contains a number of provisions important to dentistry, including Small Business Administration loan options and relief for student loan borrowers.
Dr. Gehani told dentists that he is hopeful Congress will pass the CARES Act shortly and said the ADA will “send out details on the final provisions once they are available.”
Also in the alert, the ADA president told dentists that the ADA continues to seek a reply from the Department of Labor concerning emergency paid sick leave and family medical leave for employees in the wake of HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law on March 18.
He directed members to a series of overviews from the Department of Labor that provide summaries of what the agency says the law will require of employers in regards to these provisions.
“Please keep in mind that we anticipate further guidance from the Department of Labor to clarify these provisions,” Dr. Gehani wrote. “Once we receive the additional guidance, we will send an update that may assist you with your business decisions.
The summaries can be accessed from the following webpages from the Department of Labor:
• Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements.
• Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights.
• COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act: Questions and Answers.
• COVID-19 and the Family and Medical Leave Act: Questions and Answers.
“As you read the DOL guidance, please keep in mind that the ADA is still awaiting a response from the Department of Labor on our request that dental offices as small businesses (50 or fewer employees) be exempt from the emergency sick leave and FMLA, which would alter the requirements and impact of these provisions,” he concluded. “We will update you immediately once we receive a response from the Department of Labor to our request.
"We know that these are uncertain times, and the ADA will continue to be a resource now and in the weeks and months to come. Count on us—we are working hard for you," the alert concluded.
Visit ADA.org/virus for the latest ADA information on COVID-19.