The Families First Coronavirus Response Act information for dentists

The ODA has received several calls related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which passed and was signed into law earlier this month. The main questions are related to whether a dentist employer must provide paid Sick Leave and Family and Medical Leave for employees and if so in what circumstances.
Below is a brief summary, but these provisions can be complex and confusing. This summary is just intended to give you a broad overview. You should to talk to your own lawyer, accountant and/or business advisor in making decisions that are right for you and your staff.
According to a recent Guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, the provisions discussed below become effective on April 1, 2020.
Does FFCRA require a dental office to provide employees with any special paid Sick Leave?
Yes, unless granted an exemption, FFCRA requires all private employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide their employees with two weeks of paid sick leave in specific circumstance as defined below:
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
Does FFCRA require a dental office to provide employees with expanded Family and Medical Leave?
Yes, unless granted an exemption, FFCRA requires all private employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
For more info on FFCRA’s mandated paid Sick Leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave see https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave.
Does FFCRA provide any mechanism for employers to recoup any expenses related to paid Sick Leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave through tax credits?
Yes, employers are eligible for a refundable tax credit on certain payroll taxes for qualified expenses related to the mandated paid Sick Leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave under FFCRA.
Can dental offices get an exemption from these mandated paid Sick Leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave provisions? 
The FFCRA gives the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor the authority to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the provisions related to the mandated paid Sick Leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave if the requirements of those mandates would place the viability of the business at risk. The ODA, ADA and nearly 50 other dental organizations have asked for dental offices to be exempted from these provisions. See ODA’s letter to Secretary Scalia here. We are currently awaiting a response.
Additional business resources
More information
The ODA will continue to provide information and resources about the FFCRA as more details become available.
The ODA and the ADA are currently monitoring the CARES Act and will provide an update once that has been signed into law. The CARES Act is the third portion of the Coronavirus stimulus package.
Click here to view current and updated information and resources about the Coronavirus for dental offices in Ohio.
ADA webinars
The American Dental Association will be hosting two webinars today:
  • 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (90 minutes): Dental Practice Financial Issues Surrounding COVID-19.
  • 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. (60 minutes): What’s in the CARES Act and How It Can Immediately Impact My Dental Practice.
When looking through these resources please understand that this is not business or legal advice. The goal of this communication is to give members resources to ensure that they are prepared when talking with their personal human resources staff, attorney or accountant. It is important to note that depending on your specific circumstances decisions about your business and employees can be different from others. Also, if you offer a benefit package the recommendations could be different for you. Please use this information to make informed decisions with you legal and human resource teams.