Guide: Paid and Unpaid Leave for Dental and Healthcare Practice Owners

Guide: Paid and Unpaid Leave for Dental and Healthcare Practice Owners

As a dental or healthcare practice owner, offering leave options to your employees is crucial. Leave can be for vacation time, sick time, family emergencies, or other personal reasons. However, deciding between paid and unpaid leave can be a complex decision. In this guide, we will explore the pros and cons of both paid and unpaid leave.

Paid Leave: What is Actually Required?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employers to provide paid leave. However, some states and cities have enacted paid leave laws. Employers must comply with these laws if they operate in those states or cities. Additionally, employers must comply with their own policies and agreements regarding paid leave.

Vacation Time

Vacation time is one of the most common forms of paid leave. According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 91% of organizations offer paid vacation time to their employees. However, employers are not required to provide vacation time.

Sick Leave

Paid sick leave has become increasingly popular in recent years. As of 2020, 12 states and Washington D.C. have mandated paid sick leave laws. Employers must comply with these laws if they operate in those states or cities. Additionally, some employers choose to offer paid sick leave as a benefit to their employees.

Other Paid Leave

Employers may offer other forms of paid leave, such as personal days or bereavement leave. These types of leave are not required by law, but can be a valuable benefit to employees.

  1. Sabbatical Leave: Extended time off (several months to a year) for personal interests, further education, or rest.
  2. Extended Bereavement Leave: Longer duration of leave provided for employees dealing with the loss of close family members.
  3. Civic Duty Leave: Time off for responsibilities such as jury duty or voting.
  4. Pet-ernity Leave: Leave provided for employees to care for new or sick pets.
  5. Mental Health Days: Specific days off focused on mental self-care for overall well-being.

Read also The Habits of Highly Productive People

Gray Areas for Employee Leave of Absences

There are some gray areas when it comes to employee leave of absences. For example, what if an employee needs time off for a religious holiday or to care for a sick family member? Employers must ensure that they are complying with all relevant laws and regulations when making decisions about employee leave.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives workers at larger companies (those with 50 or more employees) and those at public agencies the right to take up to 12 weeks off without pay each year. To qualify for this, employees must have worked for their company for at least a year or have clocked in 1,250 work hours in the past year.

FMLA leave can be used in several situations, such as:

  • When an employee has a new baby and needs time to care for them,
  • When an employee needs to look after a close family member who is very sick,
  • When an employee is too sick to work themselves.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Employers are not required to provide paid maternity or paternity leave. However, the FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Some employers also choose to offer paid maternity or paternity leave as a benefit to their employees.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Pregnancy disability leave is a form of leave that is required by law in some states. This type of leave provides job protection and continuation of health benefits to employees who are disabled due to pregnancy.

You might also like 9 Benefits Dental Specialists Expect From Their Employers

Risks of Not Giving Employees Paid Time Off

Neglecting to provide employees with paid time off can lead to numerous potential issues that may harm your small business. The absence of paid leave can notably affect your employees’ mental and physical health, their outlook, and efficiency.

What could happen:

  • It could put your team’s and their families’ health on the line
  • Money worries could start to pile up for your crew
  • It might feel like favoritism in the workplace
  • Your team might feel like their work-life balance is tipped the wrong way
  • Stress and burnout could sneak up on your staff
  • Your team might need to take unpaid sick days, or worse, decide to leave

Providing paid time off demonstrates your consideration for your employees and their need for a balanced life. In return, this fosters a positive company culture that encourages loyalty and productivity—both crucial for your company’s future prosperity.

Here are the types of employee leave in the US:

Types of LeaveFederal MandatePaid/UnpaidEmployer’s Responsibility
Sick LeaveNo Federal Mandate (Some State Mandates)Varies by State LawUnderstand obligations based on state law
Maternity Leave (FMLA)Yes, up to 12 weeksUnpaidProvide job-protected leave
Paternity Leave (FMLA)Yes, up to 12 weeksUnpaidProvide job-protected leave
Parental Leave (FMLA)Yes, up to 12 weeksUnpaidProvide job-protected leave
Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)Yes, up to 12 weeksUnpaidProvide job-protected leave
Vacation LeaveNo Federal MandateTypically PaidDecide as part of employee benefits package
Personal LeaveNo Federal MandateVariesDecide as part of leave policy
Bereavement LeaveNo Federal MandateTypically UnpaidDecide as part of leave policy
Military Leave (USERRA)Yes, duration variesUnpaidProvide job-protected leave
Jury Duty LeaveYes, duration variesUnpaid (Some State Mandates for Paid)Provide leave while maintaining job security

In conclusion, offering leave options to your employees is an important part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Whether you choose to offer paid or unpaid leave, it is important to comply with all relevant laws and regulations. By providing a supportive and flexible work environment, you can help attract and retain top talent for your practice.

If you’re an employer looking for ways to attract and retain top talent, contact us today! We’ll help you find the right employees who are looking for exactly what your organization has to offer. You can also create a company profile on MEDIjobs and insert there your needs.

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