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ADA issues guidance on applying for federal certification to offer COVID-19 testing in-office

The American Dental Association has released a COVID-19 & Lab Testing Requirements Toolkit to aid dentists who are interested in incorporating rapid point-of-care testing in their practice. To assist members with California-specific requirements, CDA’s Clinical Care Workgroup will release additional POC testing guidance next month.

Employment separation in the dental practice: How to prepare

Every employee’s employment life cycle ends eventually, whether due to resignation, retirement, termination or other reason. In the dental office, any employee who separates should do so in a structured and professional manner with minimum disruption to the patients, staff and practice. Still, depending on what triggers an employee’s departure, separation can be an awkward situation for employers to navigate. Such discomfort can be lessened if clear policies and practices are in place.

Classifying workers as independent contractors under law

Employers in California can now visit a single website to help them understand their requirements under a new law that further restricts their ability to classify their workers as independent contractors. Launched late last year by the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency, the website provides employer-specific resources and FAQ summarizing AB 5 and the ABC test and more.

Working from home? Considerations for telecommuting

Many employers fear that allowing employees to work from home will result in lowered productivity and misrepresented time sheets. However, studies have shown that allowing employees to work from home on occasion has numerous benefits, including improved morale and better employee retention. But employers are often uncertain about their responsibilities for managing risk. Who is responsible if an employee becomes injured on the job? What about HIPAA considerations?

HR audits help practices comply with laws, but can also offer peace of mind

Start your new year on the right foot by auditing your human resources systems and records. To diminish the possibility of legal issues and to ensure that your practice seeks to comply with labor and employment laws, it is important to perform an HR audit. An audit can include timekeeping and wage statements and all of the following.

New lactation accommodation requirements take effect Jan. 1, 2020

Protections for nursing mothers in California were significantly expanded under a bill signed into law in October by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Senate Bill 142 clarifies employer obligations to provide breaks and safe, private locations that include specified accommodations. The bill increases penalties for noncompliance and requires that employers implement a written lactation accommodation policy beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Most employers will begin paying a higher minimum wage Jan. 1, 2020

Nearly all employers in California will begin paying their employees a higher minimum wage — either the new state or local minimum wage, whichever is higher — in the new year. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the state minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees will increase to $12 per hour from the current $11, and the state minimum wage for employers with 26 or more employees will increase to $13 per hour from the current $12.

Employers will heed new laws on arbitration agreements and more in the new year

California employers will need to take action soon to comply with new laws pertaining to employment discrimination claims, paid family leave, harassment prevention training and other areas of employment practice. The laws take effect as early as Jan. 1, 2020, and are the result of bills introduced in the last legislative session and signed into law in October by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Know your employee pay requirements during a utility power failure

With planned power shut-offs developing across California in attempt to avoid wildfires, employers are wondering how they are to compensate their nonexempt employees when businesses are unable to be open for work due to power failures. Employers generally are obligated to pay “reporting time pay” to hourly employees when these employees are required to report for work and aren’t provided at least half of their usual hours for the day.

Compliance essentials: Hiring and paying temporary employees

Commonly, a dental practice will hire a temporary dental assistant, hygienist or front-office staff to fill in briefly for employee sick days, when the practice’s needs have increased or for an employee’s long-term leave of absence. CDA Practice Support finds that many employers are still puzzled about the requirements when hiring, classifying and properly paying these short-term employees.

'ABC test' is now the law, but it's not a free ticket for independent contractors

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, it will be more difficult for most employers in California to classify workers as independent contractors, rather than employees, and in some cases will make employees out of independent contractors. And although CDA secured an exemption for dentists, employee classification still isn’t clear-cut, and dentists will need to err on the side of caution when classifying their workers.

Oh baby, baby! A practical guide to managing pregnant employees in your practice

Every employer at a dental practice will likely manage a pregnant employee at least once in their career, and most employers will have at least one question about pregnancy leave and the law. CDA Practice Support has received calls from puzzled members inquiring about the obligations associated with managing employees’ accommodations, benefits, leave and return rights and pay obligations.

When smartphones, side gigs and odors disrupt the office

With so much emphasis on the need for employers to establish written policies mandated by federal, state and local laws, it’s easy to overlook the important day-to-day employee management policies on everything from hygiene and smoking to use of personal electronic devices. Discussed below are four areas of employee conduct and attire expectations that you might consider addressing through a workplace policy, if you don’t already have one in place.

New state law prohibits discrimination based on natural hairstyle

A new state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of hair textures or protective hairstyles that are historically associated with race. Senate Bill 188, also known as the CROWN Act, was signed in July by Gov. Gavin Newsom and will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act was amended by the law to include in the definition of race “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”

Employers can now register to help employees save through CalSavers

Eligible employers as of July 1 can now register for CalSavers, the state’s new retirement savings program for private sector workers. Employers are eligible to participate in CalSavers — a Roth IRA (after tax) — if they have five or more employees and do not already offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Employers pay no fees for participating in CalSavers.

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