The continual passage of laws requiring mandatory employee time off is almost mind boggling. The
line between mandatory and discretionary time is increasingly blurred in that discretionary time off often
has mandatory requirements. To be certain as a dentist-employer you are aware of the newer
mandatory time off requirements and ways to control discretionary time off, review the following:

MANDATORY TIME OFF (applies to employers of all sizes):

Time off for Domestic Violence Court Appearances
Employees must be allowed to take time off to obtain a temporary restraining order to protect their or
their children’s or guardians’ health, safety and welfare.

Time off for a Child’s Suspension from School
Time off is required if an employee’s child is suspended from school and that school requests the
employee to appear at school in connection with that suspension.

Time off to serve on Jury Duty
If an employee is called to serve on jury duty, the employee must be allowed to miss time from work.
The employer may request that the employee be excused, but that is not so easy after the O.J.
Simpson debacle and usually not granted.

Time off to Serve as a Witness
Employees that have been the victim of a crime, or have witnessed a crime, must be allowed time off to
serve as a witness in connection with that crime.

Time off to Vote
If an employee has insufficient time to vote in a statewide election during the work day, an employer
must allow a maximum of two hours off to vote.

Time off for Emergency Firefighter
Time off is required if an employee serves as an emergency firefighter and is called to service.

Don’t forget the many other instances time off is legally required that are not the topic of this article.
Examples include: pregnancy, worker’s compensation injuries or illnesses, disabilities, kin care.  Be
certain to understand the difference between mandatory time off requirements and discretionary time
off. Keep track of the hours separately and distinctly. Note that all the aforementioned time off is
mandatory and thus may not ‘count’ against any time off the employee
has as a benefit of your office. That is, this mandatory time off may not count against an employee’s
personal time off, vacation time off, sick time off, or any other PTO (paid time off). This mandatory time
off is legally required, may be paid or unpaid at the discretion of the dentist employer, and is totally
different from other time off the employee may have.


As for discretionary time off, dentist-employers should have a written ‘leave ladder’ which concretely
defines the amount of leave each employee is entitled to and in which order employees must use their
leave. For example, many dentists elect to require an employee to use their personal leave hours first
for any unplanned time off, then use their sick/kin care off, and lastly their vacation
time off.
Type of Leave
Below is a common ‘leave ladder’ in dental offices. Be certain not to discriminate between employees,
especially employees who have the essentially the same job function or title.
If the employee exceeds the amount of leave time off that he/she is allowed, that employee would
change the number of hours off before separation for all off. If unpaid, un-counted time off is allowed, it
becomes extremely difficult to
terminate an employee when that employee does not want to work for extended periods of time. For
example, issues that have resulted in successful legal action by employees against employers with no
definite time off requirements include: an employee that took time off to be with her mother who had a
terminal illness for 7 months and was terminated, an employee who took extended, unpaid vacations
and was terminated as a result, an employee who broke her leg skiing (non-work related!), had to be
hospitalized and off work for 4 months and was terminated. All of the above legal cases could have
been easily avoided with a leave ladder and no uncounted for time off allowances.
Personal Time Off
Sick/Kin Care Time Off
Vacation Time Off
Bette Robin                                                                                      714-421-4401
Dentist, Attorney, Real Estate Broker                                                                                                                             
17482 Irvine Blvd., Ste. E
Tustin, CA  92780

877 DrRobin