This post is meant to give you some insight and resources on how to pay your Dental Temps.

With all the confusion out there on how temporary Dental Assistants, Dental Hygienists, and Front Office staff should be paid, we reached out to the California Labor Board for some answers.

Here is a simple breakdown of what we discovered.

When paying temporary employees the employer must pay the temp at the end of their final day of work.

The Labor Board of CA cited Labor Code 201, where it states “If an employer discharges an employee, the wages earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due and payable immediately.”

What this means:

Example 1: Sarah (a Registered Dental Hygienist) comes to your office to temp for the day.  You only needed Sarah for the one day, and she will not be returning to your office to work in the near future.  At the end of the day she is considered to be discharged and you must have her paycheck ready for her at the end of the work day.

This is the same if Sarah was doing a working interview and you choose not to hire her, she would need a paycheck at the end of the work day.

Example 2: Sarah is working with your practice for 3 months, while your dental assistant is on Maternity leave.  Her last day with your practice will be Thursday the 4th. For the 3 months she is there, you can have her on payroll with your employees, but on her last day, her final paycheck needs to be ready for her before she leaves.

In the situation where a temporary employee quits his or her employment, the employer must pay the employee within 72 hours.

The Labor Board of CA cited Labor Code 202, where it states “If an employee not having a written contract for a definite period quits his or her employment, his or her wages shall become due and payable not later than 72 hours thereafter, unless the employee has given 72 hours previous notice of his or her intention to quit, in which case the employee is entitled to his or her wages at the time of quitting. Notwithstanding any other law, an employee who quits without providing a 72-hour notice shall be entitled to receive payment by mail if he or she so requests and designates a mailing address. The date of the mailing shall constitute the date of payment for purposes of the requirement to provide payment within 72 hours of the notice of quitting.”


What this means:

Example 3:  If Sarah temps as an RDH for you on Monday and you ask her to come back on Wednesday and she agrees, you do not need to have a paycheck for her at the end of the day on Monday (since she is returning to your practice).  But if on Tuesday, Sarah calls you and says she cannot return on Wednesday as scheduled, (and is not scheduled for any future days) then a paycheck needs to be available for her to pickup or mailed to her within 72 hours to be compliant with the CA Labor Code. 

Example 4: Sarah has been temping in your office for the past 2 months on a long term assignment that is scheduled to end on Thursday the 4th. But 3 weeks before her assignment is to end she tells you that she just accepted a permanent job and that today will be her last day.  A paycheck will need to be mailed out to her within 72 hours.


HOWEVER, if she comes in, says she accepted a permanent position and next Friday will be her last day since she gave you a 72-hour notice of her last day, a paycheck will need to be handed to her at the end of the day on her last day.

BUT, I thought I was supposed to add my dental temps and working interviews onto payroll and pay them out that way?!?!?!

That is true, you are to add all temporary employees to payroll and have them fill out all the onboarding documents.  At the end of the temp’s shift, you need to contact your payroll company, give them the hours the temp worked and they will calculate for you the amount that is to be paid, withholding taxes, and write them a check in that amount. In many cases, easy online payroll calculators are available depending on your payroll provider and can save you a lot of time making this a fast and easy process. We recommend you ask your specific payroll provider for more info. 

HINT: If you have ever let someone go from your office, it is the exact same process.
If you are looking to keep the number of dental temps you add to your payroll down, check out the post How to Hire Dental Temps in California.

**PLEASE NOTE:  This is not legal advice and you should work with an employment lawyer or CPA to ensure you are staying compliant with California Labor Laws.

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