Know your (temping) rights

For so many reasons, full-time employment may not work for every dental hygienist at every time of life. Temping is a way to stay involved in the profession, to earn extra money, to choose your own adventure, as it were. But it has its problems.

Some, unfortunately, come courtesy of human nature, and so will probably never go away—negative, surly, unappreciative practices, patients who don’t want to see anyone but their “regular” hygienist, and the like.

However, there’s one thing that is changing. Unscrupulous dental employers have long used employee misclassification as a way to avoid paying payroll taxes on the wages of temping hygienists. This practice is also used to avoid other legal responsibilities, such as health insurance and worker’s compensation.

Independent contract work has exploded in recent years in the United States, which has meant one thing—the federal government and states have started to feel it where it hurts: revenues. Dental employers who misclassify employees—unintentionally or not—will be facing greater scrutiny and enforcement.

It’s my hope that this development will greatly improve the temping experience for many hygienists. In the meantime, your best tool is knowing what is legal and what is not. To this end, this month we are featuring a comprehensive look at temping by Anne Guignon (page 20). In it, you’ll learn what’s great about temping, what’s not so great, and how to get the right legal treatment from your employer—in short, how to make temping work for you.

We also have a great piece from Amber Metro-Sanchez on paying down your student debt, and why it matters that you do, on page 26, as well as advice from Dianne Glasscoe Watterson on what you can do if your workplace’s staff meetings are nothing more than painful gripe sessions on page 28.

Amelia Williamson DeStefano, MA

Managing Editor

About the Author

Amelia Williamson DeStefano, MA

Amelia Williamson DeStefano, MA, is group editorial director of the Endeavor Business Media Dental Group, where she leads the publication of high-quality content that empowers oral-health professionals to advance patient well-being, succeed in business, and cultivate professional joy and fulfillment. She holds a master's in English Literature from the University of Tulsa and has worked in dental media since 2015.

Updated May 16, 2023