During my discussion with Tim Twigg of Bent Ericksen & Associates, my jaw dropped as he broke down clear and specific solutions to just about all of the human resource questions practice owners have in regards to COVID-19 induced mandates, loans, and payroll issues. In his presentation, Tim revealed exactly how HR issues stand now, illustrating his recommendations with detailed charts to represent all of the vital information we need to make the difficult choices necessary to support our practices’ sustainability.
As many of you know by now, from April 1st to December 21st of 2020, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6210) will remain in effect. The bill applies to all employers with less than 500 employees with some possible compliance exemptions still being considered. For now, everyone must comply, including dental practice owners.
It’s important to know that the bill has really strict and specific criteria designed to address COVID-19 issues with extended sick and family leave, outlined in six qualification requirements. If your employees qualify, your office must continue to supply their typical wages of up to $511 each day if they are ill due to COVID-19. Full-time employees can have up to 80 hours of sick leave while part-timers receive a prorated limit. If an employee is out on qualified family leave, he or she is entitled to 2/3 regular pay of up to $200 each day after two weeks of unpaid leave. Family leave can be up to 12 weeks if the employee is full-time, and prorated if the employee is part-time.
As Tim explains, these benefits cannot be used concurrently with unemployment, but family and sick leave can be initiated at the same time. In this case, a full-time employee can take two weeks of full salary sick leave and another 10 weeks with 2/3 salary of family leave. Their medical insurance must continue on leave, and company-accumulated vacation and sick leave hours may not be required for employees to use first, nor may such benefits be used concurrently with HR 6210 mandated leave.
The silver lining in all of this is that tax credits will be available to reimburse employers of all COVID-19-expenses due to employee leave outlined in HR 6210 provisions. Tim assured that if your tax-credits do not meet the amount of your COVID-19 related wage expenses that your business paid in response to HR 6210, a check will be sent to you. Tim encourages employers to store evidence of closed schools and childcare facilities, whether it be screenshots of closure notices on school websites or saved notification emails for future verification purposes.
Along with his list of varied suggestions on how to kickstart the reopening process, Tim encourages struggling practice owners to take advantage of employing a temporary DCWR, Different Capacity Work Rate, strategy. If making payroll is nearing the impossible without patients in the chair, you can have higher-paid employees such as dental hygienists take on new roles such as calling to reschedule appointments.
This will allow you to temporarily adjust wages to fit new roles. DCWR applies when an individual is doing a different type of work than normal and therefore receives a different rate of pay. This type of offset isn’t the easiest choice because it could comprise your team’s personal financial welfare, but it is an option if your business is backed into a corner and cash flow changes become essential for your practice’s survival. Contact Tim’s team for more information and access to a form that can prevent possible employee disputes or issues related to DCWR.
In my chat with Tim, he also breaks down issues such as unpaid wages, unused sick leave, required paperwork, reinstatement of benefits, and the applicability of HR 6210 for furloughed or permanently laid off staff members. Dive into our talk at 19:10 for more insight into these issues.
Tim goes on to note that in conjunction with SBA loans, the CARES Act offers $10,000 grants and two types of loans that have full or partial forgiveness potential. Grant qualifications include proof of immediate need and employee retention. Loans can be up to 2.5x the borrower’s average monthly payroll expenses. Loans may be forgiven if payroll is maintained and wage reductions are not decreased by more than 25%.
For information about the CARES Act, business loans, and how to best navigate human resource issues, Tim can be contacted for questions at 800-679-2760 or [email protected]. His team has also listed specific resources at https://bentericksen.com/coronavirus-faqs.
Find out about:
- How the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6210) applies to your staff members
- Unique solutions to payroll challenges
- Unemployment benefits and extensions: How it may affect your business
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