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Tim Twigg is the cofounder of Bent Ericksen Associates. On this podcast, we discuss HR and employment factors relating to COVID-19 closures.

Tim Twigg is the co-owner of Bent Ericksen HR. We are focusing on HR amid Covid-19 closures. The new HR6210 bill was signed. It starts on April 1st and ends on December 31st. There is a 30-day grace period from March 18th-April 18th. It applies to companies with less than 100 people. They will initially focus on compliance. Being able to qualify as an employee is a rather stringent process.

For employee sick leave, if they qualify for one type, it is paid at 100% up to a max of $511/ day. If they qualify for another type, it is at 2/3 of their regular pay, up to $200/ day. A person gets up to 80 hours of sick pay if they are full-time employees, otherwise, it is prorated based on hours. For family leave it is a maximum of 12 weeks for full-time employees. The first two weeks are unpaid.

Employers with less than 25 employees, there is an exemption that says you may not be required to rehire them. There is no double-dipping with sick leave or unemployment benefits. If you provide insurance, you have to continue providing that benefit. You will be reimbursed for fees paid on your taxes.

Make sure to document everything such as closures that require family leave.

Now is a great time to audit everything from charts and treatment plans to expired items of paperwork.

If you have a higher wage worker, you can temporarily reduce pay that reflects the work they are actually performing.

What can we do if we have an immunocompromised employee that refuses to come back to work? You can do an unpaid leave, or take it as a voluntary resignation, but check your environment to make sure you are in compliance with CDC standards.

If you are running a skeleton crew, you can do reduced hours or no hours and furloughed employees. If you are doing a true layoff, you will pay a final paycheck or pay as they take on hours. You will need paperwork stating the termination. Check your state guidelines on rehiring to know if the level of their benefits must be reinstated.

To be eligible for sick leave after April 1st. they are not eligible if the business is closed or they are receiving no hours. They are eligible if they are receiving hours and the business is open. If terminated after April 1st, they are eligible from April 1st until the termination date.

On opening, you can do a gradual open or a full open from day one. You will probably have patients who have concerns over cleanliness and sterilization, so be mindful.

In regards to the CARES act, there are $10,000 grants in conjunction with an SBA loan. It is designed to help you until the loan comes through. The two types of loans are economic disaster loans and a paycheck protection program. Parts of these loans can be forgiven if it is necessary to keep open your operation or that you are using the proceeds to maintain payroll. Loan amounts can be 2.5 times the amount of your monthly payroll. Loan forgiveness is reduced if you cut your staff or hours by more than 25%. You have until June 30th to evaluate which will be more beneficial and bring your team back.

Salaries over $100,000 are not eligible for loan forgiveness, so check with your accountant or financial planner on how to strategize this.

For unemployment, the pay is typically half the regular earnings. The CARES Act has extended the unemployment benefits window to 39 weeks and many states have lifted the 2-week waiting period. Keep in mind that all of these benefits are taxable. The $600 additional benefit is aimed to alleviate the difference. If you offer a job to someone who is on unemployment and they reject the offer, their benefits can be revoked.

Keep excellent records and be thorough if you’re taking advantage of grants or tax credits. On reopening, start working on emergency cash reserves to prepare for emergencies in the future. It is also a time to clarify your policies

What can we do if we try to rehire and they try to stay in unemployment? There is no mandate to the states that they pay the $600 extra to everyone. They may opt to restructure their formula.

If someone rejects a job, how does unemployment know? It is about answering truthfully. If you offer and they reject, you do have a right to report them to unemployment.

If we start working with you now, will you be able to help navigate this? Yes, that is what they do for dental offices every day.

Who pays for all of this? The government pays for leave and additional unemployment. You have always paid for unemployment.