Reluctant Returns

“I finally received my PPP (Payroll Protection Program) funds but I am finding it hard to get employees to return to work. Unemployment is either paying them more than they earned each week with me or at least enough so they’d rather not work for nearly the same money. What can I do?”

Your HR Survival Tip

You’re not alone with this particular dilemma! We have heard the same thing from several clients. Even those companies that don’t have PPP money but are ready to slowly start back up are having similar problems. However, the PPP money requires you to maintain a certain headcount for the funds to be forgiven so you may have to make a hard decision about those employees.

Employees First

Employees are often making more on unemployment right now due to the extra $600 they are getting each week. You could sympathize with their desire to receive more money right now and allow them to stay on unemployment. However, please keep in mind they are turning down work and therefore, legally, are committing fraud by continuing on unemployment… where they are attesting they are “willing and able to work” each week. You might also be adding to the fraud by not reporting they turned down work. One solution is to have enough employees come back at least part-time so they might still be eligible for some unemployment (and that $600). However, you may also need to start hiring more people immediately to meet the requirements for the forgiveness of your PPP money.

Business First

You’ve worked hard to make it possible to once again offer employees work and there’s a certain irony that the extra unemployment money is working against the requirements of the PPP money and your ability to reopen. If you inform employees of your reopen date, you will likely get some employees returning to work… reluctantly. If they turn you down or don’t show up, be prepared to accept that as a resignation and report it as such. If you can get by with offering part-time work and still meet the PPP requirements, great. However, be prepared to start hiring new people who are actually interested in getting back to work.

Report Fraud

If you want to report fraudulent claims when employees turn down work just so they can stay on unemployment, you can let EDD know at report fraud.

The Federal government might have had a great idea for supplementing unemployment but how they implemented that idea makes you the bad guy when you shut it off by having work available. Overall, we feel it’s more important right now that you can reopen, rehire, and use the PPP money as it’s meant to be used. Whether that’s with your previous employees or you have to hire a whole new team, it’s up to you on how you choose to move forward. Let us know if we can help.

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