A recent report in FORBES magazine discussed a situation that a number of business owners have found themselves in, and architectural glass company owners are no exception.
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits to workers who have been let go or furloughed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Add to that state unemployment that can range from a high of $790 a week in Washington State to a low of $235 a week in Mississippi and many workers will receive $1,000 a week to stay home.
As architectural glass companies work to reopen, they are hearing from workers who want to stay home instead. This is especially problematic for companies that received funds through the Payment Protection Program (PPP), which requires 75% of the funds be used on salaries and used in eight weeks in order for the loan to be forgiven.
“We got PPP funding and told our guys to come back,” said one retail shop owner in the Midwest who preferred not to be identified. “Two of them told me they could make almost as much by staying home so that was what they were going to do. So I can’t bring everyone back, even though I want to.”
Michael Collins, partner and managing director of Building Industry Advisors LLC, addressed the issue in a recent webinar hosted by the Fenestration & Glazing Industry Alliance. He pointed out that last year, companies were concerned about hiring and retaining workers, but the current situation has forced some companies to lay off workers.
“Some unemployment benefits have enhanced payments so that some workers are getting paid more,” he said. “Some companies are paying bonuses designed to last as long as the benefits will last to get employees back.”
Some states are beginning to address the issue. Ohio, for example, is asking employers to let them know when workers won’t return to work and other states are expected to follow suit. In the meantime, it remains a problem for some employers which isn’t expected to abate until after the extra funding ends. Right now, it is scheduled to end July 25 if Congress does not extend it.