Last week the CDA held a Webinar to address your COVID-19 HR Concerns. We attended and have summarized the basic points for your convenience. If desired you can view the entire webinar here,
I do want to point out that Ali Oromchian, the Founder of HR for Health and the gentleman who ran the webinar, made it very clear that things are changing daily and it is best to stay informed when making business and HR decisions.
Please also note that I tried to pay very close attention, but included the link to the webinar for you to listen to incase I misinterpreted something. This is by no means legal advice and we recommend you consult your legal or financial advisor for clarification.
Ali Oromchian broke this webinar into 6 major sections.
- PTO, sick and vacation pay
- Bank Loans and Rent
- SBA Assistance
- Employee and patient issues
You do not need to fire your employees for them to receive unemployment benefits. If your office is closed and they are unable to receive hours, they can file. They should file right away as it will most likely take up to 4 weeks for them to start receiving benefits.
Dentists/Practice owners and their spouses (if they work for you) can also apply for Unemployment, however, the state is cautious about business owners receiving benefits, so make sure you answer all questions honestly in case you are audited.
If you have an associate dentist and they are paid out 1099, they technically can apply for unemployment, however in order to receive it they would most likely be considered mischaracterized, which would allow them unemployment, but then your office and all your employees could be audited.
#2 PTO, Sick & Vacation Pay
Your employees are entitled to their PTO and Sick pay immediately. Those items are considered earned wages, meaning it is already their money. If they ask for it, you must pay it out.
Can you force PTO and sick pay on your employees if they don’t want it? Ali says it is best to refer to your employee handbook in that case.
#3 Bank Loans and Rent
When it comes to loans, most lenders are offering deferments of 3 to 6 months. Reach out to your lenders and see what they are offering.
With your rent, you will want to refer to your lease. Ali doesn’t feel like many landlords can afford to be flexible with your rent pay. He suggests that after paying out your employees, rent would be the #1 thing he would allocate funds to every month.
He highly suggests that you DO NOT PAY 3rd parties who advertise to get your rent deferred. It wont work and you will lose that money you could have paid towards your rent.
#4 SBA Assistance
The SBA has jumped into action and can assist you in getting a loan up to $2 million with an excellent interest rate if your business is in need.
To qualify you need to be in a state or county that issued closure due to the Coronavirus. All of California is included in this.
Again, Ali says not to use 3rd parties who advertise assistance. The process to apply is quick and easy and you can do so here.
#5 Employee and Patient Issues:
CDA continues to update and since this Webinar took place on 3/20/20 there has been further clarification.
As of 3/22/20, due to the “Shelter in Place” order, you should only see Life-Threatening dental emergencies and your office must have all the proper PPE.
“This recommendation does not limit dentists from seeing patients that they determine to have a condition needing emergency dental care. Dental emergencies should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate and necessary timing of in-person treatment.”
Do you get any assistance from Insurance?
Read your policy and/or call them. However Ali believes that your Business Interruption Insurance and your Business Overhead Insurance are most likely not going to be useful in this situation.
And lastly he covers the H.R. 6201 law that was just signed and will go into affect April 2nd. He covered this right around the 26 minute mark and I highly recommend you listen to it yourself as it gets very complicated and it sounds like a lot of it is up in the air. But during this time he covers all the possible changes to OSHA, the Emergency Family Medical Leave Act and Paid Sick Leave.
The CDA continues to update on H.R. 6201 so check for updates.
If you have any other resources that you feel would be useful to your fellow dentists during this time please share them in the comments or email them to me at [email protected].