Do Employees Have to Return to Work Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic? It Depends., Atlanta Business Chronicle

April 29, 2020

In an Atlanta Business Chronicle article published on April 29, Glianny Fagundo provides insight into challenges employers are facing in using their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

Business owners applied for PPP funding to try to keep their businesses afloat and take care of their employees amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as they put workers back on the payroll, some employees would rather collect their larger unemployment check than return to their previous wages.

Some employers want to put employees back on the payroll but not necessarily reopen their businesses. However, for workers making about $15 an hour or less, the unemployment benefits are greater than their pay.

“This whole situation has been very, very difficult for small businesses. We’ve had many clients call very upset,” says Ms. Fagundo, adding that, “now that employers, some of whom paid workers for as long as they could from their own savings, are trying to call employees back to work and finding that they would rather collect unemployment.”

Many business owners who furloughed workers can begin giving them hours again now that they’ve received PPP loans. Those who choose not to return, would have to quit and therefore would not be eligible to file for benefits. There are reasons furloughed employees may not be able to return to work, and some of those are covered under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

“A lot of people are very frustrated. I’ve been trying to encourage everybody to have compassion toward each other and try to solve problems with talking,” Ms. Fagundo said. “Compromises can be reached. It takes a lot of patience on everybody’s part and a lot of compassion.”

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