Originally published on Racine County Eye June 4, 2020
NOTE: Since this was published the SBA has updated the guidelines for forgiveness a couple of times. Please check the SBA site for updated information.
Admittedly it’s been a rough few months to be a small business owner, especially if your work could not easily shift to be done at home. We’ve all had sleepless nights worrying about how we were going to take care of the people that rely on us to stay in business. I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when the SBA announced the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan fund to help cover wages and other costs associated with retaining employees. One of the most attractive parts of the PPP was that it could be forgiven if certain things occurred, but most of us applied even before there was full guidance in this area and have been flying a bit blind.
In recent days the SBA has issued the requirements for loan forgiveness and it has raised lots of people-related questions. It’s going to be very important for owners to get this piece right to get the maximum amount of money forgiven. Also, the clock is ticking since you only have 8 weeks from the time your loan was made to rehire and get your staffing levels back to where they were. For most people, that’s the end of June. That means you have about three weeks from today to get back to the headcount you had in February. Hiring right now is harder than you would think.
What happens if your employees don’t want to return to work after you offer them their jobs back? What if you need to hire but can’t find enough qualified people before the end of the forgiveness period? What if your business is slow now, how many people do you need to actually retain and still qualify for forgiveness? What if you need to fire an employee for a legitimate reason, does this jeopardize forgiveness?
So many of these are questions that fall into areas that most small business owners don’t have time or the qualifications to deal. They fall into an area jointly shared by accounting and human resources, so this is a people + numbers equation. Let’s be honest, you have so many other things to worry about right now like new cleaning protocols and regaining traction with customers that, although you know that hiring is important, you may be procrastinating on it a bit.
So, how’s it going for you so far? Are you ready for the end of June deadline?
Polaris Talent Small Business Services can help with all your PPP-related HR needs so you can sleep easy at night.
If you are struggling to find qualified employees, we can help you post the job and screen the applicants for you. We’ll take the paper-pushing burden off your hands and pass along the people that we think you should talk to. If you don’t have an easy process for documenting an offer or keeping track of offers that are declined so you can prove the good faith offer, we can help with that too. Do you know how to properly document the reason for a termination when do you do fire someone? Yep, we can help with that too.
Polaris Talent Local is your on-demand HR partner for all people related-tasks from hiring to termination so you can focus on running your business and keeping your customers happy. Our roots in Racine go deep. We know the hiring and retention challenges of the Southeast Wisconsin area so give us a call ASAP and let us help you with the people side of qualifying for forgiveness of your PPP loan.