The IRS Is Coming for Your Payroll Protection Loan

by Evil HR Lady on May 15, 2020

So many businesses took out Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loans that the program’s first tranche maxed out in a few days. Many see this as the only way to save their small businesses. Now, the Internal Revenue Service says it wants a cut. 

Typically, wages are tax-deductible, but for those who use the forgivable portion of a PPP loan to pay employees, those wages will be fully taxable, according to a recent IRS ruling

That’s a significant blow to small businesses. Kiplinger’s laid out what the actual costs will look like:

To keep reading, click here: The IRS Is Coming for Your Payroll Protection Loan

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When your commute is only 30 seconds long and doesn’t even require pants, it’s easy to think that a whole lot of stress is gone. And, sure that commuting stress is gone, but so is your time to sit alone and listen to a podcast

Working from home can cause a different kind of burnout. One, where you don’t know when work begins and ends, and where you never really have any time off. You’re always at the office, so therefore, you’re always working.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can set clear boundaries between work time and play time, but that only works if you have a supportive manager.

So, managers: Here’s how to be supportive.

It’s almost never an emergency

Some industries have traditions of long work hours. People know this going into it. Fine. Some businesses have busy seasons where everyone knows that working 80 hours a week is expected. But, when you tell your employee that they have to work on this NOW because it’s an emergency, it’s probably not true.

To keep reading, click here: Your Work from Home Employees Are Burning Out. You Can Help

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When you take part in a Zoom meeting, you can see your own face on the screen and you should be fully aware that your coworkers can see you and whatever is behind you. This has resulted in some hilarious situations as children, pets, and spouses have wandered into meetings.

But, it’s also possible that your boss is watching you when you’re not aware of it. Or it’s possible that your boss is watching your family when they aren’t aware of it. If you’re not in a meeting, your spouse may think it’s okay to come in and change his clothes in the bedroom where you’re working, but whoopsie, the boss gets a show.

It’s not just video cameras, it can also be screen monitoring. The New York Times reports that Hubstaff, a software company that provides tracking screenshots to bosses, has tripled their sales since March–that’s when everyone who could work at home started working at home. 

To keep reading, click here: How to Keep Remote Employees on Task Without Spying On Them

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The Covid-19 shutdowns have struck the travel industry, and so it’s no surprise that Airbnb needs to layoff workers. What is surprising is the way Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky went about it. He released a letter to Airbnb staff, explaining the layoff. Here’s what he did right.

Explained the situation

These are unusual times, and of course, every Airbnb employee knows that the business is not doing well right now. Sometimes, you need to do a layoff even when the overall health of the company is excellent, but you need to take a different turn. Regardless, Chesky explains clearly:

Let me start with how we arrived at this decision. We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill. Airbnb’s business has been hit hard, with revenue this year forecasted to be less than half of what we earned in 2019. In response, we raised $2 billion in capital and dramatically cut costs that touched nearly every corner of Airbnb. 

To keep reading, click here: Airbnb’s CEO Shows All Businesses How to Conduct Layoffs

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I talk about when things get back to “normal” all the time, but that’s never happening. We will be creating a new normal after all the stay at home orders are lifted. What will HR look like in this new world? Well, here are some guesses.

More knowledgeable HR

Human resources is a multi-disciplinary field. You need to be everything from a finance expert to a therapist to a salesperson to a lawyer if you want to do everything right. This is especially the case for HR generalists in smaller businesses who have to do it all.

During these last few weeks, HR and employee relations people have had changes thrown at them at top speed. The Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) added new programs for small businesses that required knowledgeable HR. The Payroll Protection Program put requirements around how many people you could terminate and how your payroll needed to look. These things fell squarely on the heads of the HR managers. Those are only two of the many, many changes HR had to sort through.

To keep reading, click here: The Post-Covid-19 World: 4 Ways HR Will Look Different in the “New Normal”

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The United States Senior Women’s National Soccer Team (WNT) is a crowd pleaser and they won last year’s World Cup Title. Their paychecks, however, were a lot less than the United States Senior Men’s National Soccer Team (MNT). So, they sued under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Code.

A judge just tossed out the Equal Pay Act portion, allowing the Civil Rights claims to continue.

Why?

It turns out that the women made more per game than the men. The men just played a lot more games. And they also had a very different contract than the men’s team. The United States Soccer Federation offered the WNT the same contract as the men, but they rejected it for one with less risk.

If they had had miserable seasons, they would have come out ahead on their plan, but they had a fantastic run–and if they had chosen the same plan as the men’s team they would have been paid much better.

The court, however, said, that what-ifs are not how life works. Judge Klausner wrote:

“The history of negotiations between the parties demonstrates that the WNT rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure as the MNT, and the WNT was willing to forgo higher bonuses for benefits, such as greater base compensation and the guarantee of a higher number of contracted players.”

The women made a choice and the men made a different choice.

Outside of professional soccer, men with full-time jobs work an average of 41 hours per week, while women work an average of 36.3 hours per week. Harvard Economics Professor Claudia Goldman found that women preferred flexibility over salary; security over high risk and high reward. Most of the gender pay gap can be explained by these types of choices.

The WNT team had the option to choose the high risk/high reward contract as the MNT did, but they preferred a more sure thing. They negotiated severance, injury pay, a minimum number of players, retirement benefits, and other things that the Men’s team doesn’t have. 

It’s okay to make a choice on what is important to you, but it’s not fair to turn around and sue when it doesn’t go your way.

The WNT didn’t go in naively. They negotiated these things, knowing what the MNT had. Negotiating for retirement benefits is a smart thing, but it also lessened their total compensation in the present. 

The WNT plans to appeal and the general gender discrimination case will continue. 

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So What Does Hiring Look Like Now?

by Evil HR Lady on May 4, 2020

Despite the staggering increase in layoffs over the past couple of months, some companies are still hiring. Amazon, for example, has hired more than 100,000 employees in four weeks and has plans to hire 75,000 more. In addition to increased demand for essential workers, like warehouse employees, pharmacy and grocery store workers and healthcare providers, there are several other industries adding to their ranks, from video conferencing and cybersecurity companies to video streaming and online gaming providers. 

But how, exactly, are businesses going about hiring when people can’t come in for interviews? Even those who aren’t currently hiring—but hope to a few weeks or months from now—will need to rethink the process. Here are the steps several companies are taking, as well as a few important reminders to consider.

1) Prioritizing Video for Interviews

We conduct face-to-face interviews because that’s how we’ve always done it, but today’s technology gives us options. For many, working from home has become the new normal—even late-night talk show hosts are broadcasting from their living rooms (albeit with professionals pulling everything together). So trust in your ability to successfully conduct a remote interview via Zoom or other video conferencing platform. Don’t make the mistake that the Alignable CEO is making: refusing to hire until he can meet candidates in-person because of worries around cultural fit.

To keep reading, click here: So What Does Hiring Look Like Now?

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Why Some Employees Don’t Want You to Reopen

by Evil HR Lady on April 30, 2020

Jamie Black-Lewis owns two spas that had to close due to Coronavirus shutdowns. Like many other small business owners, she applied for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Plan. In order to be forgivable, she needs her employees to come back to work and to use most of that money on payroll.

They don’t want to come back to work.

Why? They make more money with unemployment than they do with their regular paychecks.

But, it’s more complicated than that. Here’s what you should know about why employees don’t want to come back.

Tipped employees

Spa services are tipped services and Black-Lewis’s spas are closed. While there’s probably plenty of work to be done, there aren’t any tipping customers. 

To keep reading, click here: Why Some Employees Don’t Want You to Reopen

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Why It’s Okay to Hate Working from Home

by Evil HR Lady on April 29, 2020

In the past, survey after survey showed that the majority of people want to work from home. Well, now we’ve had a chance. For the past six weeks or so, every job that could be done from home has been done from home. And you know what? It’s okay to hate it.

While this world-wide shutdown didn’t happen to test out just how effective working from home is, it’s been a nice side effect. And some people have discovered that they hate it.

Now, it’s important to remember that Coronacommuting is not the same as normal telecommuting. When you work from home in regular times, your kids are at school, the cafés are open, and you’re not concerned about you or your loved ones dying. So, don’t think this is how working from home has to be. It isn’t. But, even working from home during normal times isn’t something that works for everyone. 

To keep reading, click here: Why It’s Okay to Hate Working from Home

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My “position” was called back to our store after furlough but I was not. My coworker,  who I trained and share the position with, was called back yesterday. No one will answer my calls or questions about my possible return. I am 58 years old and have had higher evaluation scores than my coworker. Is this a case for age discrimination? They will not tell me that I am laid off yet but they are not having me return to work alongside my coworker. Any advice would be appreciated.

From the information here, I can’t say for sure whether this is age discrimination. There could be a zillion reasons why your coworker was called back and you were not. You may be a better overall employee, but she can do X better than you can and they really need someone to do X. Or, perhaps she has more availability than you do. Or, they only needed to call back ten employees, they put everyone name’s in a hat, and pulled out the first ten. All are possible.

It’s also possible that it is age discrimination. They prefer younger workers or their unconscious biases make them discount your higher performance evaluations because naturally younger workers are harder workers.

It’s also possible that they are concerned about you. The older you get, the more likely you are to suffer serious consequences and death from Covid-19. So, they may think they are being nice in not bringing you back. After all, if you’re furloughed, you’re receiving unemployment pay and they’ll bring you back when it’s safer.

It sounds nice. It is nice. It’s also illegal.

It’s either age discrimination or an ADA violation when an employer decides not to bring you back based on your protected characteristic. They may think they are being kind–especially if you’re getting unemployment with the enhanced $600 payment.

Now, of course, it’s perfectly legal for you to happily take your unemployment check and wait for the next round of recalls. But, you can also file a complaint. They may not be responding now, but they will respond if you send an email labeled “Official Complaint of Age Discrimination.”

However, in this case, I suspect you’ll catch more flies with honey. Try reaching out and explaining that you’re anxious to return to work. Give them a chance to respond and if they say no, follow up. If you still feel like it’s age discrimination at that point, make the formal complaint.

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