Door and Window Business Owners Grapple with Employees Who Don’t Want to Come Back

May 21st, 2020 by Editor

A recent report in FORBES magazine discussed a situation that a number of business owners have found themselves in, and door and window company owners are no exception.

The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides an additional $600 per 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 per week in Washington State to a low of $235 per week in Mississippi and many workers will receive $1,000 per week to stay home.

As door and window 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 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which requires 75% of the funds be used on salaries and used in 8 weeks in order for the loan to be forgiven.

“We lost a couple of our crew along the way that seemed to be more interested in maximizing the unemployment opportunity that was there, but for the most part we got back everyone that we had hoped,” said Ben Moeller, president of Moeller Door and Window in Saint Henry, Ohio. “For the most part our crew is paid enough that there wasn’t a major difference in income from going back to work or staying on the program. I hear rumblings from other local companies that seem to be struggling with this more than we are. Mostly those with lower wage positions.”

“I am torn on the matter. I feel that the unemployment portion of it has too much of an upside for being off of work … It’s going to be difficult to convince someone to go back to work right away when they may be able to take advantage of an elongated leave with better pay to be off work,” Moeller added.

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, 2020 if Congress doesn’t provide an extension.

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  1. In most states, failing to accept an offer of employment, and then filing a claim for that week’s unemployment benefit is considered fraud.

    Obviously, we don’t want to threaten an employee with reporting them, but for an owner that’s committed to PPP, I’d just say to the employee. “I think I know you well enough to know that you wouldn’t defraud the government, would you?”

    At least, give them something to think about…

  2. Many opinions surround this topic, and it was known when the act was created, this could occur. The length of layoffs, number of those layoffs and the covid issue was not fully known, but expected to be less impactful than we are seeing.
    It is time to get back to work, and stopping benefits, or reporting those unwilling workers to the state, are tools we should be using now. I hear rumblings about it where we are, and in our business, and it is a sickening trend we have created in our work force.

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