Put your H/R questions here!

We here at the COVID Business Forum would like to gather the SECOND ROUND of H/R related questions to put in front of our attorney resource, Kerin Stackpole, who was so good last time. Tonight on the webinar, we will direct everyone who still has an H/R question to reply to THIS thread, after which I’ll gather up all the questions and try to get them answered ASAP. I’ll look through other threads as well, but putting all of the questions in one place is really helpful.


We have an employee with Covid. Prior to becoming sick, all staff were working only every other day, so either 3 days week or 2 days. We only have 11 total employees. We think we need to pay her for up to 14 sick days due to the CARES act - at full pay, even though that was not her work schedule prior to getting sick. Is this correct?

Sorry if I am asking this twice…new to the forum…staff of 13 rural solo…been in practice almost 27 years…just got ppp on tues…and one RN who has been on voluntary layoff has resigned ( scared of covid)…I heard that if the loan amt is too much one can tell PPP by may7th…should I call and get the amount reduced so I meet the forgiveness requirements?

Still struggling with the specifics of PPP use for payroll -
We have cut most of our hourly employees down to half or less of their regular hours, and those employees have begun to collect partial unemployment. Now that we have received our PPP funds are we supposed to start paying them for the numbers of hours that they used to work even though they arent actually working those hours? Or do we pay them the hours they are actually working (in which case they’d still collect some UE benefits) and we can gradually get them back up to the hours they used to work (and hopefully get them back to 75% of what they used to work by June 30).
Second question (closely related) - what happens if there are PPP funds that we have not used by the 8 week mark? Do we have to return the unused funds? Or can we keep using it as any regular unforgiveable loan would be used?
Thank you for all you are doing to help us all navigate these trying times!

If we do not use all of the PPP due to FMLA employees don’t we simply lose some of the forgiveness and return the unused portion?

If we have employees out due to child care during this time and are using the extended paid sick leave and extended fmla, do they also qualify for unemployment?

Employees out on PPCRA leave (paid sick leave, extended FMLA) are considered employed by you and count towards your PPP FTE numbers. Their wages are not expensible under PPP (you get reimbursed through payroll tax credits, not the PPP) but you only have to hit 75% of your usual wage base.

No. You can’t qualify for both leave and unemployment simultaneously. Remember, one of the definitions of unemployment is “ready to work and seeking full time work.” If you’re out on leave, you are not ready to work. The employee can’t have it both ways.

Here’s our plan for PPP money and I want to see how best to do this (if it’s a reasonable plan) with respect to recording hours:
We’d like to use our PPP money to put everyone back at 100% of last year’s salary. We’d also like to cover lost wages from the last 6 weeks AND pay them for any PTO that our staff had to use to not lose too many earnings the last 6 weeks. Can we do this? And is it best to do this as a bonus/lump sum? Or to increase their hours worked in order to make this happen? (which would help our FTE counts but may not be the most accurate way from an accounting standpoint to disperse this make up pay). Can either way of making up lost wages count as forgivable spending?
We’d also like to pay ourselves (partners/owners/MDs) admin time (we don’t normally). Is this forgiveable as long as we are <100k/yr rate?

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I have an elderly front desk staff who usually works 8-10 hours a week, as of 3/15 she decided she didn’t feel safe coming in. We have not replaced her hours. Will I be ok under PPP not paying her since she isn’t working? Her job is still hers, she is still an employee, and hopefully will come back this summer, but I don’t expect she’ll be back in the next 8wks. We have 6.5 FTEs as a practice. Thanks!

You have furloughed your elderly employee. Furloughed employees don’t count towards PPP forgiveness in either FTE counts or wage base.

I thought furloughed ment “to lay off” I have not laid her off, she has chosen not to come to work. Thanks

No. Furloughed = not assigned any hours to work but you still employ, and you both have the expectation that she will come back at some point in the future. (Think of furlough as being an unpaid leave for lack of work.) In layoffs, the employer/employee relationship is terminated, and there’s no expectation of future work/a return.

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Suzanne, by saying furloughed employees don’t count, do you mean that you do not need to add them into your calculation for FTEs and wages before and during your PPP period? I thought they had to count towards your FTE and wages count before your PPP, into your baseline, but then that will end up hurting you because they don’t make any wages or count towards your FTE hours during the PPP period. Can you clarify that? If we don’t have to count them into our prior FTE total, that’d be nice.


We just got our PPP approved and got funding. I was thinking of readjusting our staffing-- instead of re-hiring the NP and a MA (the latter who I think is still afraid to come back), I would hire a marketing person and an IT person to re-build up the practice before I really need to get a NP and another MA onboard. I doubt that we will be up to capacity in order for the clinical positions to be useful, while these other, perhaps temporary, positions are more valuable now I was also thinking of giving a raise to the staff who stayed on at work during these times. Thoughts, please. I want to add the staff soon.

If an employee was not furloughed during your baseline period (prior to PPP), then you count the employee’s FTE and wages in your baseline.

If (the example given) employee is then furloughed during your PPP period, they do not count.towards FTE and wage base in your PPP period.

The delta between your baseline and June 30 is what potentially affects your PPP forgiveness. Anyone who is on a different “status” (part time instead of full time; furloughed instead of part time) earning reduced wages from baseline potentially reduces PPP forgiveness.

Do you mean that you do not need to add them into your calculation for FTEs and wages before and during your PPP period? No. They go in your “before”. They go in your “during” as 0 FTEs and 0 hours/dollars.

I thought they had to count towards your FTE and wages count before your PPP, into your baseline, but then that will end up hurting you because they don’t make any wages or count towards your FTE hours during the PPP period. Correct.

All that said: don’t make bad business decisions simply to get money forgiven. I know of one person who wondered whether to fire a thief immediately or wait till June 30 so if wouldn’t affect her PPP forgiveness!.

This question may be in the list already, but I haven’t had time to look through it yet. Regarding the new FMLA regulations or businesses with < 500 employees, is there a place to specifically opt out of this or do we not have to request an opt out since we are a healthcare office?

I have had a locum tenens person through an agency for the last eight months replacing a doc who left. Should I have included the money I paid the agency in my payroll for last year? And can I include that money in my payroll towards forgiveness? This is all thru an agency so we take out no taxes and she gets no benefits.

Okay, here’s one more scenario that we need help with. Last year at this time, we bonused ourselves and our employees (lucky us!). That was a one time, semi-annual bonus that we were lucky enough to hand out. Do we have to count that in our “same time period last year” wage total? Or is it just baseline salaries? On our payroll journal and documentation, it is clearly differentiated.
Thanks for being so great about answering these questions!

If you paid it as taxable wages during your base period, you have to count it in your baseline. It doesn’t matter whether you called it “salary” or “bonus” or “commissions” or “cash tips” or “booyah.”