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HR Dept says we're not "essential"

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by myront, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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    So, our payroll company says we are nonessential. The way I read it we are. We're providing signs for military pertaining to Covid-19. Also providing signs for county sheriff, various city police, food agencies, and local hospitals.

    We are an LLC. 1 owner and 8 employees.

    What say you?
     
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  2. bannertime

    bannertime Very Active Member

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    No
    I say that we're in the public information industry and that assisting disseminating vital information is a part of our job and therefore makes our industry essential. I think their are some shops that don't need to be open. Like the flea market sticker shop people. Places like yours are critical. All but maybe 8 out of 10 orders has been COVID19 specific. CAN the country go without signs and floor graphics for a few months? Probably, but they're still a big part of order and efficiency.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    If you aren't the owner you have no say in the matter. I'm a sole proprietor/home based. Even though I can still work from home I took myself out of the equation voluntarily. Next door neighbors brother and sister-in-law are in the local hospital with Covid19. She's gets to go home today or tomorrow, he probably isn't going to make it. As of yesterday can only move his eyes.

    Think about that for a while and decide how important your paycheck is.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  4. Greg Kelm

    Greg Kelm Member

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    I'd find a new payroll company if they refuse to process for you. Not that it is any of their business, tell them everyone is working remotely.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  5. LarryB

    LarryB Member

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    If my payroll company told me that I would tell them they are non essential to me and find a new company.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  6. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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    Wouldn't mind the time off as long as it's paid or allow me to use some of my paid vacation
     
  7. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Who cares if they say you are non-essential? They are still processing paychecks right? If not I would think that would be a HUGE problem for them.
     
  8. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Curious, why not run payroll in house with that few employees? I've thought about finding a payroll service to keep from worrying about the IRS but always assumed it wouldn't be cost effective...
     
  9. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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    I agree, payroll should have no say in the matter. The boss is the one who has to sign the big check to them first then they just disperse it. I'm told we're to have a meeting before COB today as the Governor mandated shut down takes effect midnight tonight.
     
  10. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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    401k, medical, dental, vision, supplemental medical, vacation pay, sick pay, etc. Sounds intimidating to me but I've never owned a company before. Not even sure what an employers cost is to hire a payroll company.
     
  11. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Active Member

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    Homeland security has a list, it didn't seem to have a bunch of wiggle room but there was a lot more on there than I would have thought. Since your payroll co usually handles your workers comp, they kind of do have a say so. If someone got this virus and spread it to employees at work when you were not supposed to be open it would be a big problem.
     
  12. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    My shop is fairly small too. We have 7 employees and were in the process of hiring 2 new employees when Covid hit. Needless to say, the additional hires are on hold. We have continued to operate though.

    We applied with our state to be declared an essential service, but they have been too bogged down to give us a ruling. I would definitely consider our services essential. Since this began, our local hospital and health clinics have ordered 50+ message boards and dozens of banners and lawn signs with instructions for patients. Not to mention signage for nearby town administrators and many local restaurants and our city's food shelf. There are a few other jobs that trickle in, but nothing like it was before. We are priority Covid. Always same or next day turnaround on all crisis related projects. We are also in the process of starting a Covid-19 education program with our city's mayor. Producing hundreds of lawn signs, banners etc with different tips and advice to place throughout the city. For all the cynics, this is a zero profit project.

    We have all our applications ready and are applying for the paycheck protection plan through our local lender. Great program where wages and some other operating expenses are loaned and forgiven for 8 weeks.

    I have also changed everyone's schedule to try to spread our staff out as much as possible. Weekends are pretty relative at this point, so 3 employees have taken weekend shifts and 2 other employees work exclusively from home. The max number we have in house at any time is 4, but more often only 3. We have also gone to (4) 10hr days for a few employees. Also staggering start/stop times to further limit contact. Everyone keeps their distance and every two hours, I have them all disinfect their tools, equipment, cell phones, keyboards, etc, as well as requiring mandatory hand washing. I even went so far as making them all watch a proper hand washing video.

    All customer handoffs are curbside. Any vehicles that come in for graphics are pre-paid online or over the phone, keys are left in the vehicle, gloves are used when moving the vehicle, then they are parked back outside with the keys in them when install is complete. Deliveries are left outside as well. Nobody comes in our doors and no direct contact is made with customers, vendors or delivery people.

    Any installs or site visits are done at a distance. We have been coning off a perimeter around our work areas and trying to only do off hours installs.

    Most importantly, I am in constant contact (at 6' +) with my employees. We have had weekly meetings and I ask for them to voice their concerns and suggestions. I make it very clear that nobody comes to work if they even have a sniffle. I also make it very very clear that if at any point, anyone feels unsafe at work, they do not have to come in. Their jobs will be there when this clears and no ill will for anybody who makes that decision.

    My heart goes out to your neighbors rjssigns. It truly does. This is a horrible time and we are all faced with impossible decisions every day. But, at least in my opinion, our services are essential. Are we 100% safe when we come in to work? Absolutely not, but we try. It may reach a point where I feel the acceptable risk is too high, but for now, we soldier on and do the best that we can.

    If anyone else has workplace practices that would be useful in these times, I would love to hear them. We are trying to stay on top of this, but there is always room for improvement.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. brycesteiner

    brycesteiner Member

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    Why is a payroll company questioning you? They're job is payroll and your's is signs. I can't imagine you telling them how to do their job.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. netsol

    netsol Active Member

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    so you are right and wrong at the sme time
    the payroll company is your "compliance officer" for thousands of federal and state regulations you are not even aware of. it's a very steep curve, depending on the size of the company. ask anyone of your customers with more than 50 or more than 100 employees how often this happens

    i am sure the payroll company is doing this because the governor's order compells them to

    now i understand better how enforcement will work. once things are back to normal, you will see fines levied and if you want to fight them, you will go before an administrative law judge. an lawyer who handed this type of case for bars and liquor stores used to tell clients "it's too bad you didn't murder someone, at least in that kind of proceeding, you at least have clearly defined rights"
     
  15. Stacey K

    Stacey K Getting Back in the Game

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    I'm most concerned about doing vehicle graphics. I don't have an inside shop so I use a buddies and I don't want to go there anymore. I also do not want to get inside anyone's vehicle especially those contractors that are in and out of peoples homes all day. The weather here in WI isn't the most cooperative for doing them outside...but that is the only way I will do them.
     
  16. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Netsol has a point, we rely on our payroll company to make sure we are in compliance with a lot of regulations.
    But in the end they are a service working for us, so they can let us know about a possible issue, but we make the decision.
    We have clients in emergency apparatus, grocery, municipal, port services etc. So we are open.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  17. Joe House

    Joe House Active Member

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    A letter we received from the ISA makes the case pretty clearly:

    March 25, 2020

    Dear NASSD Members:

    The International Sign Association has provided the below language to various state organizations and federal agencies urging them to include sign and graphics companies as “essential businesses” or “critical infrastructure” as states and localities enact business closures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Please feel free to send to your sign company customers and to any state or local officials with whom you have contact.

    Sign and graphics companies provide critical supply chain and construction services to every typical “essential business” or “critical infrastructure” that is being allowed in states and localities under “shutdown” orders. Most importantly, signs are vital to healthcare facilities. Our public health buildings require constant and ever-changing emergency directional signs, health and safety warning signs, and patient information and instruction signs.

    In addition, we serve other important “essential” industries. Whether it’s lawn signs in front of a restaurant directing drivers to the curbside pickup location, window signs in grocery stores advertising that toilet paper is in stock, a bank’s digital sign broadcasting critical public service messages to a community, illuminated signs at a gas station that need to be visible at night, or banners indicating that a pharmacy is open during these days of uncertainty, the sign and graphics industry plays a key role in helping these “essential businesses” communicate important information with the general public.

    If sign and graphics companies are required to shut down, consider the ramifications for their “essential business” customers. It will be impossible for these “essential businesses” to serve the public as effectively without the latest visual communications to inform and direct citizens. The situation across the country is incredibly fluid and changing every day, and these “essential businesses” need to have their signage updated as quickly and as flexibly as possible by their sign and graphics providers. Every day during this pandemic, our “essential” customers are asking us for their signs!

    The importance of signs and graphics to provide directions, information, warnings, wayfinding and other visual communications in our communities is more urgent than ever, and sign and graphics companies must be kept open to meet this critical and everexpanding need. It is essential to support the more than 30,000 sign and graphics companies in the United States, and their millions of “essential business” customers, by including them under the “critical infrastructure” or “essential businesses” classification as soon as possible.

    Sincerely,

    Lori Anderson
    President & CEO
    International Sign Association
     
    • Like Like x 2
  18. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

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    Shop has been dead for a minute now. Then yesterday and today, boom. I probably would not be here and would be home babysitting my two grandsons with my wife but the other half of my ware housing is my rum distillery and I am making hand sanitizer for several counties. Both my daughters are nurses so we are keeping the kids during this pandemic. We can only make sanitizer until June 30th (if not extended) because it is in such demand. The government has allowed beverage distilleries to make industrial alcohol until then to help get stock up and we were asked if we could help.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  19. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    I'm sure you are plenty tidy, but all I can imagine is a CNC router in one corner, and the distillery in the other, and selling rum with silver chips in it akin to goldschlager!
     
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 2
  20. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    The term "essential" is variable and quite gray. I see lots of so called essential workers running all over my neighborhood and sign shops and other businesses still open. All well and good until someone in that business/shop gets the virus. Now you've opened yourself to a law suit of epic proportions. You really want to go there?
     
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