May 22, 2020—The Automotive Oil Change Association's recent AOCA Talk Live discussed the current struggles in the industry.
Five speakers were on the AOCA Talk Live: Dave Everett, vice president of business development and national sales and training director for Service Champ, and commentator for the Talk; Joanna Johnson, AOCA's policy advisor; Bill Floyd, AOCA president and owner of Lucas Oil Center; Mark Bochnowski, AOCA vice president and president of Lube 'n Go; and Claudia St. John, president of Affinity HR Group. The group discussed what they are currently focusing their energy on and what the response has been from employees and customers.
According to St. John, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just put out guidelines allowing employers to mandate testing. Before, employers could require staff to wear a mask, but could not require employees to get tested. St. John said she advises against it because it could expose businesses to liability—one day you could test negative and the next day you could test positive. The question St. John and her team are trying to answer is as employers are bringing people back to work, what is their liability and how do they mitigate it.
When it comes to the PPP loan, the AOCA is trying to fight against the newly-added 75/25 Rule, which, according to JD Supra, says at least 75 percent of qualified expenses go to payroll costs within the eight week covered period to qualify for loan forgiveness. According to Johnson, this new rule is not in the statute and businesses shouldn't be required to do this, as it's causing headaches for most businesses as they cannot get their employee payroll percentages that high. The AOCA even went as far as submitting a comment to the Small Business Administration to get rid of the new rule.
For Bochnowski's operation, his transition to a drive-thru model has increased bay times. He says most of the feedback is how customers appreciate employees wearing masks and gloves, and having sneeze guards at the front desk. Bochnowski has even added more outdoor seating for customers to sit out in the 98-degree, West Texas weather. And about two weeks ago, an employee at his operation was required by the health department to stay home from work for 14 days because they were in direct contact with a family member who tested positive for COVID-19. Bochnowski says he sees the health department forcing more healthy people into quarantine due to direct contact or tracing of COVID-19 than those who are actually sick.
One of Floyd's employees got tested recently and stayed home for a week, even though the test came back negative. Other than that, he says he's been in a pretty safe area up in Evansville, Ind. When it comes to rehires, he had issues with some employees either not picking up phone calls or declining the offer to come into work because they are earning more money staying at home than when they actually work. But employees need to realize that the extra $600 added to unemployment ends in July, according to St. John. Floyd says with unemployment being so high, however, he sees more people looking for work, so he'll be able to let some bad employees go and hire on good ones.