Blogs

Be the first person to recommend this.
Update as of 12/5/2019:   ACCA members took ACTion on the ILLICIT CASH ACT! Over 160 letters have been sent so far. Thanks to all of your help we understand that we have successfully prevented the consideration of the bill in its current form!  However, we are hearing that proponents of the legislation may release an amended version of the bill in the near future. If successful, proponents may proceed to a markup later this month or in the first quarter of 2020.  While we do not have details of an amended version, there are a few key fundamental issues to keep an eye on.  Does the draft create a new reporting requirement on businesses with 20 or ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
For several years, ACCA has been lobbying for the reintroduction of HVAC efficiency tax credits for homeowners, and working to require those systems to be properly installed. After years of educating Congress, our legislation has been introduced. The Home Energy Savings Act and the New Home Energy Efficiency Act would reinstate and extend the energy efficiency tax credit for homeowners and builders while also requiring quality installation of these products. This has been a priority for ACCA members because professional contractors know that the tax credits and investments in more efficient systems are meaningless unless the systems are installed correctly. ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Over the past several years, more and more states have enacted a variety of laws legalizing medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both. Currently, no states require employers to tolerate use of marijuana or impairment by the drug while on the job, and present drug technologies cannot determine whether the employee used marijuana two hours or two weeks ago. This may be changing as technology here is on the move. Reportedly, there are companies closer to developing the technology necessary to detect recent use, which presents an interesting development for both employers and employees. A number of media outlets are reporting that the use of breathalyzers ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
ACCA went to Capitol Hill to fight against the Corporate Transparency Act of 2019 . H.R. 2513 would put a burden on small business owners across the U.S. by requiring every small business with fewer than 20 employees to file reports with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). It also requires an update to FinCEN within 60 days of any change in information on file. This includes existing businesses within two years of the enactment, new businesses at incorporation, and every business annually within 60 days of any change of beneficial ownership. More than 10,000 individuals would have access to this database of information and ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
HVAC equipment provides the best comfort, and costs the least, when it is appropriately sized. The load calculation is the first step in choosing the equipment and sizing the ductwork. Heat load calculations are required to match the equipment capacity to the building requirements accurately. The primary reasons for completing a heat load analysis are to size the heating and cooling equipment properly, and to design the duct system to supply the correct amount of air to each room or zone. Even if the current system is X, that does not mean it was originally sized properly. Also, the home might have experienced changes since the original system. Were ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The United States Supreme Court opened its fall 2019 term by declining to review a lower court decision involving the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA). The Court left intact a 7 th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the ADEA does not apply to job applicants who allege discriminatory practices in hiring based upon age. According to the 7 th Circuit, the ADEA protects employees, but not applicants, age 40 and older from age discrimination through policies that have an adverse or disparate impact on them. The 7 th Circuit had ruled that requiring external job applicants to have more than a certain number of years experience was not, therefore, age ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
A member asked us: ​​Good afternoon, I’m looking for a written policy regarding taking pictures of employees for the purpose of posting them on our company's social media accounts and ensuring the company has no financial liability? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, responds: During your onboarding process you can have them sign a photo release form to use which also says something along the following lines: "I further acknowledge that my participation is voluntary and that I will not receive financial compensation of any type associated with the taking or publication of these photographs or participation in company marketing materials or other Company ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
A member asked us: ​​I'm interested in hearing how I should handle employees NOT coming to work their first day with form(s) of ID for I-9 documentation.  Do you continue to follow up with them and allow them to work? Do you send them home? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, responds: Employers must complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9 , Employment Eligibility Verification, within 3  business days of  the date of hire of their employee (the hire date means the first day  of work for pay.) You might start by sending a "welcome" email out to all of your new hires several days before their first day. You can let them know what to expect and ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
A member asked us: Our President wants to terminate this employee. I have advised him not to, given the circumstances. Curious as to what your thoughts are on the situation. The facts are: - The employee has worked here for a few months, and was hired at the top end of our compensation range - All other employees in this department found out what rate we were paying this person, which stirred up a lot of drama within the department - Our President was disappointed by this (I did advise him it is perfectly legal for employees to discuss rates), but nevertheless he wanted to have a conversation with him to find out if he shared his rate with people, and ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
This week Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said he remains optimistic about addressing one of ACCA’s legislative priorities – renewing all expired or expiring tax extenders. According to a press statement, he said, “I would expect that as of right now, if there’s an extenders package, that there won’t be anything left out.” While this is positive news, there are still hurdles to clear as we have a divided Congress. The tax extender provisions are generally bipartisan, but these types of initiatives can get muddled quickly as members of Congress try to insert some of their own priorities. In this case, a big hurdle remains the Death ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the association of HVACR manufacturers,  is  updat ing  refrigerant container color protocols in January 2020.    Previous guidance from AHRI stipulated that specific colors would be used for refrigerant containers to help with identification. However, there are numerous refrigerants in the market ,  and  there was concern about the potential misidentification of similarly colored containers. According to AHRI, more than half of respondents to an AHRI survey of refrigerant users found that container colors caused confusion.    AHRI’s new guidance states that all containers will ...
2 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule this week that will raise the overtime salary limit from $455 per week to $684 per week – the equivalent of $35,568 per year for full-time workers. This rule will go into effect January 1, 2020. Any professional, administrative, and executive level employees earning less than $35,568 per year would be due time and a half if they work more than 40 hours per week. According to DOL, this would impact 1.3 million American workers. The final overtime rule is a win for ACCA members and our advocacy efforts. ACCA opposed the 2016 Obama-era rule that would have raised the threshold to $47,476 per year, which ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
On August 21 st , ACCA traveled to Asbury Park, New Jersey to meet with Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. in his home state. President and CEO of Meyer and Depew Co Inc and past ACCA Chairman (2013-2014) Bobby Ring joined Alyx Simon, ACCA’s Government Relations Representative, at a special event hosted by Rep. Pallone in his congressional district. As the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Pallone will be overseeing the upcoming HFC phasedown legislation. HFC refrigerants, such as 410A, have high global warming potential and and contribute to climate change when they are vented into the atmosphere. As HFC’s are phased out, mildly flammable ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
S. 379, sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar, would allow 529 savings plans to be expanded to, “recognized postsecondary credentials”. This would include credentials consisting of an industry-recognized certificate or certification, a certificate of completion of an apprenticeship, or a license recognized by the state involved or federal government. ACCA recognizes the ongoing costs required to maintain a highly certified workforce. The ability to use 529 savings plans to pay for certifications and apprenticeships would help address some of the workforce challenges our industry faces. It would encourage workers to continually advance in their careers by attending ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
A member asked us: Do I have to provide an employee with written documentation regarding poor performance before firing them for poor performance or are verbal warnings okay? I am concerned that it will be easier for the employee to collect unemployment (hence my unemployment insurance premiums will go up) because the employee will claim we did not warn them about poor performance. Adams & Reese’s Brooke Duncan responds: This is a great question because many employers resign themselves to their former employees collecting unemployment benefits, no matter the circumstances under which they leave, and indeed a company’s premiums do fluctuate with the claims ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
A member asked us: How are fringe benefits treated in computing "prevailing wages" under the Davis-Bacon Act? Adams & Reese’s Brooke Duncan responds: Under the Davis-Bacon Act, enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), certain federally financed construction projects require employers to pay "prevailing wages"--supposedly the actual prevailing wage and benefits for a particular craft in a particular area but in reality more generally the local union scale. Under the DOL’s regulations, "prevailing wages" includes most fringe benefits that employers provide; not included are compulsory fringes such as workers compensation and unemployment insurance. ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Do I Have to Pay an Employee I Fired for Unused Vacation Time and Holidays Not Taken? A member asked us: Does vacation time have to be paid to a terminated employee? Or can that time be revoked by the employer? Do you also have to pay for all the holidays that they miss also? Adams & Reese’s Brooke Duncan responds: The best practice for employers is to have a written, published policy which makes clear that vacation time does not accrue and is not to be paid out at termination. In some states, unused vacation time is treated as an accrued benefit that has to be paid when an employee leaves an employer. In other states, vacation is not considered ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Even the most efficient HVAC equipment can lose 30% of its efficiency right out of the box if improperly installed, as 50-70% of systems are. That’s why EPA created the ENERGY STAR Verified HVAC Installation (ESVI) Program . Quality Assured contractors have the unique marketing advantage of being able to apply for ESVI certificates on retrofits that adhere to ACCA’s QI 5 Standard . There’s no additional cost to submit a project for an ESVI certificate, but few have applied. Is it any wonder that ACCA recently learned that EPA planned to discontinue the ESVI program!     ACCA leapt into action and won a reprieve! But now we need your help to ensure ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
In a recent study,  The Evolution of Career and Technical Education: 1982-2013 , researcher Nat Malkus observes trends in 30 years of secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) course taking and describes differing student outcomes between  “New Era” and “Traditional Vocational” CTE concentrators. Malkus defines “New Era” CTE as courses in engineering, computer science, communications, health care and hospitality, and “Traditional Vocational” CTE as courses in manufacturing, public service, construction, agriculture, human services and transportation. In order to observe these trends, Malkus examined data from the National Center for Education Statistics, ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
If you’ve been following the tariff and trade issues between the U.S. and China, or the U.S., Canada, Mexico Free Trade Agreement, you know that these disputes have had a big impact on the HVACR industry.  According to ACCA members that were surveyed, the tariffs have increased HVACR equipment costs by as much as 20 percent. Thankfully, despite these increased costs, ACCA members are still having a strong summer, and the industry has not slowed down.  However, as of September 1, 2019, there will be more tariffs, unless, there is a remarkable change in the current negotiations between the U.S. and China. President Trump announced via Twitter , the U.S. ...
0 comments