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Over the past several months, Industry Insights, ACCA’s benchmarking partner, has released a series of surveys regarding the topic of COVID-19 Impact & Implementation. The fourth survey within the series ran from Monday, June 1 to Friday, June 5, 2020. A total of 1,328 respondents from 20 client sectors participated in the latest survey. Please visit this page to read the detailed Executive Summary. When comparing the results of this survey to those of the previous surveys, it’s clear that the infection rate amongst employees has continued to increase. According to the first Impact & Implementation survey released on March 18, 2020, only 1% of ...
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Terminating an Employee

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A member asked us: We have an employee who was pregnant and unfortunately lost her baby. She is going to be out six weeks for recovery. We feel really bad for her, but have wanted to replace her for months. We finally found her replacement, but we are worried about just letting her go now or after her return due to legal issues. The reason we want to let her go is she makes mistakes and really does not seem to care about her job. Is it legal to let her go after her return? Can we keep her on a part time basis if we have an overload of calls instead of full time? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: You’re right ...
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ACCA is urging Congress to support the liability relief provisions in S. 4317, the “SAFE TO WORK Act”. This provision would protect businesses and employees from unfair lawsuits as they begin to reopen.  A key aspect of economic recovery is making sure businesses feel safe to open and will not be buried in years of costly lawsuits. The efforts put forth by businesses, educational facilities, essential workers, etc. would by punished by trivial lawsuits. This legislation would ensure that businesses complying with governmental guidelines will not be harmed by reopening.  In addition, the legislation is not a permanent change to federal law and can remain enacted ...
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My name is  Cailynn  Adelman and I am a  communications  intern this  summer  for  ACCA. When first presented with the opportunity to intern for  a national  HVAC  trade association , I didn’t know what to expect.  The only time I had ever thought about air conditioning or anything along those lines was when I was dripping with sweat on a hot summer day and was ready to step into my  ice-cold  house.  What really drew me in about this internship was the hands-on and project-based learning opportunities. You can read more about ACCA’s  available internships here .    My internship  with ACCA  has shown me what it is like to do communications ...
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ACCA is sharing this article on behalf of BIPAC .  The Polling Extremes By Jim Ellis, BIPAC Senior Political Analyst July 30, 2020 Two survey research organizations, Morning Consult and Change Research just released the results of their recent battleground states polling series. Looking at all the recent public data in these places illustrates the polling volatility and movement within the states that will ultimately decide the presidential election. The ballot test results listed for each state below illustrates the most extreme examples for President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden during the mid to late July period. With such a wide variance ...
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On July 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – KY) introduced the HEALS Act stimulus package. Similar to the previous CARES Act, this act proposes a $1,200 check with a multitude of other benefits.  Some of these benefits include:   Unemployment Benefits:  Benefits  will be shortened to $200 per week  and states will be required to implement a plan to provide each unemployed worker a wage replacement of 70% of their previous pay.    Sequel to PPP:  If small employers have seen their revenue decline by at least 50%, they are eligible to receive a second PPP forgivable loan.    Limited to small businesses with 300 or fewer employees ...
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The Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued additional guidance for workers and employers on how the protections and requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)  are being applied.   Resources include a Fact Sheet for Employees , a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers resource about paid sick and expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA. As well as a guidance poster for employees that fulfills notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees of their FFCRA rights; Questions ...
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A member asked us: Is it legal to hire someone for 30 days as an independent contractor and then switch them to employee status if they work out? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: Yes…but it’s not a great idea. Here’s the problem. Labeling a worker as an independent contractor raises all kinds of issues with the IRS, the U.S. Department of Labor, your state labor department, your workers comp carrier…you really don’t want me to go on. The IRS likes their tax withholdings so they take a dim view of an employer who avoids withholding taxes because the worker is not a W-2 employee. Federal and state labor departments ...
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More ACCA Manuals Become Mandatory Requirements This past spring, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) published the 2021 editions of the Uniform Plumbing Code® (UPC) and Uniform Mechanical Code® (UMC), completing a three‐year consensus development cycle accredited by the American National Standards Institute. Over those three years, ACCA’s Codes Subcommittee submitted proposals and provided comments on other proposals representing our membership’s input. Significant changes to the UMC of interest to HVACR contractors include: Added ACCA Manual Zr - 2018, Residential HVAC System Zoning, to Section 601.2, Sizing ...
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Working in Hot Spaces

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Summer is here! With the summer comes a hectic season with excellent business opportunities too. However, at the same time, the risk goes up while working in hot spaces. According to OSHA, "Most outdoor fatalities, 50% to 70%, occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body needs to build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time. The process of building tolerance is called heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization represents a major risk factor for fatal outcomes" (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Hazardous environments can occur indoors and outdoors. One area in the house that can present a dangerous ...
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A member asked us: Help! I’m lost in a sea of jargon and business buzzwords! How can I keep up, put up, or move up? I feel like I am drowning in all the trendy new words and phrases. When are they useful, or just simply annoying? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, replies: The following is taken from “Business Buzzwords and How to Avoid Them” in SHRM’s (the Society of Human Resources Management”) Express Requests resource for Trending Topics.© SHRM is a great resource and comes highly recommended for just about every HR topic and issue. The next time a supervisor asks you to help "maximize synergy in order to move the needle," hand her a summary ...
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Several years ago, Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and ACCA began discussions about how the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index should reflect the installation of the largest energy-using appliance in homes across America, the HVAC system.  Three years ago, RESNET formed a working group to draft the standard, which is now an American National Standard! Download RESNET/ACCA Standard 310-2020 “Standard for Grading the Installation of HVAC Systems” now. What Is in RESNET / ACCA Standard 310? The standard outlines five separate tasks that can be performed by the HVAC professional or a HERS Rater.  These tasks evaluate and grade aspects ...
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Ageism in the Workplace

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A member asked us: We are looking to diversify our workforce and want to start with the older, unsung, workers. What can we do to become more age-friendly to employees? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, replies: Today's older workers are often better educated and living longer than any previous generation. They also want to remain in the workforce longer, but discrimination and outdated assumptions are making that a tricky proposition for many experienced employees, and overt acts of ageism are only expected to get worse as the number of older workers grows. Companies that allow biases to run rampant are sabotaging their ability to hire and retain ...
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A member asked us: Can I demote an employee (in title, wage, or both) from a managerial position if their performance as a manager has consistently proven to be sub-standard compared to the job description? Multiple meetings with the employee have not garnered any positive change in their performance. This person is an hourly wage employee. Adam and Reese’s Brooke Duncan responds: Well, yes–you can demote the employee and pay him or her less. But then you’ll have a lesser paid, lower level employee with a history of poor performance to contend with. Having said this, you might also find that the employee is relieved to no longer have managerial duties ...
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A member asked us: My company would like to implement a no-smokers hiring policy. Can we do that? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, replies: Although individuals who smoke have no constitutional right to smoke or federal employment law protection, some states prohibit discrimination based on legal, off-duty activities, which may apply here. Some states go as far as to specifically prohibit employers from making complete prohibition from smoking a condition of employment, so employers are advised to check with counsel for laws in the states an employer has employees. Once the employer has confirmed there is no state employment law prohibition against no-smoker ...
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On July 2, ACCA reached out to Congressional leadership in opposition to Title LIV of S. 4049, Establishing Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirements, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would impose burdensome, unnecessary regulations on contractors. The provision would require small business owners to file onerous paperwork, such as the passport numbers and other personal information, with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). These reports would need to be completed within 90 days of any ownership change. Failure to comply would cost business owners $500 per day up to $10,000, up to 4 years in prison, ...
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On Wednesday evening Congress reached an agreement to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline to August 8, 2020. The previous deadline was earlier this week. If you are interested in applying for a PPP loan and have not yet done so, you can reach out to your preferred financial lender(s). If you already have a PPP loan and would like to learn more about loan forgiveness, please reference the resources issued by SBA here . To learn more about the changes that the PPP Flexibility Act made to the program, click here .
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The only constant thing is change.  Our industry is about to change again.  Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants were identified to be phased out due to their high ozone depletion potential (ODP). CFC's were phased out in 2000, and HCFC 22 will be phased out in 2020. Now hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP) will begin to be phased out too.  There is a transition away from HFC refrigerants with a GWP rating higher than 750.  R410a has a GWP of 2,088.  To achieve the requirement for a low GWP (and low ODP), the new refrigerants will contain small amounts of gasses that are flammable, ...
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The 2018 Edition of the International Residential Code (IRC) requires condensate from cooling coils and evaporator coils to be conveyed from the primary drain pan outlet to an approved place of disposal (IRC Section M1411.3).  In addition, a secondary drain or auxiliary drain pan is required for each cooling or evaporator coil where damage to any building components will occur as a result of overflow from the equipment drain pan or stoppage in the condensate drain piping.  A good example would be an installation located in an attic.  There are 4 methods specified for doing this: 1. Install an auxiliary drain pan with a separate drain that discharges to a conspicuous ...
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Disaster Preparedness  for  Contractor s   Hurricane season is here, and since June 1, 2020, there have been three named storms. The latest, Cristobal caused floods and wind damage from Louisiana to portions of the Midwest. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts this season to be unusually active with 13 to 19 more named storms on the horizon- a sizeable step above the 10.1 designated storm average.  After Hurricane Katrina, ACCA created the ACCA Disaster Preparedness effort, with resources for you to use  to  help your customers and community be prepared for when a natural disaster  strikes .   This ...
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