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ACCA Board Member Stephen Pape and his wife Becky Pape along with members of the ACCA staff met with Congressman Ron Wright (R-TX) in his Washington, DC office on June 11th, 2019. Stephen Pape is the Dean of Continuing Education at Hill College and past director of Pape Air Conditioning and Electrical Service Company and is extremely passionate about educating the next generation of the HVACR workforce. During the meeting, Mr. Pape expressed the importance of the Pell grant to expand educational and apprenticeship opportunities for students. The Pell grant helps students pay for schooling for higher education as well as 2-year and technical colleges. Expansion ...
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What does being a member of ACCA mean to you? Is it gaining access to resources and discounts that come along with membership? Is it the endless networking opportunities that we only get as members? Is it exclusive access to a professional staff eager to help you be more successful? All these reasons are great, and I hope you are using all of them, but I want to suggest one more great benefit of ACCA membership: Getting Involved. As members, we have a voice on what ACCA is doing and how resources and programs are developed and run. We need to use that voice, because ACCA is our association. I got involved in ACCA committees years ago, and I’ve served on many ...
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A member asked us: I’m wondering how companies handles it when your regular pay date falls on a bank holiday and needs to be adjusted. We pay every other Thursday so next pay falls on Fourth of July.  Payroll has to be submitted two days early so normally I have Monday/Tuesday to get it done and with different pay methods, overtime, PTO, etc. it takes a fair amount of time. I have typically moved the pay date forward one day but it's like pulling teeth to get people to turn in their hours early so I'm ready to move the date backwards next time.  I ask everyone to estimate their hours for today (Friday) so I can start on the entry and then if anything changes ...
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A member asked us: I can't find a clear turnover report for 2018 by industry. I am working on a turnover report for my boss and want to compare our turnover rates to the average turnover rates but can't find helpful/accurate statistics. Someone please help! Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, responds: This is pretty broad but should work in a pinch:  https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/jolts.pdf . DISCLAIMER This response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, nor is this column a substitute for formal legal assistanc
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A member asked us: Is there any limit to how many consecutive days an employee can be asked to work? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: For most employers, there is no specific limitation on how many consecutive days an employee may be required to work. However, there are important caveats. For example, the general obligation under OSHA to furnish a safe workplace might be violated by a practice of working employees so many days that fatigue causes workplace accidents. An employee who refuses to work such hours and is fired might then have a whistleblower claim. And of course, overtime must be paid to hourly workers ...
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A member asked us: Sometimes our company is busy; sometimes, not so much. We know we have to pay overtime for hours over 40 in a week but we’d like to soften the impact on our employees during the slow times by creating an overtime bank where their overtime pay would go but not actually be paid out right away. For example, our techs would earn overtime during the summer months when we’re busy but would actually receive the overtime pay during the winter months when work is slow. Is this permissible under the Fair Labor Standards Act? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: In a word…no. As much sense as the bank idea ...
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As ACCA looks at the expanding global market for HVACR products, I’ve began to think of ways for ACCA to have a global impact. One idea I have had is to follow the National Rural Electrical Co-operative model. The co-op utilities have an international program that sends linemen overseas to help development countries expand their power grids. These programs are in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). As temperatures rise and the use of air conditioning becomes more prevalent overseas (Did you know that only 5% of Europeans currently have air conditioning?), I want to find partners who will host ACCA members for ...
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The estate tax, often called the “death tax”, is a tax placed on estates exceeding a set value. Family owned businesses, such as contracting businesses, often hold enough monetary value that it will fall under the death tax. Repealing the death tax would spur job creation and grow the economy.   Many studies have quantified the potential job growth that would result from estate tax repeal. In 2017, the Tax Foundation found that the US could create over 150,000 jobs by repealing the estate tax. A 2012 study by the House Joint Economic Committee found that the death tax has destroyed over $1.1 trillion of capital in the US economy – loss of small business ...
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The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released a PSA warning that attackers are exploiting people's trust in sites that use HTTPS. Cybersecurity training has in the past encouraged users to look for the lock icon next to the URL in the browser, but many users still believe this icon is proof that the site they're on is legitimate. This is not always the case! The FBI advises users to be wary of requests in emails, even if they appear to come from known contacts. Scrutinize links carefully and "question the intent of the email content," rather than taking emails at face value. If you receive a suspicious request, "confirm the email is legitimate by ...
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Recently, I got a new computer, which meant having to login to all my secure accounts where I didn’t have the passwords auto-saved. To protect all my “super important and secure” data, I had complicated passwords, that I just couldn’t remember. So, I had to do a lot of “forgot password” clicks and changed the passwords…DOH! This little exercise got me thinking about passwords and what people really need to know about securing their secure data, so I dug up some information that may contradict what you have heard for years but may make your life easier. Use a Password Manager Password managers are not a new concept and have been around for years. And, man ...
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Question:     I recently spoke with another member who informed me that their company was paying their field employees on a “commission” basis. The installers receive a flat percentage of every job and the technicians receive a flat percentage of every ticket. The company does not keep track of employee hours and they don’t pay them overtime. Both companies tell me they have had Department of Labor audits without issue. I understand there’s an opinion letter online from the Department of Labor that allowed a plumbing franchise to pay their field staff in this manner under an exemption for retail or service establishments. Our business is in a state without ...
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A member asked us:   We pay bonuses to techs for leads and accessory sales. Our current policy is to pay half of the bonus up front and the other half at the end of the year, provided they are still employed with us. However, if they quit prior to year-end, they forfeit the year-end portion. We are considering altering the policy to reduce the amount of our bonuses (in half) and still pay up front, but change the wording to state that we will match at the end of the year any bonuses earned for the year, if they are still employed with us then. Any issues with the way we are currently doing it, i.e., paying half at year end or the way we are anticipating ...
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ACCA urges taxpayers to do a Paycheck Checkup as soon as possible to see if they’re having their employer withhold the right amount of tax. This year the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was implemented to make large tax cuts for individuals. However, many individuals had to pay a high amount during tax season despite the tax cuts. The IRS is suggesting that this was likely due to improper withholding. The IRS Withholding Calculator can help taxpayers check their current withholding, determine if they need to adjust it and avoid tax filing surprises next year. ACCA is focusing on helping taxpayers understand what actions they should take now- especially if their taxes ...
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Have you seen this flyer from DuPont™ regarding their Suva® 410A refrigerant? A friend of mine sent this over wondering what the latest is regarding 608 certification requirements. According to DuPont’s flyer, they are telling contractors that they are not required to have an EPA 608 certification to purchase R-410A. I called our friends at EPA to share this information and they, once again, stated that this is not correct. In a statement, they said, “EPA extended the sales restriction and 608 technician certification requirements to R-410A and other “non-exempt substitutes” starting 1/1/2018. So, you’d need a 608 certification card to purchase R-410A. ...
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ACCA attended a congressional hearing with the House Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development. The hearing was focused on the upcoming skills gap in the workforce and apprenticeship programs. During this hearing, Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors (HARDI) CEO Talbot Gee testified ( to hear Mr. Gee’s testimony skip to 23:43 ) before the Subcommittee bringing attention to the plight of both distributers and contractors. Mr. Gee talked about the importance of bringing skilled workers into our industry and removing the negative stigma on the trades. He specifically referenced both ACCA and Plumbing Heating and Cooling ...
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Just this week, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law legislation to ban private employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history during an initial written or electronic interview application. The Colorado Chance to Compete Act has a very broad definition for private employers, which includes “a person that regularly engages the services of individuals to perform services of any manner.” These employers include agents, representatives and other designees for employers and employment agencies as set forth under Colorado law. Exceptions to the new law include federal, state, or local regulations that prohibit persons with specific criminal ...
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On May 28, 2019, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed the Earned Paid Leave Law (EELA) which made it the first state to enact a mandatory paid time off law. The groundbreaking law mandates that employees may use paid earned leave for any reason. Employers have until January 1, 2021 to develop a compliance plan. Here are some of the highlights from the law: Covered employers are defined by statute as those with 10 or more employees who are employed for more than 120 days in a calendar year. Employees can accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employers must pay employees for used pay leave at a rate ...
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Striking a blow for payroll companies across the State of California, the Supreme Court of California recently held that employees are not third-party beneficiaries to a payroll company under the California third-party beneficiary doctrine, and as such may not sue their employer’s payroll provider for wage and/or hour discrepancies. The Court found that even though an employee may benefit from the contractual relationship between the employer and payroll company (i.e. received wages), distribution of wages is not the motivating purpose of the contracting parties. Instead, the Court concluded that the relevant motivating purpose is “to provide a benefit ...
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The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) was passed overwhelmingly by the House on May 23, 2019. The bill was passed with bipartisan support, in a 417-3 vote. If the SECURE Act is passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, there will be significant changes to employer-sponsored retirement plans, as well as to IRAs. Some of the features of the new law that, if passed, may affect your retirement plan include: The age for Required Minimum Distributions would be raised from the current age of 70.5 to age 72; Part-time employees who have worked 500 hours per year for the last three years would be required ...
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Small businesses often struggle with productivity, because there is an ever-growing list of tasks that need to be accomplished. The feeling quickly becomes that you could grow your business if you had more time to complete these tasks. Unfortunately, there are still only 24 hours in a day and at some point, you do need to sleep and eat. Small businesses often struggle with productivity, because there is an ever-growing list of tasks that need to be accomplished. The feeling quickly becomes that you could grow your business if you had more time to complete these tasks. Unfortunately, there are still only 24 hours in a day and at some point, you do need to sleep ...
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