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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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. ...
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A member asked us: We currently allow our employees to use their PTO and then FMLA. We are considering offering a separate Maternity/Paternity Leave Benefit. What do other companies offer? How many days/weeks? Is it paid/unpaid? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, responds: When you said that you allow employees to use PTO "and then FMLA" did you mean that they can have more time off than FMLA allows if they have the PTO to cover it? That's not a great scenario since the PTO for childbirth/bonding with child is actually also covered under FMLA. Regardless of whether an employee has specifically asked for FMLA, the FMLA rights are going to apply (if the ...
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A member asked us: Help! I’m drowning in emails, paper, etc. and trying to decide what to keep and what to toss. What should I do with the mountains of dead trees in my office? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, responds: We feel your pain and are often plagued by the same issues: Record-keeping requirements can be confusing in that there are a variety of regulations that govern some aspect of employer record-keeping and retention. You should also know that not only do various federal agencies have their own record-keeping requirements, but individual state and local statutes and regulations are often in play as well. Some of the provisions apply to most ...
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For anyone who has been to ACCA’s annual conference or fall contracting meetings, you know that safety is always a priority. At many of these events, ACCA’s Platinum Safety Partner, Federated Insurance has hosted educational programs to help contractors operate safely online. For anyone who has been to ACCA’s annual conference or fall contracting meetings, you know that safety is always a priority. At many of these events, ACCA’s Platinum Safety Partner, Federated Insurance has hosted educational programs to help contractors operate safely online.  According to some estimates, tax-related identity theft costs taxpayers $5,200,000,000 annually! Given the recent ...
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Section 179D , a tax extender provision of the Internal Revenue Code, permits a tax deduction of $1.80 per square foot to owners of new or existing buildings who install (1) interior lighting; (2) building envelope, or (3) HVACR systems that reduce the building’s total energy and power cost by 50% or more in comparison to a building meeting minimum requirement set by ASHRAE standard 90.1-2001 or 90.1-2007. With the assistance of the Section 179D tax deduction, building owners have been able to leverage billions of dollars in private capital to introduce energy efficient enhancements in commercial and larger multifamily buildings. These enhancements have created ...
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Beginning January 1, 2020, the production and import of R22 will end. However, stockpiled and reclaimed/recycled R22 will still be legal to use. R22 is being phased out because it is an ozone depleting substance (ODS). The U.S. is a signatory to the Montreal Protocol which phased out ODS, thus the U.S. is required to abide by these phaseouts. Many contractors are concerned about misinformation about R22 availability. In ACCA’s research and in working with refrigerant manufacturers and reclaimers, ACCA believes there will be enough stockpiled and reclaimed R22 to allow for a smooth HCFC (R22) transition. Do we know how much R22 is and will be available? ...
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On August 9, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) announced it would issue a Notice of Public Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing amendments to change union election procedures. The NLRB’s 113-page rule, published in the Federal Register on August 12, modifies three of the Board’s election processes. The first amendment changes the NLRB’s blocking charge policy by establishing a vote-and-impound procedure for processing a representation petition when a party seeks to stay an election while an unfair labor practice (ULP) is pending. This is a significant modification to the “quickie” or “ambush” election rule that was adopted under the Obama administration, ...
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A member asked us: My question is regarding best practices for announcing employee terminations. Currently our process is that when an employee is terminated from employment, we send out an email communication to a small group (IT, Manager, etc.) but not to all employees. Recently we have been questioning whether it’s better to send out/notify all employees. Could you help us out? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, responds: There are many different ways of approaching this situation. Company size, longevity of the employment by the employee, cultural environment, nature of the reason for termination and other factors all play a role in how it is managed. ...
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A member asked us: We have an employee who is working on a 90-day trial basis. I have a suspicion he might be on drugs. What procedure do I have to follow to have him tested? Do I have to test all employees? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: Georgia, where this employer is located, has regulations regarding drug testing in connection with workers compensation: to get a discount on comp premiums, an employer testing program has to meet certain criteria. For testing outside the context of workers comp, no particular rules apply. It is permissible to send the employee for testing, and of course you should utilize a ...
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On July 31, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law an amendment to the state’s Equal Pay Act (IEPA), expanding its scope and prohibiting employers from requesting information about a job applicant’s prior compensation. The law broadens the IEPA, which made it illegal to discriminatorily pay employees on the basis of sex or race. Under the amendment, which goes into effect on September 29, 2019, employers may not request salary history from the applicants themselves, or from their current and former employers. Employers who do so maybe subject to special damages up to $10,000, injunctive relief, costs and attorney’s fees. And employers who violate ...
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Are you a political junkie who enjoys learning and talking about the latest polling number or scandals in Congress? How are the democrats fairing against President Trump? Which member of Congress could be going to jail? Is the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia going to return to the governor’s office in Utah? If you want to be the go-to person among your friends for political updates, then we have a lot of interesting facts for you to familiarize yourself with! This content is provided by ACCA’s partners at BIPAC . Presidential Polling: Iowa Poll: Monmouth University released their latest Iowa presidential caucus poll this week (8/1-4; 401 likely ...
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The past couple of years have been pretty good for our industry, particularly with a pause on regulations. That could change if any of the democratic candidates for president take the White House. ACCA has been vocal about what is at stake for our industry. Policy makers are already moving toward refrigerant transitions in a number of states, and to stop the California-led patchwork effect, we are asking Congress to take action. Our goal is for this legislative issue to take place during the Trump Administration because President Trump understands our industry. If any of the current candidates who hope to battle President Trump have their way, we could see ...
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A member asked us: If a tech drives a company vehicle back and forth from home, I understand that is considered commuting time and we do not need to compensate him, just as if he were driving his own vehicle.  If that tech, on his own time but in a company vehicle, was involved in an accident that resulted in lost time and wages, would that be covered under workers comp or his own personal insurance? In addition, if he wrecks a company vehicle on his time, whose insurance is responsible for the damage to the other vehicle--the company's or the employee's personal insurance? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: As with ...
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