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Advocacy is one of the most important components of our political system. It helps ensure that our elected officials do not favor the parochial interests of their most powerful supporters. Our Founding Fathers recognized the importance of people being able to petition the government, and advocacy is one of our most fundamental rights - it was considered to be so important that it was made to be the first right in our Bill of Rights! The right to petition our government dates back even further than our Bill of Rights. In fact, the Magna Carta, a charter of rights agreed to by King John of England, enshrined these rights more than 800 years ago. When ordinary ...
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Four years ago, ACCA partnered with the Rees Scholarship Foundation to help seek donations and give out scholarships to deserving students in the HVACR industry. Since 2003, the Rees Scholarship Foundation has awarded more than $850,000 to over 500 deserving students. Each year, the foundation awards scholarships of up to $2,000 each to qualified students who are enrolled in an HVACR program at an accredited institution. I have been a part of the scholarship process since the very beginning, serving as a member of its Review Committee. Members of the committee receive applications and use a very specific process to award points which involve a variety of factors, ...
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The 2020 federal form W-4 has been finalized and our friends at PAYCHEX had this to share: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released the  final version of the 2020 Form W-4 .This form must be used by: All new employees hired on or after January 1, 2020 Any employees who wish to adjust their federal withholding on or after January 1, 2020 Click Here  to get additional details about Form W-4 in the email we sent in October 2019. State Withholding Forms That Previously Allowed Use of Federal Form Most states have their own withholding forms that employees must complete; however, in the past, several states have allowed employees to use the federal ...
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President Donald Trump signed one of ACCA’s legislative priorities, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (SECURE) Act, into law as part of the year-end spending bill. The SECURE Act will allow for tax-free 529 savings plan distributions to be used to pay for registered apprenticeship programs and up to $10,000 in student loan payments. These distributions can be used to pay for expenses associated with apprenticeship programs such as fees, textbooks, supplies, equipment, tools, etc. This has been a priority for ACCA on the Hill this past year as we recognize the ongoing costs required to maintain a highly certified workforce. The ability to use ...
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Residential & Commercial Tax Credits Reinstated Through 2020 President Trump recently signed H.R.1865 and H.R.1158—funding bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 which included two of ACCA’s legislative priorities – reinstating the residential energy efficiency tax credit and Section 179D deductions for commercial buildings. These provisions had expired in 2017 but will be extended through 2020 and retroactive for 2018 and 2019. The first provision reinstates a portion of Section 25C of the Federal Tax Code that offers a tax credit to individuals who improve the energy efficiency of their homes. For qualified HVAC improvements, homeowners may be eligible ...
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Recently, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) published for public comment a proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) to the 2018 edition of the Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC). The proposal would eliminate the use of press-connect technology fittings developed for high pressure refrigerant systems. The proponent represents the National Inspection Testing and Certification Corporation (NITC), Metairie, Louisiana office, which is a third-party provider of certification services to the piping industry including HVACR. ACCA submitted a public comment opposing the proposed TIA as it has no technical merit and does not meet ...
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A member asked us: Do I have to pay employees when we close our business due to inclement weather or a natural disaster? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, responds: Exempt employees (employees not eligible for overtime) almost always must be paid when they work any portion of a workweek, including situations of inclement weather and natural disaster. If an employer sends its exempt employees home early because of inclement weather or an impending natural disaster, the employer is obligated to pay its exempt workers for the entire day. If the employer decides to close for an entire day because of the inclement weather, the employer is still required ...
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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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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has finalized a rule making significant changes to its union election rules. The current rules have been in place since 2015, when the Obama-appointed board overhauled the union election process and instituted what many in the business community have since called “ambush” or “quickie” elections. Under that board, an election could take place in as few as 13 days from the initial petition. Supporters of the revised rules as promulgated by the Trump appointed board claim that it will provide employers with the proper amount of time to prepare for an election and ensure employees are fully informed. A quick summary of ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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