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On February 26, 2020, the EPA implemented a rule rolling back regulations on hydroflurocarbon (HFC) leaks. This rule goes into effect at the end of March and will no longer subject appliances with 50 or more pounds of substitute refrigerants to the following requirements: Repairing appliances that leak above a certain level and conducting verification tests on repairs; Periodically inspecting for leaks; Reporting chronically leaking appliances to the EPA; Retrofitting or retiring appliances that are not repaired; and Maintaining related records. ACCA opposed this policy. You may recall the letter ACCA sent to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler ...
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ACCA has gotten a variety of inquiries from employers concerned about the ongoing health crisis involving the world-wide coronavirus outbreak that, prior to fairly recently, was outside of our own borders. However, from the New York Times headlines just now: “As outbreaks grow and spread in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, U.S. officials warn Americans to brace for their own.” This is ominous, and will be disturbing to many of your workers. We won’t presume to prognosticate about the progression of the virus at this time, nor will we attempt to break down all of the legal ramifications that could arise with your companies or your employees. Suffice to say, ...
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In August, 2020, the certification process for Women-Owned Small Businesses and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses will change due to provisions inserted in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This change will remove the ability for Women-Owned Small Businesses to self-certify and require certification through a third-party entity or through Small Business Administration’s (SBA) online certification. Previously, the regulations allowed women owned small businesses to self-certify for participation in the SBA program without going through an application process. Due to high levels of fraud, Congress required SBA to remove ...
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On February 11, 2020, President Trump released the 2021 federal budget request to Congress . It outlines funding suggestions for a number of policy initiatives that the administration wants to enact. ACCA was thrilled to see the budget proposal include a nearly $900 million increase in funding for career and technical education (CTE), including: $680 million increase for Perkins Basic State Grants $83 million increase for Perkins National Programs Over $100 million in additional funds that can be generated for Perkins through changes to the H-1B visa program (which allows companies in the United States to employ highly-skilled immigrant workers). ...
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I Smell a Rat

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The most common critter to enter attics, basements, and crawlspaces in many areas is the rat. Some customers may be aware they have these little critters roaming around out of sight, while others may be completely oblivious. As HVAC technicians and installers, we have seen many critters in locations where our customer's equipment is housed inside. But, did you know that the customers who are proactive in laying out rat poison could be contributing to them having water leaks? In the summertime, there is an uptick of water leak calls. We've dealt with the drain pan overfilling because of a blockage, and maybe a missing safety device. We deal with failed condensate ...
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On January 29, 2020, President Trump signed the U.S., Mexico and Canada trade deal (known as the USMCA) into law. This agreement is long overdue and ACCA appreciates President Trump’s leadership that brought our trade partners to the table and pushed Congress to take action. The USMCA covers over $1.4 trillion in annual U.S. trade volume and about $663 billion in exported goods and services. With overwhelming bipartisan support, this deal was a no-brainer for the Trump administration. In 2019, ACCA surveyed our members and learned that the tariffs had increased HVACR equipment costs by as much as 20%. Those costs continued to grow into this year. as more ...
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It's tax season and while everyone is waiting for their W-2s to be able to file their taxes and possibly receive a refund. While Individuals and businesses must remain vigilant for increasingly sophisticated cyber threats year-round, cyber criminals often ramp up their activities during tax season. In particular, security professionals see an uptick in malware and credential theft attempts through phishing scams targeting W-2s and other sensitive information. Here is some information from payroll processing company, Paychex, to help you avoid being a target of a W-2 scam. What does the fraud look like? Attempts vary, but often those targeted receive a fraudulent ...
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On January 12, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule to revise and update its regulations interpreting joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule provides updated guidance for determining joint employer status when an employee performs work for his or her employer that simultaneously benefits another individual or entity, including guidance on the identification of certain factors that are not relevant when determining joint employer status. ACCA filed comments with the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace in January 2019 on the joint employer status proposal. ACCA supported the reinstatement of ...
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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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