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Effective immediately, an amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), signed into law on March 18, 2019, invalidates any provision of an employment agreement which “waives any substantive or procedural right or remedy” under the State’s broad anti-discriminatory laws. The amendment also prohibits confidentiality and non-disclosure provisions in any employment contract or settlement agreement. The amendment states that such agreements are against public policy. Shockingly, a California measure similar to the New Jersey amendment was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown last year because he deemed such a statute contrary to employee jury waivers and ...
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The City of Cincinnati has become the latest jurisdiction to adopt an ordinance prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary history or current earnings. It is the latest large jurisdiction to pass such a measure. The new law, adopted on March 13, 2019, makes it an illegal discriminatory practice for a company within the city to ask job applicants about their past or current salary; screen applicants based on wages or benefits; rely on salary history in hiring decisions or in determining compensation; or refuse to hire or otherwise retaliate against an applicant who refuses to provide her or his salary history. The law goes into effect in ...
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After a successful two years for the HVAC industry under the 115 th Congress , ACCA is thrilled to announce our top priorities for the 116 th Congress ! During ACCA’s 2019 Annual Conference and Expo in San Antonio, ACCA contractor members attended a Townhall meeting where Todd Washam,Director of Industry Relations of ACCA, presented our drafted priorities for the 116 th Congress. We use these priorities when meeting with members of Congress to work as a tool to express member interests. Contractor members were then able to vote via the ACCA app on how important they felt the priority was to their business. Based on these responses ACCA was ...
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Massachusetts and New Jersey are the latest states to take legislative action with regard to employers’ paid leave laws.   In January, Massachusetts issued draft regulations to its Paid Family and Medical Leave Program (MA PFMLP), a leave act that was signed into law in June 2018, and becomes effective in 2021.   Under the MA PFMLP, almost all employees will be entitled to family and medical leave. The benefits will be financed by employer and employee contributions and will allow up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and 20 weeks of paid medical leave in a benefit year.   Employers will be required to submit a quarterly filing through the Mass TaxConnect ...
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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published new overtime rules – again. This go-round sees much more modest increases to overtime regulations than those proposed under then-President Obama. If finalized, the proposed regulations will set a salary threshold for the white-collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at $36,308 a year ($679 weekly.)   Currently, the proposed rule is undergoing a notice and comment period. The DOL predicts the new rule will become effective in January 2020.   So, while our members have time to plan, here are the key points to remember from the new rule:   The minimum salary threshold for all white-collar ...
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It’s with great pleasure that I step into the role as ACCA’s new president and CEO and I’m proud to say your ACCA staff has hit the ground running on a number of new initiatives. One, in particular, I know is a priority for the ACCA Board of Directors and members at large: collaboration with ACCA’s former chapters. The current status of several former ACCA chapters is fairly strong, with ACCA recognizing several of them as Affiliated Contracting Organizations (ACO). The relationships with the ACOs is based on open lines of communication, joint marketing campaigns, and making use of ACCA’s government relations and advocacy resources. The advocacy portion of ...
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On Tuesday, the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures held a hearing entitled “ Temporary Policy in the Internal Revenue Code .”  The hearing touched on a number of temporary tax policies, largely focused on three buckets – tax extenders, disaster tax relief and temporary provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  It was largely a messaging hearing, with members expressing their support/opposition to various temporary tax provisions and a number weighing in on the success/failure of the TCJA.  Following the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (D-CA) said he wanted Congress to move quickly on extenders, though noting ...
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The Trump administration released its fiscal year 2020 budget proposal, “Budget for a Better America”. Upon review of the Trump Administration’s budget proposal, ACCA is pleased with some aspects of but there are certainly some areas that ACCA will need to protect, like ENERGY STAR and State Energy Grants. The Good: Perkins: The budget maintains robust funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant at its FY 2019 level requests  a small increase for the National program line item to increase the funding available for the new Innovation and Modernization grants authorized in Perkins V. The Administration also proposes an increase of H-1B Visa fees collected ...
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Injured on Friday, Quit on Tuesday – Should I Report the Injury? A member asked us: An installation tech left a jobsite early on a Friday afternoon after pulling a muscle. He declined going to a doctor and decided to take some muscle relaxers he had at home. The following Tuesday, he quit. Am I required to file a worker’s comp claim on an employee who declined going to a doctor and then voluntarily quit his job? Adams & Reese’s Brooke Duncan responds: In a word, yes. Any injury where the employee leaves work should be reported. Also, Murphy’s Law dictates that this former employee will reappear on your doorstep with horrible complications from his supposedly ...
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Should I Have Employees Sign Notices of Policy Infractions? A member asked us: After having a meeting with an employee about breaking company policy or some other infraction, I always back it up with a memo to the employee and a copy to their personnel file. Do I need the employee to actually sign the memo for it to hold any weight should I want to fire them? I live in an “at will” state. Adams & Reese’s Brooke Duncan responds: It’s not necessary, but it is a good idea to ask the employee to sign the memo, at least to show receipt of the memo and to demonstrate that the employee was counseled. If the employee refuses to sign even just a receipt, you ...
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When ACCA released the ANSI/ACCA 14 QMref-2015 ( Quality Maintenance of Commercial Refrigeration Systems) standard, it provided contractor guidance for performing maintenance work on supermarket, convenience store, food service and warehouse refrigeration equipment.  Thanks to an industry expert named Danny Halel,  there is a newly released ACCA compendium to the standard that supports technician training and skill sets. It is called the Technician’s Guide & Workbook for Quality Maintenance on Commercial Refrigeration Equipment.  Many contractors already work on commercial rooftop package units. Those who implement a refrigeration maintenance program  ...
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On March 7, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) released the widely anticipated update to the overtime rule . ACCA helped fight the 2016 rule from the Obama Administration, which was $47,000. On March 7, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) released the widely anticipated update to the overtime rule. ACCA helped fight the 2016 rule from the Obama Administration, which was $47,000.  This proposal will update the overtime requirements from $23,660 to $35,308. This means that any professional, administrative, and executive employees making under $35,308 would be due time and a half if they work more than 40 hours a week. This proposal now heads to the federal register ...
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The U.S. Senate passed a resolution introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) to celebrate and officially recognize February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. The resolution was signed by 51 senators (30 democrats and 21 republicans) as sponsors or co-sponsors. This resolution makes 2019 the sixth consecutive year that a CTE Month resolution has passed the Senate.  Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, visited a CTE center this month as well, another victory for CTE. Secretary DeVos stressed the importance of CTE and wanted to see all schools offering similar programs during a roundtable discussion. She also spent time with students to learn  about how ...
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Most contractors already know this, but it’s worth repeating. HVACR systems are the largest consumers of energy in the country. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that commercial and residential buildings consume 38% of the energy in the U.S. In commercial buildings, HVACR products consume 54% of the energy, and 55% in residential buildings. The HVACR industry is a backbone of the American economy. HVACR products are responsible for ensuring modern medicine is possible, ensuring information technology centers are operational, maintaining a fresh supply of food, and providing essential heating and cooling systems for every hospital, office ...
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Refrigerant Fact Sheet

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ACCA created a refrigerant fact sheet to help our members keep up with what is happening on the national and state level. Click the image below to download the fact sheet. And, if you have questions about refrigerants, email me at todd.washam@acca.org .
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It goes without saying that businesses must do some marketing to be successful. That doesn’t mean you have to heavily invest in television or radio ad space. There are some effective, and even economical, marketing strategies that you can utilize to market your business. Establish a clear brand. In order to communicate what your company is, does and stands for, you need to have a clear identity. This includes having a recognizable logo, colors, and imagery that convey this to your customers. Have a great website. If there’s one thing that will put people off your company, it’s having a poorly designed website. Think about it, you’ve done the hard part ...
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A simple and effective recruiting and retention tip. Do a press release each time you hire someone in your business. It shows you're proud of your team and committed to their success. ACCA member Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning, Rochester, NY , makes this a priority for their new employees. Use ACCA’s sample press release for hiring new employees. You can edit this and send it to your local newspapers and highlight that you’re an employer of choice!
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Know Your Staff Dynamic

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One of the biggest challenges for a small business today is staff! Finding the right staff that not only believes in the vision of the company but retaining those employees. Many small businesses are like a family.  All families have a dynamic.  Some families work well like a fine HVACR system that heats when it needs to heat and cools when it needs to cool.  Some families are dysfunctional and work like a ceiling fan in the summer that squeaks, and the blades are loose. Small businesses cannot work on politics in the work place. A small business works with personalities and skill. In small environments team member personalities can impact the harmony and ...
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Question: Are there any laws pertaining to vehicle allowances?  We have an employee who drives his own vehicle to job sites.  Should we pay him mileage or just a certain amount each month?   Answer : The employee need not be paid at all for simply commuting to work because commuting time is not considered work time and is therefore not compensable. The employee's work day begins after he or she arrives at the work site and actually begins work. Of course, an employer may choose to pay mileage or an allowance but it's not required.   (From ACCA General Counsel Hilary Atkins: I should also add to Brooke's response that while there is no federal ...
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Question:  We have an employee who occasionally works at a job site that comes under Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rules. The problem is that the prevailing wage for the job site is higher than his normal wage with us. Are we required to pay him the prevailing wage all the time or only when he's on the Davis-Bacon job site?   Answer:   Davis-Bacon is complicated and full of pitfalls for the unwary. The prevailing wage need only be paid when the employee is performing work covered by Davis-Bacon. Note that Davis-Bacon applies to the work itself and not merely to a Davis-Bacon construction site. Thus, depending on the circumstances of a particular employee's ...
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