Blogs

Be the first person to recommend this.
Applications for small business relief loans, also known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), are now available through the Department of the Treasury for any small business with fewer than 500 employees that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses are eligible to receive up to two months average monthly payroll costs plus an additional 25% of that total (based on the average payroll over the past year) OR $10 million—whichever is lower.   The loan will be forgiven if the applicant uses it for payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments over 8 weeks after they receive the loan. Applicants must also use 75% of the loan ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
On Friday afternoon President Trump signed the bipartisan Coronavirus relief act into law. It includes over $2 trillion in economic aid, including $377 billion in guaranteed loans for small businesses. You may have seen our previous post covering this topic. Now that the bill has been signed into law, many details regarding the SBA 7(a) loans have been finalized. They include (but are not limited to) the following: SBA 7(a) loans acquired from 2/15 - 6/30/2020 are considered to be "covered loans." Max loan amount under this program is 20.83% of actual payroll costs over the past 12 months. Max interest rate is 4% & 0 year repayment term. No ...
5 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
President Donald J. Trump signed the FFCRA on March 18, 2020.  The FFCRA is designed to help both employees and their employers by providing, for private employers, paid sick and family leave that is dollar-for-dollar reimbursed through a refundable tax credit. [1]   To enable public and private employers who are covered by the Act to come into compliance with the new statute, WHD will observe a temporary period of non-enforcement of the FFCRA for the period of March 18 through April 17, 2020.  Enforcement Guidance The Department will not bring enforcement actions against any public or private employer for violations of the Act occurring within 30 days ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced more guidance to provide information to workers and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020. The new guidance includes two new posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees , that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under this new law. It also includes questions and answers about posting requirements, and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest loans to the majority of small businesses (500 or fewer employees) and non-profits that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus. Businesses in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are eligible. Currently, disaster relief loans of up to $2 million are available to businesses and non-profits, with interest rates of 3.75% and 2.75% respectively. The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, as well as accounts payable and can be repaid over a 30-year period. These loans are issued directly from the SBA and a step-by-step guide for application can be found on their website . Additionally, ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
As the global COVID-19 pandemic worsens, security firms and law enforcement, including the FBI, are warning of increasing phishing and other cyber criminal scams targeting a largely at-home workforce. The FBI issued a warning last week after agents reported seeing spam and phishing campaigns that use government economic stimulus checks as lures. The FBI also warned of messages spoofing the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention, a tactic fraudsters used earlier. Click here to learn more . Here are some useful reminders for you and your staff. What does the fraud look like? Attempts vary, but often those targeted receive a fraudulent email appearing ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
On March 24, 2020 the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour division released the first round of guidance for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). It explains how the law, which goes into effect on April 1, 2020, will affect employers and employees. The DOL also stated that it would be issuing further guidance on exemptions for employers fewer than 50 employees as well as health care providers. They have included three documents—one for employers, one for employees, and a frequently asked questions page. Included are answers some to of the top questions that we have received from ACCA members, such as: As an employer, how do I know if ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Contractor Forum has been very active with members very concerned about their businesses and servicing their customers: can they continue on and be permitted to go out into the public and do the work of HVAC? One of ACCA’s own Board Members, Linda Couch of Parrish Services in Manassas, VA, summed it up well: These rules are state-specific, so you won't know what your state defines as essential until something is put in place. However, many states have and will likely follow the guidance in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency's (CISA's) recent memo. If you want to be proactive, you can urge your local authorities to adopt these guidelines. Here ...
5 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Many businesses are already experiencing raw material shortages related to the coronavirus. As the virus and the related quarantines spread, most businesses are likely to experience material and labor shortages that will affect their ability to service their customers. Depending on the relevant contracts and relevant law, those businesses may be excused from performance. Under common law, which typically governs the performance of services, a party is typically excused where its performance is prevented by some event outside its control (often called a force majeure event). Under the Uniform Commercial Code, which typically governs the supply of goods, a party ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Local jurisdictions in some states are relaxing inspection requirements in the wake of Coronavirus. Code officials, building inspectors, and other local HVACR enforcement officials are not doing HVACR inspections due to relaxed inspection criteria during this time. We know that local jurisdictions in both Ohio and Georgia have alerted people that they will not be doing inspections, and there are certainly more across the country. ACCA opposed the waiving of HVACR inspections and took action by sending letters to mayors, code officials, building inspectors, and county governments. ACCA understands the unique circumstances that code officials and inspectors ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
IMPORTANT UPDATE MARCH 30, 2020:  On March 28, thanks to ACCA's work and our nationwide action alert, the Department of Homeland Security released updated Essential Business Guidance that state and local governments are encouraged to follow. DHS's new guidance specifically mentions HVAC as an essential business 7 times!  Read updated DHS guidance here .  Below is ACCA's original blog compiled on March 18 and a timeline how of how ACCA took action and what states followed DHS Guidance:  To ensure HVACR contractors are deemed “essential businesses” during this national emergency, on Monday March 16, 2020, ACCA sent letters to Congress and President ...
1 comment
Be the first person to recommend this.
President Trump recently signed the Family First Coronavirus Response Act into law. ACCA has been following the development and prepared the most up to date information for contractors. A friendly reminder from ACCA staff, there will be some questions ACCA cannot answer, so we advise you to consult your attorney for specific guidance if you are concerned about any of these issues.  As we have previously stated, this legislation was created and passed very quickly, leaving many questions unanswered, including how the number of employees will be determined in calculating whether an employer is subject to the 500-employee cap and how the small-business exemptions ...
5 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Since the onset of the pandemic COVID-19, ACCA has been fielding a variety of questions by employers concerned about “the new normal”. Here is a compilation of some the most oft-asked ones: May an employer send employees home if they display influenza-like symptoms during a pandemic? Yes. During a pandemic, how much information may an employer request from employees who report feeling ill at work or who call in sick? Employers may ask employees if they are experiencing influenza-like symptoms, such as fever or chills and a cough or sore throat. Employee confidentiality must be maintained. During a pandemic, may an employer take its employees’ temperatures ...
0 comments
4 people recommend this.
President Donald Trump signed an emergency bill Wednesday, March 18 to expand family and medical leave (FMLA) as well as guarantee paid sick leave for certain U.S. workers, including those employed by private entities or individuals who employ fewer than 500 employees. The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act earlier that day, and the bill had passed the House on March 14, 2020. The Act takes effect of April 2, 2020.   The Act has two separate provisions that impact private entities and individuals that employ fewer than 500 employees. First, it amends the FMLA to allow U.S. workers, including those employed by such entities, to ...
1 comment
Be the first person to recommend this.
Today the Senate passed additional legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which is expected to be signed into law by President Trump shortly. This bill was passed at record speed, so we will update ACCA members as information becomes clearer and more available. H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, expands unemployment accounts, increase funding for food assistance, and most notably mandate 10 days paid sick leave for individuals affected by the virus, including those who have been directed by health or government authorities to isolate themselves, are sick with coronavirus symptoms, are being tested for the virus, or have ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
St. Patrick’s Day!  Traditionally, a  time to celebrate, drink, eat, and be merry ! And because  th e color green  is commonly used in celebrating,  I want ed  to share three ways to go green ,  that I have personally done over the years.   I challenge you to embrace these action items to make our world a better place.    Recycle mercury bulb thermostats  –   Mercury is  identified   as a  neurotoxin that is extremely toxic ,  even in small amounts. Mercury poisoning has been linked to autism and has been proven to cause neurological damage and  even  death.  R ecycling mercury  containing products  and keeping them ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
As Congress and President Trump continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to address the Coronavirus, ACCA is fighting to ensure that HVACR contractors are not excluded from legislation that would protect businesses and employees.  On Saturday, March 14, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would, among other things, require small businesses to provide paid leave to their employees. ACCA members are concerned about this because  leave mandates presumes that HVACR contractors have enough liquidity or cash reserves to persevere the economic hardships they could be facing. This year many HVACR contractors are already operating on lines of credit ...
2 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Updated 3/18/2020 A member asked us if his company needed to respond to a request for service in a customer’s home who had stated that its occupants were suffering from the coronavirus and were self-quarantined. The short answer is no, as set forth by OSHA here . On the flip side, can you, as an employer, mandate your employees service a customer that you have questions on the health and safety of the household? The answer is again, no, for these same reasons set forth under OSHA regulations, but there are other considerations for you, as the company owner, and business trying to maintain operations. Here is a publication from the DOL regarding COVID-19 ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced in a press release on  March 9, 2020 , that the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is “providing guidance and information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19.” The WHD provided two question-and-answer documents related to COVID-19. One of the documents deals with the  Fair Labor Standards Act  (FLSA), and the other deals with the  Family and Medical Leave Act  (FMLA). The Fair Labor Standards Act In its Q&A related to the FLSA, the WHD deals with common questions related to pay requirements for employees, volunteers, and others. Below are just a few of the questions and answers ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Dear ACCA Members and Partners: Thank you for your support and patience as we have navigated issues surrounding the Coronavirus and the ACCA 2020 Conference and Expo in St. Louis, MO, which was to be held March 16-18. For the past couple of weeks, ACCA’s Board of Directors and Events Committee have been monitoring events around the country and constantly evaluating the safety of our members. And, we’ve had an outpouring of support from contractors who have been excited that ACCA was moving ahead with the 2020 Conference. However, the city of St. Louis announced early this evening that it was banning large events. Therefore, ACCA has been forced to cancel ...
0 comments