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A member asked us:  I have a question regarding paying an employee overtime. Let’s say an employee has 43 hours owed him/her in a pay week.  Of the 43 hours, 24 hours are either vacation and/or holiday pay. Do we pay 40 hours regular pay and three hours overtime?  Or can we pay 43 hours regular time?  My interpretation is any pay over 40 hours per week has to be paid at the overtime rate after 40. Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds:  Great question because it underscores a common misconception about the obligation to pay overtime. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, overtime is required only after 40 hours of actual ...
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With wildfires raging across parts of the U.S. and the unpredictable path and strength of Tropical Storm Chris, please prepare in advance by taking a few moments to gain insights from the disaster preparedness tools offered on ACCA’s Disaster Relief webpage . We hope you and your family stay safe. If you, or an ACCA contractor you know, may need help due to extreme weather events, please contact ACCA’s Disaster Relief Manager at (703) 824-8862 or Rosemary.Patrick@acca.org .
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ACCA recently attend the SkillsUSA national event in Louisville, KY, as part of our increased efforts to get more young people involved in the trades. SkillsUSA is a national association serving high school and college students who are preparing for rewarding careers in the trades. Every year, they together future cosmetologists, health workers, plumbers, HVAC techs, and many other occupations, for a competition between the students in each field. Last year, ACCA increased our financial support for the competition. As part of our increased support and focus on working with organizations, like SkillsUSA, ACCA arranged for industry icon Warren Lupson to attend ...
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Contractors,  ensure your new hires and incoming technicians are certified properly  to handle refrigerant — not just in the  required  way, but in the  right  way.  ACCA makes it easy! EPA refrigerant regulations now cover issues like HFCs and HFOs, revised allowable leak rates, and expanded recorded keeping guidelines, none of which were covered under the old EPA Section 608 test.   ACCA has just released our new online  ACCA EPA 608 Test Prep Course . This is a self-paced,  online  course  that will expose you to every topic and question that could appear on the EPA 608 Test. By listening to each section of the online course and reviewing ...
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Over the last 18 month myself and ACCA’s Board of Directors have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know and work with Daniel Simmons, which served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Dan’s position requires a Senate confirmation, and ACCA was pleased to offer our support for Dan and encouragement to the Senate to move forward with his nomination. ACCA believes there are many issues that require immediate attention and the sooner an Assistant Secretary for the Office of EERE can be confirmed the more certainty there will be for ACCA’s members as well as their customers. ...
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On Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 at the University of District of Columbia: David A. Clarke School of Law, I represented ACCA and our contractor members on a panel of experts sharing available options and best practices for the design and commissioning of building mechanical systems. Washington, D.C.’s Department of Consumer Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) hosts these seminars to harmonize practical, relevant, and local experiences for the advancement of the building industry. According to the D.C. government, D.C. has been a national leader in defining and implementing the concept of sustainable cities, but ACCA is concerned that too many mechanical systems are still ...
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We all understand federal funding drives many decisions on the state and local level. The years of lack of attention and funding for career and technical education has resulted in a huge constraint in getting more folks into technical education programs. This couple with the lack of a level playing field with traditional four-year colleges has created crisis for our country. As summer heats up and temps exceed 100 degrees many of your businesses are filling this workforce constraint more than ever.   While we have yet to discover the silver bullet to provide the much-needed workforce fix, we are pleased to share skilled workforce support took a major step ...
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A member asked:  With the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME about membership in public-sector unions, will this impact prevailing wage laws? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds:  The decision yesterday won’t have any effect on prevailing wage laws. Davis-Bacon and the Service Contract Act don’t require union membership; in fact, they don’t deal with union membership at all. We do think of those laws as setting prevailing wages based on local union scales although officially that is not the case. Also, it’s worth emphasizing that the Janus decision impacts only the public sector unionized workplace, ...
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Yes. technician certification is required to install a mini-split. Adding or removing refrigerant from a mini-split as part of installation, and/or connecting or disconnecting hoses or pre-charged lines requires a section 608 technician certification. Activities reasonably expected to violate the integrity of the refrigerant circuit include but are not limited to: Attaching or detaching hoses and gauges to and from the appliance; adding or removing refrigerant; adding or removing components; and cutting the refrigerant line. With all the recent changes occurring with refrigerants, ACCA has been working with EPA to ensure our members have the answers to their ...
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In a 5-to-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Janus v. AFSCME, ruling that government employees who choose not to join a union cannot be forced to pay agency or “fair share” fees to the union. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the decision for the majority concluding that “this arrangement violates the free speech rights of non-members by compelling them to subsidize private speech in matters of public concern,” in which he was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch. The four dissenting justices were Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. ...
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The stakes for failure to properly dispose of mercury thermostats just got quite a bit higher in the state of California. Doubling down on a law already in place on disposal and recycling mercury thermostats enacted over ten years ago, the legislature recently added language which now raises the maximum penalty for mishandling the hazardous waste from $25,000 to $70,000, and the fines can be assessed for each separate violation, for continuing violations, and for each day that the violation continues. This is nothing new for California residents and resident companies, who have long been on notice that recycling mercury thermostats isn’t a lifestyle choice, ...
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Exciting news on advancing ACCA's Workforce Priority Senate scheduled to take up Career and Technical Education I'm pleased to share that tomorrow (Tuesday, June 26) the Senate HELP Committee is scheduled to mark up a bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. ACCA has been pushing for this reauthorization/update for nearly two years, and was pleased to offer our support for the legislation after meeting with committee staff, and getting a walk-through of the bipartisan agreement that has been reached to update the law. BACKGROUND: Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act dictates how the federal government ...
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In the wake of the #MeToo movement, a number of states are considering legislation that would limit an employer’s ability to use non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) when settling sexual harassment claims. New York was the first state to enact such legislation, which goes into effect on July 11, 2018 (as a part of a wide-ranging budget bill.) The New York law bans non-disclosure provisions in the settlement of harassment claims, unless confidentiality is incorporated as a part of the complainant’s stated preference. Washington State also passed a similar law to that of New York, and legislation restricting NDAs is being considered in Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania. ...
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Mississippi’s first female U.S. Senator Passes along her thanks to America’s HVAC Contractors The old saying “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu” could not be truer in our current political climate here in Washington. Every single day, the Members of Congress, their staff, and political appointees scatted across all the departments and agencies, representing President Trust, make decisions based on relationships and the trust that comes from those relationships. Those decisions have far-reaching implications, which impact your business. This is why ACCA is based here in Washington, DC and makes sure we have seat at the table for you and ...
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Do you think a merger of the Departments of Labor & Education would be a positive step to address the HVACR industry’s workforce crisis? Today President Trump’s team floated the concept of a merger of the Education and Labor departments. The new combined agency, if approved by Congress, would be part of a broader government reorganization plan that could be announced as soon as today. There are a lot of unknowns here, but on surface as it relates to the HVACR industry workforce needs it seems like a step in the right direction. The plan, if undertaken by the administration, would pose a heavy political and legislative lift.  History tells us that ...
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An ACCA Member asked: 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? ACCA's LegalTools Counsel, Brooke Duncan of Adams and Reese LLP answered: 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 June 6, 2018, Michigan became the 23rd state in repealing a prevailing wage law which mandated union scale wages on public construction projects, and joins the private construction arena in utilizing the hourly wage for construction employees. Employers in Michigan hailed it as a win for the free market (and a blow to unions in the state.) Prevailing wage requires construction workers on state-funded projects to be paid the going union rate, regardless of whether they belong to a union. This restricted local governments in charge of public construction projects (such as schools) from picking and choosing from various contractors and finding competitive rates. ...
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Did you know the U.S. produced 82 million metric tons of steel and 4.4 million metric tons of aluminum last year but exported millions of metric tons of the materials overseas for recycling. With the recent tariffs on steel and aluminum a spotlight has been placed on the fact that the U.S. exported over 1.6 million metric tons of scrap aluminum and 15 million metric tons or scrap steel in 2017. Could steel and aluminum recycling start to pencil out better for your business going forward? An increase in steel and aluminum recycling could reduce the US's need for imported goods, a big boon for the economy after President Donald Trump announced a tariff on all ...
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As a consumer, I expect good customer service when I’m shopping. I always notice the cashier, department workers, and managers who act professionally, provide eye contact, and offer the basic customer service I’m looking for. It’s one of the reasons I drive a few extra miles to buy materials for my home projects at one big box store over another. Rarely, however, do I get the customer service that makes me want to buy more product from a specific company. That changed last week when I saw a response my wife got from BarkBox. For those that don’t know, BarkBox is essentially the Netflix for dog toys and treats. They send us a box every month with themed toys ...
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ACCA Applauds DOL for their early release of Rule to allow expansion of Small Business Health Plans “AHP” Following up on my recent update on where Association Health Plans (AHP) stand, I was pleasantly surprised to learn this morning (Tuesday June 19, 2018) that U.S. Department of Labor was able to FastTrack their AHP work, and put out its long-anticipated rule on AHPs, tweaking the agency's interpretation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's definition of "employer" to allow small businesses to band together and create health plans for their workers. The rule, which was approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget last week, ...
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