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A member asked us: Things seem to be calming down some, thank goodness, relating to COVID-19 and the avalanche of guidance and regulations and interpretation of those laws and regulations from the CDC, DOL and Congress. Thanks, ACCA, for guiding my team through all of this! Lately I’ve been hearing lots of positive news on the statistics, and the possibility of a vaccine. My question is, can I mandate a policy of having to get a vaccine prior to coming or returning to work? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, replies: Even though a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 isn't available yet, it's not too early for employers to start considering whether they will ...
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On August 28, 2020 the IRS released guidance regarding President Trump’s Executive Order on payroll tax deferral. The deferral affects the 6.2 percent portion of employees’ taxes that go towards Social Security. It applies to individuals who make less than $4,000 on a bi-weekly basis or less than $104,000 a year. For businesses that elect to take part in the deferral, it begins on September 1 and runs through the end of 2020. IRS will implement this policy by delaying the deadline for withholding deadline for the employee portion of payroll taxes until the first 4 months of 2021. If you do not wish to participate in the program, you can simply continue ...
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ACCA has urged Congressional leadership to adopt S. 4317—the SAFE TO WORK Act—which would extend COVID-19 related liability protection to small businesses and essential workers across the country. This includes HVACR contractors. Many businesses have already seen frivolous yet costly lawsuits regarding coronavirus exposure. Regardless of how tenuous these exposure claims might be, lawsuits can prove detrimental to any business, inflicting high costs in terms of time, legal fees, and overall efforts to protect business viability and reputation. This important legislation would allow HVACR contractors and businesses to continue their vitally important and essential ...
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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, HVAC contractors have been forced to confront the challenges that come along with economic  uncertainty .  Now, t he need to operate an efficient and profitable business  is  crucial  for HVAC contractors.  This require s  constant monitor ing  o f  industry trends and statistics.  Cool Insights,  Contractor Financial & Operating Performance Report , in partnership with Industry Insights , w as  designed to provide simple guidelines for assessing business performance and identifying improvement opportunities.  The  report  is  based upon data collected  in 2018  from ACCA members , and   those ...
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The new 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) is out, and there are new changes that require ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection for condenser units, disconnects, and other outlets.  The most significant change is to increase the amp protection ratings across all receptacle outlets, both indoor and outdoor, wherever GFCI protection is required.  The change is shown below. “All 125-volt through 250-volt receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A)(1) through (11) and supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts or less to ground shall have ground fault circuit interrupter protection for personnel.”   The NEC expanded ...
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Last week,  Tropical Storm Isaias   br ought  heavy rain ,  flash flooding , tornados  and more to the East Coas t .   The  storm never became more than a low-level Category 1, but the damage it  left behind will cost  big bucks  to repair .   W ith  heavy rain and  winds at  a  top speed of sixty-five mph,  it   left   millions of people  in New York, New Jersey and  Connecticut   without   power .  Yesterday, a tornado touched down in the Midwest, with  thunderstorm  winds  in excess of 75 miles per hour ,  hammer ing down on Chicago and the surrounding area. And now,  Elida, a strong Category 1 hurricane with ...
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As negotiations continue in Congress regarding a second round of COVID-19 relief funding, the Trump Administration began to address the issues on the executive level.  Currently Congress has reached a stalemate, where both sides are remaining uncompromised.  Democrats have proposed a roughly $3 trillion package known as the HEROES Act; while Republicans are proposing their $1 trillion bill known as the HEALS Act.  As the deadline for a new plan nears, President Trump has taken matters into his own hands and released four distinct areas of action.  These include: Extending the federal unemployment benefit and reducing it to $400/per week. Under this suggestion, ...
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Today ACCA wrote Congressional leadership in support of S. 4117 and H.R. 7777, the Paycheck Protection Program Small Business Forgiveness Act. This important bipartisan legislation would completely forgive all PPP loans of less than $150,000 upon the borrower’s completion of a simple, one-page forgiveness document. This would allow many ACCA members to focus their time and energy on their essential businesses instead of burdensome paperwork, while putting real money back into their pockets at the same time.  We know the work ACCA members do is essential and extremely important to our way of life in this country (a point that was made clear to Congress in ...
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Over the past several months, Industry Insights, ACCA’s benchmarking partner, has released a series of surveys regarding the topic of COVID-19 Impact & Implementation. The fourth survey within the series ran from Monday, June 1 to Friday, June 5, 2020. A total of 1,328 respondents from 20 client sectors participated in the latest survey. Please visit this page to read the detailed Executive Summary. When comparing the results of this survey to those of the previous surveys, it’s clear that the infection rate amongst employees has continued to increase. According to the first Impact & Implementation survey released on March 18, 2020, only 1% of ...
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Terminating an Employee

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A member asked us: We have an employee who was pregnant and unfortunately lost her baby. She is going to be out six weeks for recovery. We feel really bad for her, but have wanted to replace her for months. We finally found her replacement, but we are worried about just letting her go now or after her return due to legal issues. The reason we want to let her go is she makes mistakes and really does not seem to care about her job. Is it legal to let her go after her return? Can we keep her on a part time basis if we have an overload of calls instead of full time? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: You’re right ...
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ACCA is urging Congress to support the liability relief provisions in S. 4317, the “SAFE TO WORK Act”. This provision would protect businesses and employees from unfair lawsuits as they begin to reopen.  A key aspect of economic recovery is making sure businesses feel safe to open and will not be buried in years of costly lawsuits. The efforts put forth by businesses, educational facilities, essential workers, etc. would by punished by trivial lawsuits. This legislation would ensure that businesses complying with governmental guidelines will not be harmed by reopening.  In addition, the legislation is not a permanent change to federal law and can remain enacted ...
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My name is  Cailynn  Adelman and I am a  communications  intern this  summer  for  ACCA. When first presented with the opportunity to intern for  a national  HVAC  trade association , I didn’t know what to expect.  The only time I had ever thought about air conditioning or anything along those lines was when I was dripping with sweat on a hot summer day and was ready to step into my  ice-cold  house.  What really drew me in about this internship was the hands-on and project-based learning opportunities. You can read more about ACCA’s  available internships here .    My internship  with ACCA  has shown me what it is like to do communications ...
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ACCA is sharing this article on behalf of BIPAC .  The Polling Extremes By Jim Ellis, BIPAC Senior Political Analyst July 30, 2020 Two survey research organizations, Morning Consult and Change Research just released the results of their recent battleground states polling series. Looking at all the recent public data in these places illustrates the polling volatility and movement within the states that will ultimately decide the presidential election. The ballot test results listed for each state below illustrates the most extreme examples for President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden during the mid to late July period. With such a wide variance ...
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On July 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – KY) introduced the HEALS Act stimulus package. Similar to the previous CARES Act, this act proposes a $1,200 check with a multitude of other benefits.  Some of these benefits include:   Unemployment Benefits:  Benefits  will be shortened to $200 per week  and states will be required to implement a plan to provide each unemployed worker a wage replacement of 70% of their previous pay.    Sequel to PPP:  If small employers have seen their revenue decline by at least 50%, they are eligible to receive a second PPP forgivable loan.    Limited to small businesses with 300 or fewer employees ...
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The Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued additional guidance for workers and employers on how the protections and requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)  are being applied.   Resources include a Fact Sheet for Employees , a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers resource about paid sick and expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA. As well as a guidance poster for employees that fulfills notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees of their FFCRA rights; Questions ...
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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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More ACCA Manuals Become Mandatory Requirements This past spring, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) published the 2021 editions of the Uniform Plumbing Code® (UPC) and Uniform Mechanical Code® (UMC), completing a three‐year consensus development cycle accredited by the American National Standards Institute. Over those three years, ACCA’s Codes Subcommittee submitted proposals and provided comments on other proposals representing our membership’s input. Significant changes to the UMC of interest to HVACR contractors include: Added ACCA Manual Zr - 2018, Residential HVAC System Zoning, to Section 601.2, Sizing ...
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Working in Hot Spaces

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Summer is here! With the summer comes a hectic season with excellent business opportunities too. However, at the same time, the risk goes up while working in hot spaces. According to OSHA, "Most outdoor fatalities, 50% to 70%, occur in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body needs to build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time. The process of building tolerance is called heat acclimatization. Lack of acclimatization represents a major risk factor for fatal outcomes" (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Hazardous environments can occur indoors and outdoors. One area in the house that can present a dangerous ...
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A member asked us: Help! I’m lost in a sea of jargon and business buzzwords! How can I keep up, put up, or move up? I feel like I am drowning in all the trendy new words and phrases. When are they useful, or just simply annoying? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, replies: The following is taken from “Business Buzzwords and How to Avoid Them” in SHRM’s (the Society of Human Resources Management”) Express Requests resource for Trending Topics.© SHRM is a great resource and comes highly recommended for just about every HR topic and issue. The next time a supervisor asks you to help "maximize synergy in order to move the needle," hand her a summary ...
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Several years ago, Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and ACCA began discussions about how the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index should reflect the installation of the largest energy-using appliance in homes across America, the HVAC system.  Three years ago, RESNET formed a working group to draft the standard, which is now an American National Standard! Download RESNET/ACCA Standard 310-2020 “Standard for Grading the Installation of HVAC Systems” now. What Is in RESNET / ACCA Standard 310? The standard outlines five separate tasks that can be performed by the HVAC professional or a HERS Rater.  These tasks evaluate and grade aspects ...
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