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In August 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed the California Cooling Act, which sets California on a course to cut hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) emissions by 40 percent by 2030. The most common HFC used in the HVACR industry is R-410a, which is the replacement for R-22. You may recall that R-22, a widely used refrigerant in unitary comfort conditioning, as well as in refrigeration applications, was phased out (production ban) in new equipment offerings because it is an ozone depleting substance. To replace R-22, the industry primarily switched to R-410a which, as it turns out, has a high global warming potential. The California Cooling Act sets phasedown ...
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On September 6 & 7, I attended the 2018 ENERGY STAR Certified Homes stakeholder meeting in Phoenix. Select ENERGY STAR Certified Homes partners and stakeholders were invited, and attendees included senior leadership from market-leading organizations in the following sectors: utilities, home-builders, home energy rating services, and residential energy efficiency program implementation. ENERGY STAR Certified Homes is one of many programs that requires a credential, like the ACCA QA Contractor accreditation, for mechanical contractors to do program-recognized work. ACCA supports the ENERGY STAR brand, as well as similar efforts that promote HVAC system installations ...
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Back in August, ending an almost decade-long debate, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a comprehensive economic package which included legislation limiting the use of non-competition agreements. The new law goes into effect on October 1, 2018, but does not apply to existing agreements in effect prior to that date.   The new law applies to both employees and independent contractors, and generally bans employment-related non-competition agreements in Massachusetts unless they meet certain statutory requirements. To be enforceable, the agreements must be in writing, signed by both the employer and employee, and state that the employee has ...
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On September 4, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued new Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) notices and certification forms. However, employers should not panic: The changes made by the DOL are completely procedural, and there were no substantive updates to the forms. By way of explanation for the changes, the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 requires the DOL to submit new forms for a formal review process and approval by the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) every three years. Even though the prior forms had expired on May 31, 2018, the DOL was allowed to renew them on a temporary basis pending approval by the OMB. With OMB approval complete, ...
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A member asked us: If an employee, particularly an hourly paid employee, receives and responds to e-mails and/or texts on his/her time after hours, is he/she required to be paid by his/her employer? Does it matter whether it is on a company-paid cell phone or his her/her own phone? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: The simple answers are yes and no. Yes, hourly workers should be paid when they answer emails, phone calls, texts, carrier pigeon messages, etc. on their off-time. No, it makes no difference whether the instrument is theirs or their employer's. Now, having said this, the U.S. Department of Labor applies ...
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With Hurricane Florence taking aim for the East Coast, employers are facing potentially huge liabilities, including employee injuries and fatalities, as well as facility damage and hazardous work conditions. As an employer, it is vital that you have an emergency plan in place, ensure your employees know and have read it, and then follow it – as closely as you can – to the letter. The Code of Federal Regulations (29 C.F.R. 1910.38) requires all workplaces with more than 10 employees to develop a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP), when required by an OSHA standard, to identify and coordinate necessary employer and employee actions during an emergency. ...
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In December 2017, ACCA updated contractors about our concerns regarding the Trump Administration’s lack of progress on extending the “Accelerated Payments to Small Business for Good and Services” program. The Obama Administration created the program that required federal agencies to pay small business contractors within 15 days of receipt of relevant documents. The program was extended several times, but ACCA was concerned that the Trump Administration had not moved forward with making that program permanent. Contractors who work with the federal government were concerned that, if the policy was not renewed, they would have less cash flow and more debt ...
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ACCA Leadership Changes

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After seventeen years with ACCA , Paul Stalknecht , President and CEO, will be leaving the association, effective September 5, 2018. Since 2001, Paul has played a critical role in the development and success of ACCA , and while we will miss him and his inspiring leadership, we wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors. We want to thank him for dedicated service which involved many significant accomplishments. The Board of Directors has appointed Barton James, senior vice president of government affairs, as interim president and CEO. Barton’s advocacy and trade association leadership experience will be invaluable as ACCA engages with our membership ...
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Question: When you hire an older person, what might happen as their productivity become less? Is it fine to pre-establish a decrease in pay? Or, let the inevitable happen and grit your teeth as they slow down? Thanks for any words of wisdom. Answer: Let's start by answering the question with a question: What do you do when anyone you've hired becomes less productive? Here's the point: You should hire without regard to the applicant being "older" and make the hiring decision based on needs of the business, applicant skills, and other relevant, non-age based factors (other than of course you shouldn't hire in violation of child labor laws). Likewise, how much ...
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The following Guest Blog is provided from ACCA's partners at the Men's Health Network. www.http://menshealthnetwork.org/. ACCA and the Men's Health Network are on a mission to "reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health awareness and disease prevention messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation." Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, striking approximately 165,000 men each year with about 30,000 dying of the disease – making it second only to lung cancer as the deadliest cancer in men. All men are at risk for prostate cancer, ...
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Great News! We heard your requests and have extended the early bird pricing for ACCA's Next Level  and Service Leadership events! Save $100 if you register before midnight, Thursday, August 30 with the promo code LEAD18.   Make sure you book your room at the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel once you register. Stay where all the action is taking place. Our special group room rate of only $199 per night (plus applicable fees and taxes) cuts off October 15, 2018
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As we wait for a new overtime rule from the U.S. Department of Labor, currently projected for early 2019, there is an overtime proposal in Pennsylvania that ACCA weighed in on and would welcome your support. On June 23, 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor released a proposal to revise state regulations implementing overtime pay. The Pennsylvania proposal largely mirrors the 2016 Obama Administration rule, which ACCA opposed. The Pennsylvania Labor Department’s proposal would more than double the current federal threshold, increasing the current existing salary threshold to $921 per week within two years and require automatic adjustments every three years. ...
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There is widespread concern about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently proposed “Significant New Use Rule” (SNUR) for asbestos. ACCA has analyzed the SNUR so contractors have a thorough understanding of the issue, ensuring you can address any concerns your customers or employees may have. What You Need to Know On June 1, 2018, the EPA proposed a framework that would allow for the approval of new uses of asbestos. The EPA proposal would require any new uses of asbestos to be assessed and approved by the agency. The EPA is not allowing currently prohibited uses of asbestos to be reintroduced. Asbestos is not currently banned by the federal ...
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ACCA welcomes the U.S. Treasury’s guidance on applying the new 20% tax deduction to businesses organized as pass-throughs. The tax reform bill (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act “TCJA”) that passed in December, created an inequitable playing field for small businesses. ACCA has been lobbying the Administration and “helping them understand” that S-corps, sole proprietorship's, and partnerships comprise 95% of all businesses and employ the majority of American workers, and deserve to have a level playing field with corporations. By organizing as S-corporations and other pass-through businesses, ACCA members have been able to help keep family businesses in the family. The ...
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Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced its second phase of enforcement and immigration compliance by serving 2,738 I-9 Notices of Investigation (NOI) to U.S. businesses around the country, after having served 2,450 in phase one earlier this year. Additionally, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the ICE division handling the audits, made 675 criminal and 984 administrative-related arrests. Fines for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ unauthorized workers start at $559 and can go as high as $22,363 for repeated offenses. Clearly, HSI is taking immigration enforcement very seriously. While this may not yet seem to be hitting ...
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On August 7, 2018, in a case filed by the Colorado Attorney General against a Westminster-based, Colorado HVAC company, a district judge issued a permanent injunction against the company for violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act. The Court’s order requires the defendants (the owner and manager of the company) to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties, $205,146 in consumer restitution, and to reimburse the state’s attorney’s fees and costs. The order also permanently enjoined the owner and manager from engaging in any activity related to the sale or installation of any type of HVAC equipment. The verdict follows a temporary restraining order issued ...
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In a significant decision for manufacturers, the Minnesota Supreme Court found that the state’s 10-year statute of repose (limitations) did not bar claims that involve machinery installed on real property, allowing claims of breach of warranty, negligence, and product liability to move forward. The case arose out of a residential construction project and the installation of ventilators into a home’s HVAC system. Sixteen years after completion of the work, a fire broke out in one of the ventilators, causing property damage. After paying the homeowner’s insurance claim, Great Northern Insurance filed a suit against the manufacturer of the motors in the ventilators, ...
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Late last year I blogged about updates to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) reporting by businesses on injury and illness recordkeeping rules (OSHA Injury Tracking, September 21, 2017.) Yesterday, OSHA published a rule to amend the injury record-keeping rules by rescinding the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 and 301. While this only affects a small subset of our membership, we don’t know yet if OSHA will expand this new rulemaking to businesses with 20 – 249 employees when electronically filing injury and illness reports. The proposed rule addresses concerns ...
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This is a special legislative update to let you know that one of ACCA's legislative priorities passed the House and Senate is headed to President Trump's desk! After more than a year of negotiations with Senators, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, commonly referred to as Perkins Reauthorization, reauthorizes funding for America's technical career and technical education schools and provides states with much needed flexibility, allowing them to set their own benchmarks at the state, and local level. This will allow them draw from a $1,200,000,000 grant program and prioritize in-demand job opportunities, like those in ...
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Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY-02) and Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA-53), chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee hosted on July 12 the first official event of Congressional Apprenticeship Caucus, and ACCA was to be invited and represent the HVACR Industry. At the encouragement of ACCA and others on the frontlines pushing for the advancement of sound workforce policy, to address the severe shortage of skilled workers in the HVACR Industry and across the trades, Guthrie and Davis launched the bipartisan Apprenticeship Caucus to look at ways Congress ...
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