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The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released a PSA warning that attackers are exploiting people's trust in sites that use HTTPS. Cybersecurity training has in the past encouraged users to look for the lock icon next to the URL in the browser, but many users still believe this icon is proof that the site they're on is legitimate. This is not always the case! The FBI advises users to be wary of requests in emails, even if they appear to come from known contacts. Scrutinize links carefully and "question the intent of the email content," rather than taking emails at face value. If you receive a suspicious request, "confirm the email is legitimate by ...
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Recently, I got a new computer, which meant having to login to all my secure accounts where I didn’t have the passwords auto-saved. To protect all my “super important and secure” data, I had complicated passwords, that I just couldn’t remember. So, I had to do a lot of “forgot password” clicks and changed the passwords…DOH! This little exercise got me thinking about passwords and what people really need to know about securing their secure data, so I dug up some information that may contradict what you have heard for years but may make your life easier. Use a Password Manager Password managers are not a new concept and have been around for years. And, man ...
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Question:     I recently spoke with another member who informed me that their company was paying their field employees on a “commission” basis. The installers receive a flat percentage of every job and the technicians receive a flat percentage of every ticket. The company does not keep track of employee hours and they don’t pay them overtime. Both companies tell me they have had Department of Labor audits without issue. I understand there’s an opinion letter online from the Department of Labor that allowed a plumbing franchise to pay their field staff in this manner under an exemption for retail or service establishments. Our business is in a state without ...
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A member asked us:   We pay bonuses to techs for leads and accessory sales. Our current policy is to pay half of the bonus up front and the other half at the end of the year, provided they are still employed with us. However, if they quit prior to year-end, they forfeit the year-end portion. We are considering altering the policy to reduce the amount of our bonuses (in half) and still pay up front, but change the wording to state that we will match at the end of the year any bonuses earned for the year, if they are still employed with us then. Any issues with the way we are currently doing it, i.e., paying half at year end or the way we are anticipating ...
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ACCA urges taxpayers to do a Paycheck Checkup as soon as possible to see if they’re having their employer withhold the right amount of tax. This year the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was implemented to make large tax cuts for individuals. However, many individuals had to pay a high amount during tax season despite the tax cuts. The IRS is suggesting that this was likely due to improper withholding. The IRS Withholding Calculator can help taxpayers check their current withholding, determine if they need to adjust it and avoid tax filing surprises next year. ACCA is focusing on helping taxpayers understand what actions they should take now- especially if their taxes ...
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Have you seen this flyer from DuPont™ regarding their Suva® 410A refrigerant? A friend of mine sent this over wondering what the latest is regarding 608 certification requirements. According to DuPont’s flyer, they are telling contractors that they are not required to have an EPA 608 certification to purchase R-410A. I called our friends at EPA to share this information and they, once again, stated that this is not correct. In a statement, they said, “EPA extended the sales restriction and 608 technician certification requirements to R-410A and other “non-exempt substitutes” starting 1/1/2018. So, you’d need a 608 certification card to purchase R-410A. ...
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ACCA attended a congressional hearing with the House Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development. The hearing was focused on the upcoming skills gap in the workforce and apprenticeship programs. During this hearing, Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors (HARDI) CEO Talbot Gee testified ( to hear Mr. Gee’s testimony skip to 23:43 ) before the Subcommittee bringing attention to the plight of both distributers and contractors. Mr. Gee talked about the importance of bringing skilled workers into our industry and removing the negative stigma on the trades. He specifically referenced both ACCA and Plumbing Heating and Cooling ...
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Just this week, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law legislation to ban private employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history during an initial written or electronic interview application. The Colorado Chance to Compete Act has a very broad definition for private employers, which includes “a person that regularly engages the services of individuals to perform services of any manner.” These employers include agents, representatives and other designees for employers and employment agencies as set forth under Colorado law. Exceptions to the new law include federal, state, or local regulations that prohibit persons with specific criminal ...
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On May 28, 2019, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed the Earned Paid Leave Law (EELA) which made it the first state to enact a mandatory paid time off law. The groundbreaking law mandates that employees may use paid earned leave for any reason. Employers have until January 1, 2021 to develop a compliance plan. Here are some of the highlights from the law: Covered employers are defined by statute as those with 10 or more employees who are employed for more than 120 days in a calendar year. Employees can accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employers must pay employees for used pay leave at a rate ...
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Striking a blow for payroll companies across the State of California, the Supreme Court of California recently held that employees are not third-party beneficiaries to a payroll company under the California third-party beneficiary doctrine, and as such may not sue their employer’s payroll provider for wage and/or hour discrepancies. The Court found that even though an employee may benefit from the contractual relationship between the employer and payroll company (i.e. received wages), distribution of wages is not the motivating purpose of the contracting parties. Instead, the Court concluded that the relevant motivating purpose is “to provide a benefit ...
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The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) was passed overwhelmingly by the House on May 23, 2019. The bill was passed with bipartisan support, in a 417-3 vote. If the SECURE Act is passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, there will be significant changes to employer-sponsored retirement plans, as well as to IRAs. Some of the features of the new law that, if passed, may affect your retirement plan include: The age for Required Minimum Distributions would be raised from the current age of 70.5 to age 72; Part-time employees who have worked 500 hours per year for the last three years would be required ...
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Small businesses often struggle with productivity, because there is an ever-growing list of tasks that need to be accomplished. The feeling quickly becomes that you could grow your business if you had more time to complete these tasks. Unfortunately, there are still only 24 hours in a day and at some point, you do need to sleep and eat. Small businesses often struggle with productivity, because there is an ever-growing list of tasks that need to be accomplished. The feeling quickly becomes that you could grow your business if you had more time to complete these tasks. Unfortunately, there are still only 24 hours in a day and at some point, you do need to sleep ...
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While the U.S. and China remain in a tit-for-tat tariff fight, there is good news in North America. Negotiations between the US, Canada, and Mexico for a new free trade agreement have gone well enough that aluminum and steel tariffs on imports from Canada and Mexico will be lifted. Again, President Trump took to twitter to announce this policy change! For more than a year, tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum have been levied on imports from our neighbors. This has been a significant issue for Congress who is being courted to pass an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Many in Congress have been displeased ...
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For the past 17years, the volunteer leaders and senior staff from ACCA, AHRI (manufacturer association), and HARDI (distributor association) have gathered to collaborate on issues that the our industry must address. ACCA created the Industry Partners Forum (IPF) sixteen years ago and for fifteen years put this annual event together – creating the agenda and events to foster more personal relationships between manufacturers, distributors, and contractors. In 2019, HARDI took on the leadership role and gathered the industry in south Florida. The 2019 agenda focused on upcoming refrigerant changes and furnace efficiency rules pending at the Department of Energy. ...
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A member asked us: We pay a flat daily amount of $15 to our techs which we call a “travel fee.” Should this payment be considered part of a tech’s compensation, and if so, should the payment be counted when the tech works overtime?  If the tech is an independent contractor, getting a 1099, do overtime rules apply?  What are the requirements to be classified as an independent contractor? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: Hourly employees must be paid at least minimum wage for all hours they are in the service of the employer, and that includes time spent in going from one assignment to another. Travel time during ...
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From a blog on the Federal Trade Commission website : “Whether your summer plans include replacing your air conditioning, installing new flooring, or riding the range, you will probably read customer reviews to learn what people say about their experiences with a business or product. Shoppers benefit from knowing what others have to say, and the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) protects people’s ability to share their truthful experiences and opinions.   The FTC enforces the CRFA and recently sued three businesses (and two of their owners) for violating that law. According to the FTC, the companies used form contracts that barred customers from sharing ...
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Healthcare is an important and complex topic and ACCA is working to make simpler and more affordable. The Trump administration has been working to support Association Health Plans (AHP) to benefit small business owners, but how would they work? Association Health Plans allow small business, like ACCA members, to pool their employees for healthcare. ACCA could create a large pool of contracting businesses to obtain a preferential pricing by increasing the risk pool (one reason the federal government offers reasonable healthcare to employees is because of the large risk pool). This fixes the problem of too small of a risk pool for healthcare that many small ...
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Last year, President Trump announced a 10 percent tariff on many products – including HVACR products - entering the U.S. from China. And, using the power of the tweet, President Trump recently announced the 10 percent tariff will increase to 25 percent. President Trump also announced that he will eventually tax an additional $325,000,000,000 worth of Chinese products if the U.S. and China trade talks do live up to his expectations. According to U.S. officials, China has backtracked on many commitments that they promised to adhere to in agreements that were thought to be settled. A Chinese delegation is visiting the U.S. today (May 10, 2019) to discuss ...
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If you have ever played a sport you know that communication among players keeps plays going long, prevents accidents, and helps the team score points and win. The same is true for teams in a business. Effective communication drives success and creates a better working environment. According to a study done by Queens University of Charlotte, 75% of employers ranked collaboration and teamwork as very important to their business’s success. The down side to that is that another study by Salesforce showed that 86% of employers cited lack of collaboration and/or ineffective communications as the reason for failures in the workplace. OUCH! Fear not, there are some ...
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Last week I attended the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) Technical Committee (TC) meeting to discuss public comments received on proposals to revise the 2018 UMC (for the future 2021 edition of UMC).  I am happy to report that we were successful in all areas as described below. ACCA Manual Zr: Residential HVAC System Zoning In response to ACCA’s comments, the UMC TC approved our proposal to add ACCA Manual Zr to the UMC as a mandatory requirement for designing zoned duct systems.  This requirement will appear in the 2021 edition of the UMC.  ACCA Manuals S (Residential Equipment Selection) ...
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