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CDC Guidance and Recommendations on COVID-19 – July 27 2021

Below is the latest guidance and recommendation from the CDC on COVID-19.  As the CDC continues to revise its guidance, please review the CDC website (www.cdc.gov) for the latest information.

At this time, the CDC does not require but recommends masks for fully vaccinated individuals in public indoor settings in an area of high COVID-19 transmission.  Also at this time, the CDC does not require but recommends testing and masks for fully vaccinated individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19.

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Participate in many of the activities that they did before the pandemic; for some of these activities, they may choose to wear a mask.
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel and from self-quarantine after travel
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible

To reduce their risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others, CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people:

  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission,
    • Fully vaccinated people might choose to mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in their household is unvaccinated. People who are at increased risk for severe disease include older adults and those who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, overweight or obesity, and heart conditions.
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Get tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result.
  • Isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow any applicable federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.

People who are immunocompromised should be counseled about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and to follow current prevention measures (including wearing a maskstaying 6 feet apart from others they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) regardless of their vaccination status to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.

Fully vaccinated people with COVID-19 symptoms

Although the risk that fully vaccinated people could become infected with COVID-19 is low, any fully vaccinated person who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, and tested for SARS-CoV-2 if indicated. The symptomatic fully vaccinated person should inform their healthcare provider of their vaccination status at the time of presentation to care.

Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

Most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine, be restricted from work, or be tested following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, as their risk of infection is low.  However, they should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure.

For unvaccinated individuals, the CDC guidance remains unchanged at this time in regard to protection and exposure.  CDC recommends that unvaccinated individuals should wear a mask in indoor public places with a social distance of 6 feet or greater and frequent hand sanitization.   If exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, unvaccinated individual should isolate and quarantine for 14 days after exposure.

Covid-19 sample business plan

Sample Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response – 03.31.2020.pdf

Covid-19 Job site practices

Monday, March 23 – Wednesday, April 1, 20202:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT
 All contractors should incorporate COVID-19 transmission and prevention into all job hazard analyses (JHAs) and pre-task safety planning for all aspects of the work. This tool is provided solely as a guideline for contractors and is not to be relied upon to prevent the spread or transmission of COVID-19, or prevent a safety violation from being issued by a jurisdictional authority. This is not legal advice. Contractors should continually evaluate the specific hazards at their job sites along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations to determine the most appropriate job hazard analysis for the project/task as it relates to the spread and/or transmission of COVID-19.

 

 

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Navigating the Outbreak Webinar Series

Navigating the Outbreak: An Eight Part Webinar Series on the Factors that Construction Companies Need to Consider, as They Strive for Business Continuity.”  Attached are the slide decks for each webinar  as well.

Monday, March 23 – Wednesday, April 1, 20202:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT
 

Webinar Resources
Navigating the Outbreak, Part 1:
What are your federal and state legal obligations to provide paid and unpaid leave? 
Read More»

Navigating the Outbreak, Part 2:
What are the federal and many state labor and employment laws are likely to require of you, as you adjust your operations to meet the latest contingencies?
Read More»

Part 3:  
The Contractual and Legal Protections and Risks for Construction Companies 
Read More»

Part 4:

Latest Economic, Legislative & Regulatory COVID-19 Related Impacts on Construction Webinar

Read More>>

Part 6:

Insurance Coverage and Claims for Losses Resulting from the Outbreak

Read More>>


 

 

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Vaccination Q&As for Construction Employers 2.17.21

This guidance is provided by AGC of America (AGC) and the law firm Fisher Phillips to inform AGC members about their rights and obligations under federal law so that they can make well-informed decisions when adopting employment policies and practices related to COVID-19 and other vaccinations. It is in no way intended to signify that AGC recommends employer vaccination mandates. AGC opposes government mandates requiring construction firms to require employee vaccination and supports construction firms’ freedom to choose the best approach for their individual businesses and workforces.

AGC and Fisher Phillips provide this document in hopes that it will be helpful to you but without any promises that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Nothing in this document should be considered legal advice. Readers are encouraged to consult legal counsel for advice in making the best choices based on their particular circumstances, including consideration of any relevant contractual obligations and state and local laws.

Click for handout

CDC – COVID-19 Testing Consent 2.4.21

The CDC recently released guidance for Employers who conduct COVID-19 Tests on employees.  In its release, the CDC recommends obtaining informed consent and disclosure in conducting such COVID testing.  Please visit the attached link for more details and information.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/workplaces-businesses/workplace-testing-consent-elements-disclosures.html

AGCA Analysis of New OSHA COVID-19 Guidance 2.3.21

On Jan. 29, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new guidance on protecting workers and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.  Per OSHA, the guidance is not a standard or regulation, creates no new legal obligations and the recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in recognizing and abating hazards in the workplace. 

Attached you will find an analysis from AGC of America highlighting the key differences in the recent guidance in comparison to previous guidance issued.   

If you have any questions regarding the new guidance, please contact the Kevin Cannon (kevin.cannon@agc.org) or Nazia Shah (nazia.shah@agc.org) in AGC of America’s safety and health services department.

OSHA COVID-19 Guidance under Biden 2.1.21

Buzzy Riis with Hand Arendall Harrison Sale, and Mobile Section’s Safety Chair shared the following updated OSHA Covid-19 Guidance Information. It provides more concrete guidance on how OSHA may look at employer’s COVID-19 duties (under the new Biden Administration).

Protecting Workers_ Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of …PDF.

Guidance on FFCRA Paid Leave Expiration/Tax Credits 1.4.21

DOL Publishes Guidance on FFCRA Paid Leave Expiration

Tax Credits for Voluntarily Providing Leave Temporarily Extended
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) posted announced additional guidance to provide information about protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA’s paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements expired on Dec. 31, 2020.
The new guidance, in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (see questions 104 & 105) on the WHD website, addresses whether workers who did not use their leave entitlement under the FFCRA in 2020 may use such leave after Dec. 31, 2020. It also explains how WHD will maintain its enforcement authority over employers’ leave responsibilities while the FFCRA’s paid leave requirements were in effect, even after these leave entitlements have expired.
Additionally, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), 2021, extended employer tax credits for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave voluntarily provided to employees until March 31, 2021. However, the CAA did not extend employees’ entitlement to FFCRA leave beyond Dec. 31, 2020, meaning employers will no longer be legally required to provide such leave. IRS has not updated its guidance yet, but existing guidance on the eligible tax credits can be found here.
WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to the coronavirus and its effects on wages and hours worked and job-protected leave under the FMLA at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic. For AGC-provided resources on FFCRA and other coronavirus-related matters of significance to construction employers, visit AGC’s coronavirus website.

For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382.

COVID Vaccine Distribution (Construction included in Phase 1-C) 12.21.20

As the federal government began their distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine this week, we understand there are many questions surrounding where construction may fall in hierarchy of the phased approach to vaccination . As you know, each state’s Governor will make the final determination as to who will receive the first doses of the vaccine over the coming days and weeks, with each state already completing their interim vaccination distribution plans. Each plan was developed according to the CDC recommendations contained within the “COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations.” The CDC incorporated the CISA essential workforces guidance into its recommendations to states. Most of the plans will first target critical populations, which include healthcare workers and other vulnerable populations followed by essential workforces.

The guidance provides a phased approach for the initial distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to essential workforces as follows:

  • Phase 1-A: Paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.

  • Phase 1-B: People who play a key role in keeping essential functions of society running and cannot socially distance in the workplace (e.g., emergency and law enforcement personnel not included in Phase 1-A, food packaging and distribution workers, teachers/school staff, childcare providers), adults with high-risk medical conditions who possess risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness, and people 65 years of age or older (including those living in LTCFs).

The critical infrastructure workforce may vary by jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction will decide which groups to focus on when vaccine supply is limited by determining key sectors that may be within their populations. Construction workers would not be included initial Phase 1-A; however, could be considered for Phase 1-B depending on any analysis or determination made at the local level. In the coming days, the CDC will make a recommendation as to which industry sectors will receive the vaccine following those in healthcare and similar industry sectors. AGC does not advocate for a mandatory vaccine but we understand the potential benefits of widespread vaccination. With that said, we encourage our members to have discussions with their respective workforces to inform any vaccination plan that is under consideration.

Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, provided state data that showed construction as the source of exposure in only .66% of COVID-19 cases from September to November, according to contact tracing data. While we have done a tremendous job of protecting our workforce, it does not eliminate the potential for non-occupational exposures, those occurring during an employee’s personal activities, which then can be introduced into the workplace. Therefore, we must communicate the success we have achieved on the safety front to local and state officials, but also raise awareness regarding exposures out of the employers control given the surge in community spread.

If your chapter has already engaged with your state and local officials regarding vaccine prioritization, we ask that you please share your experiences. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Covid-19 Guideline Revision 12.7.20

The CDC announced two alternatives to its recommended 14-day quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19.

Those exposed to COVID-19 that exhibit none of the symptoms may end quarantine after:

  1. 7 days following a negative test

  2. 10 days without a negative test

Both PCR and rapid tests are acceptable, and it is recommended that the test be taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period (5-7 days after exposure).

For more information on COVID-19 and related guidelines, please visit the CDC website (www.cdc.gov). 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Update

A flurry of activity has recently surrounded the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of the Treasury, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and AGC of America.  Below is a summary of activity related to the IRS ruling on PPP deductibility, the new SBA loan forgiveness “questionnaire,” and an upcoming webinar that will update participants on all of this.

PPP Deductibility

For background on the PPP deductibility issue and some of the myriad problems that the IRS is causing for PPP loan recipients, please refer to the coalition letter to Congressional tax writers that AGC led back in May, which can be found here.

Since the IRS announced that it would deny deductions for ordinary and necessary business expenses that companies used PPP loans to cover (such as payroll, rent, mortgage, utility payments, etc.), Congressional tax writers have weighed in against the ruling, and the House of Representatives passed legislation (the HEROES Act) that included a provision to overrule the IRS.

Until recently, many businesses (and accountants, tax preparers, etc.) assumed that they would be able to deduct such expenses in 2020 if they delayed their applications for loan forgiveness until next year, in the hope that Congress would step in to correct the problem.  

However, on November 18, the IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2020-27, which announced that such expenses are not deductible for this tax year if “the taxpayer reasonably expects to receive forgiveness of the covered loan” and  “even if the taxpayer has not submitted an application for forgiveness of the covered loan by the end of such taxable year” (emphasis added).  Since then, the Republican and Democratic chairs of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committee issued a statement blasting the IRS for this ruling and saying, again, that this was contrary to Congressional intent.

In recent months, AGC has worked with a number of coalition stakeholders on the deductibility of expenses that PPP loans cover, and the association is now planning to send a letter to Congressional leadership, calling for this issue to be addressed in the lame duck session of Congress before the end of the year.&n
bsp; The IRS ruling has created a renewed sense of urgency to deal with this issue now, and AGC of America hopes to see legislation to correct this issue attached to the end of year spending package currently being negotiated by House and Senate leadership.

AGC of America invites you to review its letter here, and to add the name of your chapter to the letter here.  Additionally, AGC of America will be sending an action alert to members Thursday calling on AGC members to contact their members of Congress to address this issue before the end of the year.  The deadline to sign the letter is COB Wednesday, December 2.

If anyone would like additional information about this issue, or would like to contact their respective Congressional delegations, please contact Matthew Turkstra at (202) 316-1144, or matt.turkstra@agc.org

PPP Loan Forgiveness Questionnaire

On October 26, the SBA published a notice in the Federal Register seeking approval to make use of a new PPP loan forgiveness “questionnaire” (SBA Form 3509) intended for borrowers out of PPP loans of $2 million or more.  As you have likely noticed from AGC’s communications, this questionnaire, its legality, and the process by which it is being reviewed/approved, have all been extremely opaque and confusing.

In fact, many AGC members have already received this questionnaire (either formally or informally) and have many related concerns.  If devoid of any context, the information that it elicits could paint a misleading picture of the economic circumstances that a construction firm faced at the time it applied for a PPP loan, and of its subsequent financial performance.

On November 18, on behalf of AGC of America, the well regarded Washington law firm of Crowell & Moring sent a letter to SBApointing out the many serious flaws in the way that SBA developed this form and process by which the Office of Management and Budget approved of its use.  For a full understanding of the breath and potential impact of this form, please see this C&M webinar(which includes a PowerPoint PDF) all of which can be shared with your members.  

Additionally, on November 25, AGC of America filed formal comments on this questionnaire, which can be viewed here.  AGC of America’s comments go into significant detail about the public statements that Treasury and SBA made about the program at the time when many AGC members applied for their loans, and the tremendous amount of economic danger and uncertainty that the construction industry faced.  

As a reminder, AGC created an extensive “state of mind” document  that members are welcome to reference.  In short, it is a compilation of significant news articles, data, and AGC survey results about what was happening in and to the industry at the height of the pandemic earlier this year.

AGC of America is currently in communication with Treasury and SBA—as it simultaneously explores litigation–regarding the necessity questionnaire. We will keep you updated about any actions that we take.

Webinar

On December 10 at 12:30 pm (EST), AGC of America is hosting a webinar, with experts from the accounting firm Marcum, entitled “Asking for Forgiveness? Navigating the Ever-Changing PPP Loan process for Contractors”.  The webinar will be free for AGC members, and further details can be seen here.

The focus of the webinar will be on these recent developments on PPP loan forgiveness, and there will be extensive time for Q&A with the representatives from Marcum to answer AGC member questions.

OSHA Reveals COVID-19 Enforcement Priorities

Also publishes guidance regarding workplace ventilation.

David Sparkman – EHS Today

NOV 23, 2020

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revealed the criteria it relies on to target employers for COVID-19 investigations along with naming those who received citations and the penalties they were assessed.

The agency also recently issued a new COVID-19 guidance for employers addressing ventilation standards they should adopt for their workspaces.

OSHA has come under intense criticism this year, particularly from labor unions, for relying on the General Duty Clause to support enforcement actions after declining to create Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). The criticism also has come from politicians such as President-elect Joe Biden and Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia.

Recently, a 7,000-word screed was published in the pages of the New Yorker magazine, which later required several serious corrections, which charged that the agency has not done enough to protect workers by failing to go after employers.

OSHA recently reported that since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and up through Nov. 5, it has issued 203 citations arising from inspections for violations rela
ting to the Coronavirus, resulting in penalties which have totaled $2,851,533.

With only a few exceptions, the most recent citations have involved various kinds of medical facilities, including hospitals. The grand total includes citations issued earlier this year for a meatpacking plant and additional medical facilities.

On Nov. 6, OSHA issued a guidance summarizing which safety standards the federal agency most frequently cites during COVID-related inspections These are examples of requirements it says employers most frequently fail to follow:

• Provide a medical evaluation before a worker is fit-tested or uses a respirator.

• Perform an appropriate fit test for workers using tight fitting respirators.

• Assess the workplace to determine if COVID-19 hazards are present, or likely to be present, which will require the use of a respirator and/or other personal protective equipment (PPE).

• Establish, implement and update a written respiratory protection program with required worksite-specific procedures.

• Provide an appropriate respirator and/or other PPE to each employee when necessary to protect the health of the employees (ensuring the respirator and/or PPE used is the correct type and size).

• Train workers to safely use respirators and/or other PPE in the workplace and retrain workers about changes in the workplace that might make previous training obsolete.

• Store respirators and other PPE properly in a way to protect them from damage, contamination, and, where applicable, deformation of the facepiece and exhalation valve.

• For any fatality that occurs within 30 days of a work-related incident, report the fatality to OSHA within eight hours of finding out about it.

• Keep required records of work-related fatalities, injuries and illness.

The guidance lists available resources and information to assist in complying with each of the above requirements.

The guidance also notes that, in light of the essential need for respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic, “OSHA has temporarily exercised some enforcement discretion regarding respirators, including certain fit testing provisions, the use of respirators that are beyond their manufacturer’s recommended shelf life, extended use and reuse of respirators, the use of alternative respirators certified under standards of certain other countries and jurisdictions, and decontamination of respirators.”

However, the agency emphasizes that this enforcement discretion applies only after an employer has considered and taken all possible steps to comply with measures in a particular control strategy.

Guidance on Ventilation

Around the same time it issued these reports about its enforcement activities, OSHA chose to published a new guidance on ventilation.

OSHA recommends that employers work with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals to look at ways to improve building ventilation as a way to address the potential hazard of exposure to COVID-19. In addition, it stresses that an HVAC professional can make sure that the ventilation system is operating as intended.

“Enclosed spaces with poor ventilation and air flow can make it more likely for employees to be exposed to potential infection,” attorney Raymond Perez II of the Jackson Lewis law firm points out. “Studies have also shown that infected droplets can travel farther in areas that are not well ventilated.”

The agency reminds employers that following these tips can help reduce the risk of exposure to the Coronavirus:

• Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.

• Ensure all HVAC systems are fully functional, especially those shut down or operating at reduced capacity during the pandemic.

• Remove or redirect personal fans to prevent blowing air from one worker to another.

Use HVAC system filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13 or higher, where feasible.

• Increase the HVAC system’s outdoor air intake. Open windows or other sources of fresh air where possible.

• Be sure exhaust air is not pulled back into the building from HVAC air intakes or open windows.

• Consider using portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to increase clean air, especially in higher-risk areas.

• When changing filters, wear appropriate PPE. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends using N95 respirators, eye protection (safety glasses, goggles, or face shields), and disposable gloves.

• Make sure that exhaust fans in restrooms are fully functional, operating at maximum capacity, and are set to remain on.

• Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

OSHA- Ventilation at Workplace 11.5.20

A new OSHA Alert provides tips on how heating, ventilation, and air conditioning professionals can help employers optimize building ventilation to reduce the risk of workers being exposed to the coronavirus.

 OSHA-Ventilation at Workplace.PDF

WSFA: Gov. Ivey announces updates to Alabama’s ‘safer at home’ order 11.5.20

By WSFA Staff | November 5, 2020 at 9:09 AM CST – Updated November 5 at 11:17 AM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr
. Scott Harris announced updates to Alabama’s “safer at home” order Thursday morning.

LIVESTREAM: Gov. Ivey updating public on ‘safer at home’ order at 11 a.m.

Under the updated order:

  • Emergency occupancy rates were removed for retailers, fitness centers and entertainment venues.

  • An exception to social-distancing rules will be allowed for many businesses, including barber shops, hair salons, gyms, and restaurants, if people are wearing masks and separated by an “impermeable” barrier.

This means restaurants and many other businesses will be able to accommodate more people if partitions are in place.

The order will remain in effect until Dec. 11.

Many of the restrictions that have been in place for months will remain. They include:

  • Masks required in schools and colleges, where possible, for employees and students in second grade and above.

  • Masks required in public when interacting within 6 feet with people of another household.

Alabama has seen a recent increase in COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported 1,488 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. Alabama’s death toll stands at 3,006.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

Click to view full article: https://www.wsfa.com/2020/11/05/gov-ivey-give-update-states-response-covid-/ 

OSHA National News Release 11.4.20

OSHA National News Release

U.S. Department of Labor

October 30, 2020

U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Announces $2,025,431 In Coronavirus Violations

WASHINGTON, DC – Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through Oct. 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited 144 establishments for violations relating to coronavirus, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $2,025,431.

OSHA inspections have resulted in the agency citing employers for violations, including failures to:

§  Implement a written respiratory protection program;

§  Provide a medical evaluation, respirator fit test, training on the proper use of a respirator and personal protective equipment;

§  Report an injury, illness or fatality;

§  Record an injury or illness on OSHA recordkeeping forms; and

§  Comply with the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

OSHA has already announced citations relating to COVID-19 to 112 establishments, which can be found at dol.gov/newsroom. In addition to those establishments, the 32 establishments below have received coronavirus-related citations totaling $421,887 from OSHA relating to one or more of the above violations from Oct. 16 to Oct. 22, 2020. OSHA provides more information about individual citations at its Establishment Search website, which it updates periodically.

A full list of what standards were cited for each establishment – and the inspection number – are available here. An OSHA standards database can be found here.

Resources are available on the agency’s COVID-19 webpage to help employers comply with these standards.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education, and assistan
ce. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

# # #

Media Contact:

Megan Sweeney, 202-693-4661, sweeney.megan.p@dol.gov

Release Number: 2034-NAT

COVID-19 Scenarios 11.3.20

Attached is a reference sheet that provides guidance on how to address various scenarios of employees with various exposures and/or infection with COVID-19. This chart has been provided by a member of the AGC HR Forum – feel free to use as needed.

COVID-19 Scenarios

Governor Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris Extend Statewide Mask Mandate 8.27.20

Governor Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris Extend Statewide Mask Mandate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, August 27, 2020 – MONTGOMERY – This morning, Governor Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris held a joint press conference, in which they extended the current statewide mask mandate.

The updated Supplemental State of Emergency and Safer at Home Order can be found below:

Seventeenth Supplemental State of Emergency

Safer at Home Order

###

How To Stay Safe As A Contractor During COVID-19 Pandemic 8.18.20

COVID-19 has caused major changes in how we do things across the country. Businesses around the country have been forced to shut down in order to decrease the risk of spreading the virus. Essential workers like contractors are continuously working to help keep essential businesses running and helping homeowners with emergencies.

Since contractors are putting themselves at risk by going out to work every day and helping others, here are some ways that contractors and other essential workers can stay safe in this pandemic. Read More>

Alabama AGC Member Alert – Alabama Department of Labor Notification 8.4.20

The Alabama Department of Labor will be sending notification to all employers about their new obligation pursuant to the Alabama Department of Labor Administrative Code to provide written notice of the availability of unemployment compensation benefits to all employees at the time of their separation.  This Notice must be provided to all employees who are separated from their jobs regardless of the reason.  In other words, an employee who is discharged for cause or who voluntarily leaves his/her employment must receive this Notice.  This requirement is effective immediately.
 
Attached for your review is the Notice of the New Employer Requirement (“Notice”) that you will be receiving from the DOL along with a suggested Notice of Availability of Unemployment Compensation benefits to be presented to the employee at the time of his/her separation.  This Notice may be provided in the form of a letter, email, text message or flyer given or sent to each individual employee who is undergoing separation. 

Notice of New Employer Requirement.pdf 

Notice of Availability of Unemployment Compensation.pdf
 
This information is provided by Mac Greaves, Jones Walker LLP.

Governor Ivey – Amended Safer at Home Order 07.29.2020

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued an order on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 that extends the statewide mask requirement until 5:oo p.m. August 31, 2020.

COVID 19 Update: New FMLA Forms 7.29.20

See attached summary regarding new FMLA Forms issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. The summary includes links the new forms. 

CH Memo on New FMLA Forms.pdf

Additional news and information can be found by visiting our website at https://capellhoward.com/category/covid-19/

REVISED CDC GUIDANCE FOR ISOLATION of PERSONS WITH COVID-19

The CDC has released revised Return to Work guidance for persons with COVID-19:

For persons with COVID-19 who have mild to moderate symptoms may discontinue home isolation under the following conditions:

* At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset AND

* At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND

* Other symptoms have improved.

Symptoms include:

Fever or chills

Cough

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Fatigue

Muscle or body aches

Headache

New loss of taste or smell

Sore throat

Congestion or runny nose

Nausea or vomiting

Diarrhea

For persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 but never develop COVID-19 symptoms (asymptomatic), they may discontinue home isolation 10 days after the date of the first positive test.

Note the CDC still recommends 14 days of quarantine afer exposure to COVID-19.

For more information, please see the attached CDC Guidance.

Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings

Duration of Isolation and Precautions for Adults with COVID-19

Amended Order Regarding COVID-19 7.17.20

Governor Ivey issued an Amended Statewide Order concerning COVID risk issues that went into effect Thursday at 5:00 p.m.  Attached is a summary of the important parts of this Amended Order as they relate to employment issues that may be of interest to you.  

Statewide Mask Requirement for Alabama Disaster Prep & Recovery.pdf 

Governor Ivey Issues Statewide Face Covering Requirement 7.15.20

Governor Kay Ivey issued a supplemental emergency proclamation amending the current Safer at Home Order to include a statewide mask requirement among current sanitization and distancing requirements.

The order requires a mask or facecovering to be worn when within 6 feet of a person from another household in public indoor spaces, outdoor spaces where 10 or more persons are gathered, or when using a vehicle operated by transportation service.

The mask should cover nose and mouth and can be homemade or factory-made..  Bandanas and neck gaiters may qualify as a mask if covering mouth and nostrils.

There are multiple exceptions to the mask ordinance for practical necessity (for ages 6 years or younger, persons with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent facial coverings, eating/drinking, medical/dental services that require face covering removal, identification purposes), exercise and athletic activities, communication, and any job function in which a face covering is inconsistent with industry standards. 

This order replaces all local face covering ordinances already in existence and goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, 2020.   

The order currently is set to expire on July 31, 2020.

Coronavirus.MaskOrderFAQ.0720

Safer-at-Home-Order-Mask-Amendment-7.15.2020-Final

2020-Mask-Mandate-Graphics-ALL

Covid-19 Risk Assessment 7.10.20

 

 

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To view map of Alabama hotspots updated daily, go to www.alabamapublichealth.gov or www.bamatracker.com

Alabama Face Covering Ordinances 6.29.20

FYI, Face Covering Ordinances have been issued for the following cities and counties in Alabama: 

City of Birmingham

City of Montgomery

Jefferson County

City of Montevallo

City of Selma

City of Mobile

City of Tuscaloosa

Madison County

City of Decatur

Although each ordinance is unique to its own municipality or county, most require the use of face coverings within city or county limits with exceptions listed including but not limited to those working on ladders or at heights, persons  engaging in heavy physical exertion, persons operating heavy machinery, persons wearing other respiratory protection, and persons operating in an environment where a face covering or mask hinders communications.

Jefferson County is requiring all businesses to post the attached poster at all buildings and jobsites.

Other cities are considering enacting similar ordinances later this week. We encourage you to verify such an ordinance is required in a locale listed above.

JeffCo Mask

JeffCo Mask2

SAVE THE DATE – RiskCon2020 – RESILIENCE – August 27

Alabama AGC is proud to announce that RiskCon2020 will be hosted as scheduled on August 27, 2020. 

Due to COVID-19, we will be offering 2 different format options for attendees – a Live In-Person format with limited seating according to CDC and state guidelines, and a virtual option for attendees to participate thru a livestream, web conferencing option.

Each In-Person attendee will receive a face covering, hand sanitizer, notebook, pen, custom coffee mug, and boxed lunch.

Virtual atttendees will receive a special gift to personalize their experience as well.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, this year’s theme is “Resilience” and will focus on administrative and job site issues related to the Pandemic.  With a list of renowned speakers, led by Keynote Speakers, David Lau and Stuart Binstock, this year’s event should not be missed.  Presented by CompTrustAGC and AGCP&C, regsitration fees are greatly discounted for all attendees.

A limited number of Vendor and Session sponsorships are available on a first-come basis.

Registration details will be available on the CompTrustAGC website (www.comptrustagc.com) in July.

For more information, please review the attached flyer.

U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Issues Guidance to Help Construction Workers During the Coronavirus Pandemic 5.26.20

U.S. Department of Labor  |  May 26, 2020

U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Issues Guidance to Help Construction Workers During the Coronavirus Pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a webpage with coronavirus-related guidance for construction employers and workers. The guidance includes recommended actions to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

Employers of workers engaged in construction (such as carpentry, ironworking, plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning/ventilation, utility construction work, and earth-moving activities) should remain alert to changing outbreak conditions, including as they relate to community spread of the virus and testing availability. In response to changing conditions, employers should implement coronavirus infection prevention measures accordingly.

The webpage includes information regarding:

  • Using physical barriers, such as walls, closed doors, or plastic sheeting, to separate workers from individuals experiencing signs or symptoms consistent with the coronavirus;

  • Keeping in-person meetings (including toolbox talks and safety meetings) as short as possible, limiting the number of workers in attendance, and using social distancing practices;

  • Screening calls when scheduling indoor construction work to assess potential exposures and circumstances in the work environment before worker entry;

  • Requesting that shared spaces in home environments where construction activities are being performed, or other construction areas in occupied buildings, have good air flow; and

  • Staggering work schedules, such as alternating workdays or extra shifts, to reduce the total number of employees on a job site at any given time and to ensure physical distancing.

Visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage frequently for updates. For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. 

###

Media Contact:

Megan Sweeney, 202-693-4661, sweeney.megan.p@dol.gov

Release Number:  20-984-NAT

PPP Loan Forgiveness Rules & More 5.26.20

Please find attached AGC of America’s analysis of the SBA’s recent interim final rules (IFRs) on PPP loan forgiveness, safe harbor and loan review process.
 
AGC sought to present the information in these IFRs in what is hopefully a more accessible and organized manner than SBA provides. In addition, we include any legislative or regulatory updates on specific areas of interest relating to these IFRs.

AGC Overview of Latest PPP IFRs & Outlook Ahead 5.26.20

OSHA Revised Enforcement Policies – COVID-19 5.20.20

In this bulletin, OSHA announces its intention to increase in-person inspections at all types of workplace in response to the virus outbreak to ensure workplace safety.  It is imperative as we continue to receive reports of infections on jobsites and workplaces, that the CDC guidelines on social distancing and protective PPE continue to be utilized. 

U.S. Department of Labor Adopts Revised Enforcement Policies For Coronavirus

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted revised policies for enforcing OSHA’s requirements with respect to coronavirus as economies reopen in states throughout the country.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, understanding about the transmission and prevention of infection has improved. The government and the private sector have taken rapid and evolving measures to slow the virus’s spread, protect employees, and adapt to new ways of doing business.
Now, as states begin reopening their economies, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees.
First, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces. The new enforcement guidancereflects changing circumstances in which many non-critical businesses have begun to reopen in areas of lower community spread. The risk of transmission is lower in specific categories of workplaces, and personal protective equipment potentially needed for inspections is more widely available. OSHA staff will continue to prioritize COVID-19 inspections, and will utilize all enforcement tools as OSHA has historically done.
Second, OSHA is revising its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, coronavirus is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of the coronavirus, if the case: 

Under the new policy issued today, OSHA will enforce the recordkeeping requirements of 29 CFR 1904for employee coronavirus illnesses for all employers. Given the nature of the disease and community spread, however, in many instances it remains difficult to determine whether a coronavirus illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace. OSHA’s guidance emphasizes that employers must make reasonable efforts, based on the evidence available to the employer, to ascertain whether a particular case of coronavirus is work-related.
Recording a coronavirus illness does not mean that the employer has violated any OSHA standard. Following existing regulations, employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries have no recording obligations; they need only report work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and de
velop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
  ###

NCCI Workers’ Compensation Class Code 0012 and its Impact on Your Business 

The focus of this article is on the National Council on Compensation Insurance’s (NCCI’s) newly created class code (0012), which addresses employees who are being paid but not working due to COVID-19. 

WORKPLACES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to protect vulnerable workers. It is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.

PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Released 5.15.20

Please find below the just released PPP Loan Forgiveness Application
 
https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/3245-0407-SBA-Form-3508-PPP-Forgiveness-Application.pdf
 
A press release from the SBA and Treasury provide summary details.

Press Release:            May 15, 2020                                                   
Contact:                     Treasury Public Affairs, (202) 622-2960
 
SBA and Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application
 
WASHINGTON—Today, the Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application. 
 
The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.
 
The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:
 

  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles

  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan

  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness

  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30 

  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

 
The PPP was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses to keep American workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The documents released today will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans.
 
Click here to view the application and instructions.

Treasury/SBA Extend PPP Repayment Safe Harbor Deadline

Following the issuance of yesterday’s important guidance on the PPP loan borrowers’ good faith certification concerning the necessity of the loan (Question #46), Treasury and SBA tonight extended the safe harbor repayment of PPP loans from May 14 to May 18. Please see below for more information.
 
47. Question: An SBA interim final rule posted on May 8, 2020 provided that any borrower who applied for a PPP loan and repays the loan in full by May 14, 2020 will be deemed by SBA to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith. Is it possible for a borrower to obtain an extension of the May 14, 2020 repayment date? 
 
Answer: Yes, SBA is extending the repayment date for this safe harbor to May 18, 2020, to give borrowers an opportunity to review and consider FAQ #46. Borrowers do not need to apply for this extension. This extension will be promptly implemented through a revision to the SBA’s interim final rule providing the safe harbor.
 

You might also be interested in…..

A Webinar from one of our Member Companies: 

Show Me the Money (But Don’t Take it Back!): A Primer on PPP Loans, Compliance and Enforcement

Mecklenburg County Bar CLE webinars

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST

Click here to register: https://www.bradley.com/insights/events/2020/05/show-me-the-money-a-primer-on-ppp-loans-compliance-and-enforcement

5.12 AGC Coronavirus Update

Democrats yesterday unveiled a new, $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill that is scheduled for a vote as early as this Friday. Click HERE to read AGC’s initial assessment of the measure, which includes some positive measures, but fails to address the need for a liability safe harbor provision, among other flaws, that are likely to undermine the sector’s recovery.

For more insight into the politics behind the new relief measure, information about other paycheck protection tax breaks already available to members, and a summary of other developments to expect this week, tune in to the latest AGC Constructor Cast Coronavirus Special Report, available to watch HERE, and listen HERE.

AGC will be hosting Part Two of the webinar series-Building Contractors – Preparing yourself and your jobsite for the Impacts of Covid-19 on Thursday, May 14. This series will help answer questions about the life cycle of a project while operating through Covid-19 and part two will focus on reopening projects previously shut down. Click HERE to register for the webinar.

A reminder to members that May 14th is the deadline the Treasury Department has set for firms to return Paycheck Protection Program loans. AGC has continued to push the Treasury Department (read letter HERE) to clarify its guidance, and has also made available a packet (view HERE) of information, including news reports and AGC economic analysis, to provide context for why firms may have opted to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan.

Don’t forget to send us pictures of your crews practicing coronavirus safety measures, especially pictures of crews wearing face masks. You can send those to Brian Turmail at brian.turmail@agc.org and Sophia Valentino at  sophia.valentino@agc.org.

Keep checking the AGC Connection app HERE and the AGC Coronavirus site HERE for the latest updates.

And we wanted to end tonight’s update with this inspirational new video, HERE, from AGC highlighting the work member firms are doing to expand healthcare facilities across the country.

FAQ’s in regard to the latest developments under the FFCRA 5.8.20

The Department of Labor continues to update its FAQ’s in regard to the latest developments under the FFCRA.  The latest questions and answers (89-93) address the following issues:  (1) Joint Employer, (2) Telecommuting Accommodations, (3) Documentation regarding Requests for Leave and, (4) The effect of Summer Vacation on leave requests.  Please note the attached link that addresses these issues and give me a call if you have any questions. 

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

Governor Issues Special Proclamation on Liability 5.8.20

At the strong urging of ACJRC, BCA and other businesses groups Governor Kay Ivey today issued a Proclamation (CLICK HERE)protecting businesses, health care providers, universities, public institutions of higher education, and their employees, officers and agents, from unwarranted legal liability stemming from COVID-19.

“I want to do everything within my authority to protect businesses as Alabama’s economy gets up and running again,” Governor Ivey said. “As we resume operations, the very last thing a business owner needs to worry about is a frivolous lawsuit from responding to COVID-19. Let me be clear, this in no way shields them from serious misconduct. If someone knowingly abuses the public during a time of crisis, they should be held accountable and prosecuted as such.”

The Alabama Emergency Management Act (“EMA”) affords the Governor this extraordinary power when she by proclamation declares a state of emergency. The Governor’s orders “shall have the full force and effect of law” and are “operative only during the existence of a state of emergency.” Ala. Code §§ 31-9-13 and 8.

Governor Ivey’s Proclamation today supplements her earlier March 13, 2020 Order under the EMA which declared a state public health emergency due to the spread of COVID-19.

During these times of uncertainty, when the business and healthcare community is doing all it can to safely and responsibly reopen their doors; this Proclamation will help assure them that, as long they conduct their operations reasonably, they will be protected from the threat of lawsuits.

Everyone in the business and healthcare community owe the Governor a debt of

gratitude for her courage and vision in issuing this Proclamation during this crisis.

Summary of Principal Provisions of the Proclamation

•          The Proclamation provides civil immunity for “covered activities” by “covered entities” operating in Alabama from certain claims and damages relating to COVID-19, including claims that someone contracted or was exposed to COVID-19 on the premises of a business, or due to the operations or services provided by the business, or due to the provision of health care services or treatment provided by doctors, hospitals or nursing homes. Exceptions to this immunity exist only if the covered entity acted with wanton, reckless, willful or intentional misconduct and such misconduct must be proven under a “clear and convincing” evidentiary standard. Cases that do not involve death or “serious physical injury” are limited to recovering actual out-of-pocket economic damages. Punitive damages cannot generally be recovered.

•          In the event of a claim accruing prior to issuance of the Proclamation, and a determination by a court that the above provisions are inapplicable to the claim, the Proclamation directs that a covered entity shall not be liable for negligence, premises liability or non-wanton conduct. Damages in these cases that do involve serious physical injury will also be limited to economic damages.

Why Was This Proclamation Needed?

•        The reasonable measures provided in this Proclamation will protect healthcare providers

on the front lines of the crisis, as well as businesses struggling to keep their doors open,

from the risk and expense of lawsuits associated with COVID-19.

•      Businesses in all industries and areas of the state are facing major financial damages

from the sudden, all-consuming effect of Coronavirus which could take
years to recover

from. These businesses, especially those in the small business community, cannot afford

to be exposed to additional financial injury incurred through costly lawsuits resulting

from an unprecedented pandemic and circumstances outside of their control.

What type entities are covered under the Proclamation?

•        Entities covered under this Proclamation include businesses, nonprofits, LLCs, health care providers, educational entities, churches, governmental entities, and cultural

institutions operating in this state, as well as individuals associated with these entities.

Who is included as individuals associated with an entity and covered under this

Proclamation?

•        Any director, officer, trustee, manager, member, employee, or agent with respect to any act or omission performed while acting on behalf of the covered entity.

How can a business ensure it is covered under the civil immunity provisions in this Proclamation?

•        The best way to avoid COVID-19 liability is for covered entities to operate in a

manner that is reasonably consistent with applicable public health guidance in order to

show that they are not acting recklessly. The Proclamation will assist businesses and

healthcare providers because perfection in this time is impractical but using reasonable

best efforts should shield covered entities from liability.

Is Legislation Still Necessary?

Yes, the Proclamation will expire when the state of emergency is ended. Currently that date is May 22, 2020 unless the Governor determines to extend it again. The legislature will need to act quickly once the emergency order expires so that there is not a “gap” in the law leaving businesses and healthcare providers exposed to unchecked liability concerns.

Thomas R. Dart, CAE

President

Updated Statewide COVID-19 Health Order for Alabama 5.8.20

 

 


Live Streaming: Watch AGC’s Virtual Media Release of New Data on Facebook Live

On Friday, May 8th at 12:00 p.m. EDT, AGC and Procore will release new data showing the impacts of the coronavirus on the construction industry, including employment levels, demand for construction and hours worked. This virtual media event will be hosted on Facebook Live and we encourage you to follow us and tune in.
 
AGC’s chief economist, Ken Simonson, will release the results of AGC’s new survey of construction firms measuring the impacts of the coronavirus on the industry as well as an analysis of new national construction employment figures being released tomorrow. 

Procore’s senior director of business development, Kristopher Lengieza, will present insights from Procore that highlight the near real-time construction activity levels by state, company size, and industry served. Simonson will also outline steps federal officials should take to help the industry recover, add jobs and support broader economic growth.

Facebook live link: https://www.facebook.com/AGCofA/ 

Alabama Lien Rights 5.7.20

AGCA Coronavirus Survey Results Videos and PPP Packet 5.6.20

Coronavirus Survey Results Videos

Alabama AGC membership, please take a few minutes to fill out the sixth version of AGC’s Coronavirus Survey HERE. The information you provide will help us continue to advocate for measures to support the construction industry. The survey will close at noon (EDT) on Thursday.  AGC will release the survey results during a live Facebook event (facebook.com/Agcofa) on Friday, May 8 at noon (EDT).  We hope you’ll join us there. 

In the meantime, please take a look at our videos with AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson as he releases the AGC Coronavirus Survey Results HERE.  The playlist will be updated with this week’s results on Friday.  

PPP Packet to Help Contractors Document Market Conditions

Additionally, AGC has prepared a packet of information to help document current market conditions that helped influence many firms’ decisions to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans. The intent of this packet is to provide a snapshot of media coverage starting on March 27 – the launch of the initial round of Paycheck Protection Program loans – covering topics like declining demand, growing layoffs and general worries about market conditions for the construction industry. Please see packet HERE.

Administration Pushes PPP Loans Return Deadline to May 14th as AGC Continues to Push for Clearer Guidance 5.6.20

Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced that it was extending the deadline for firms to return Paycheck Protection Program loans by one week, from May 7th to May 14th. You can review their new guidance here. The decision comes days after AGC of America, among other groups, urged the administration to provide more time for firms to decide if they would return the loans. As we made clear to the administration in our initial request for a deadline extension, the administration still needs to clarify its vague and confusing guidance that requires borrowers to certify that ‘current economic uncertainty’ made the loan requests necessary and that they must also take into account their access to ‘other sources of liquidity.’ AGC will continue to push for administration officials to clarify their guidance so member firms can have the certainty they need to decide whether to keep the loans or return them.
 
As a reminder, AGC will be hosting a pair of hour-long webinars Wednesday, May 6 and Thursday May 7 at 2 PM ET on the Paycheck Protection Program. Part one will focus on key updates and developments in the ground rules of the program, and part two will focus on preparing your business today for audits, oversight, and agency enforcement and whistle blower actions tomorrow. Click HERE to register for either/both of those webinars.

Construction Restart Strategies by USI 5.5.20

Construction_Project_Restart_Strategies_Part_1-People

Construction_Project_Restart_Strategies_Part_2-Projects

Link to video: Executive Series Webinar | Reopening – Construction Industry

Temporary Policy for Form I-9 List B Documents 5.4.20

FORM I-9 ANNOUNCEMENT

COVID-19 Temporary Policy for List B Identity Documents

Because many areas are under stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 and some online renewal services have restrictions, employees may experience challenges renewing a state driver’s license, a state ID card, or other Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, List B identity document. Considering these circumstances, DHS is issuing a temporary policy regarding expired List B identity documents used to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
Beginning on May 1, identity documents found in List B set to expire on or after March 1, 2020, and not otherwise extended by the issuing authority, may be treated the same as if the employee presented a valid receipt for an acceptable document for Form I-9 purposes. 

When your employee provides an acceptable expired List B document that has not been extended by the issuing authority you should:

  • Record the document information in Section 2 under List B, as applicable; and,

  • Enter the word “COVID-19” in the Additional Information Field.

Within 90 days after DHS’s termination of this temporary policy, the employee will be required to present a valid unexpired document to replace the expired document presented when they were initially hired. 
Note:  It is best if the employee can present the replacement of the actual document that was expired, but if necessary, the employee may choose to present a different List A or List B document or documents and record the
new document information in the Additional Information Field. 

When the employee later presents an unexpired document, you should:

  • In the Section 2 Additional Information field:

    • Record the number and other required document information from the actual document presented;

    • Initial and date the change.

Procedure for List B Documents extended by an Issuing Authority
If the employee’s List B identity document expired on or after March 1, 2020, and the issuing authority has extended the document expiration date due to COVID-19, the document is acceptable as a List B document for Form I-9 (not as a receipt) during the extension timeframe specified by the issuing authority.

When your employee provides an acceptable expired List B document that has been extended by the issuing authority you should:

  • Enter the document’s expiration date in Section 2; and,

  • Enter “COVID-19 EXT” in the Additional Information Field.

Employers may also attach a copy of a webpage or other notice indicating that the issuing authority has extended the documents.  Employers can confirm that their state has auto-extended the expiration date of state IDs and driver’s licenses by checking the state Motor Vehicle Administration or Department of Motor Vehicles’ website. 
Note:  For extended documents, the employee is not required to later present a valid unexpired List B document.  
E-Verify participating employers should use the employee’s expired List B document number from Section 2 of the Form I-9 to create an E-Verify case as usual within three days of the date of hire.
DHS continues to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 national emergency and will provide updated guidance as needed.Click to edit this placeholder text.

Please do not reply to this message. 

Don’t forget to text “EVERIFY UPDATES” to 468311 to get the latest E-Verify news.Apply to use the E-Verify logo. Complete and submit the License Application for the Use of the E-Verify Trademark.

CompTrustAGC Announcement – COVID-19 Adjustments 5.1.20

We hope this correspondence finds everyone safe, and well during this challenging time.

Many of you have called with excellent questions regarding rules and procedures regarding workers’ compensation coverage and exposure related to the pandemic and we will take this opportunity to address some of the most frequent questions.  As part of our commitment to excellence in assisting our members, we have researched and kept abreast of the most up to date rulings from the National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL). 

On April 23, 2020, NCCI issued an Announcement of Revisions to NCCI Manual Rates Related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic (Item B-1441).  Below are questions and answers related to the NCCI revisions and how CompTrustAGC will address these questions.  If you have additional questions or need additional information, please contact us (205) 451-1400.

How do I report payroll for workers granted Paid Leave due to COVID-19 outbreak, and will premium be charged for such payroll? 

Per Item B-1441, NCCI has established rules for workers who are identified as furloughed or paid furloughed workers.  Payroll for paid furlough workers (in which an employee is paid to perform no work due to COVID-19) should be reported in Class Code 0012.  No premium will be charged for this class code.  Per NCCI, payrolls reported in Class Code 0012 will be excluded from experience rating calculations.  Once the employee is asked to perform any duties for the employer, the employee no longer qualifies as a paid furloughed employee, and payroll for such work shall be reported to the class code assigned for work performed.

Does the class code change for employees working remotely? 

CompTrustAGC recognizes that many of its fund members have employees who are working remotely, and such employees will remain in the same class code assigned prior to working remotely, unless the Business Operations or the Employee’s Job Duties change.  In the event the Business Operations (ie; General Contractor becomes Building Materials Supplier and performs no construction) or an Employee Job Duties (Field Worker is promoted to Executive Supervisor) change, NCCI rules will apply. 

Recommendation

Our recommendation is to make sure payroll records are detailed and documented accurately and regarding any and all pay for time not worked while the business is suspended, whether or not there was a change in overall business operations, the employee’s job description and occupation during this time.  Payroll will be reviewed and adjusted at the time of payroll audits pending such documentation.

Fund members may also adjust Estimated Annual Billings accordingly due to the COVID-19 Pandemic by reporting any adjustments to CompTrustAGC.

SHOP SAFELY

 

 

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City of Birmingham – Face Covering Ordinance Effective May 1

City of Birmingham – Face Covering Ordinance Effective May 1

City of Birmingham to require face coverings effective May 1
Mayor Randall L. Woodfin proposed and the Birmingham City Council approved an ordinance to require the wearing of a face covering in public during the COVID-19 health emergency.

The ordinance requires an item to cover the nose and mouth of a person to limit the spread of coronavirus. Under the ordinance, that will go into effect on Friday, May 1, 2020, medical grade masks are not required. The coverings may include, but not be limited to items such as scarves or bandanas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state cloth face coverings may be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost.

The ordinance requires face coverings to be worn at all times by people over the age of two and who can medically tolerate doing so when in public places within the City of Birmingham.
Face coverings are not required in an individual’s home or personal vehicle.

Exceptions to the ordinance include:

· Face coverings are not required to be worn over the face during individual outdoor exercise, for example, walking or jogging, but must be worn when encountering and interacting with groups of other people in a park or other public place.

· Children two years of age and under, as face coverings or masks may pose a risk of choking, strangulation or suffocation to infants and young toddlers. Carriers and strollers with coverings that allow the child to breathe comfortably are alternatives for infants and young toddlers. Parents and guardians shall be responsible for ensuring proper masking of children over the age of two years when in public but must ensure that the face covering does not pose a choking hazard for children and can be safely worn without obstructing a child’s ability to breathe.  Parents and guardians shall exercise judgment and avoid bringing children not wearing masks into public places, especially where contact with vulnerable individuals is expected.

· Patients in examination rooms of medical or dental offices or clinics or hospitals where there is a necessity to examine or treat the mouth or nasal area, subject to the direction of the medical or dental professionals in charge of the office, clinic or hospital.

· When wearing a face covering poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or security risk such as anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.

Business owners, managers and supervisors will be expected to ensure employees and visitors observe the requirement in their place of business. Businesses will not be required to provide face coverings for employees.
Failure to comply with the ordinance is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 30 days in the municipal jail.

The ordinance may be viewed at: 

https://www.birminghamal.gov/2020/04/28/city-of-birmingham-to-require-face-coverings-effective-may-1/

OSHA Enforcement Guidance Response Plan for COVID (4-24-20)

Below is latest guidance on OSHA Enforcement and Response Plans for COVID-19. 

OSHA Enforcement Guidance  Response Plan for COVID (4-24-20)

New Cyberthreat warning from HSA 4.30.20

Below is a link to an alert issued yesterday by the US Department of Homeland Security and its Cyber Infrastructure Division on Microsoft Office 365 Security Recommendations.  As most business continue to have workers work remotely, this alert is timely and informative.

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/aa20-120a

FMI and Autodesk Present New 2020 Construction Industry Report 4.30.20

Trust is central to the construction industry, but historically, it has been difficult to quantify. To understand how trust is created and the outcomes it can produce, Autodesk, which PlanGrid is now a part of, partnered with FMI Corporation on an industry study, Trust Matters: The High Cost of Low Trust. The research explored the costs and benefits of different levels of trust within construction organizations and across construction project teams.

Download this report to learn how companies with very high trust:

Generate more repeat businessRetain more employeesDrive a higher level of operational success

COVID-19 Update – April 28, 2020 Safer at Home Order and Return to Work Checklist

Please see attached summary of Governor Ivey’s “Safer at Home” Order effective April 30, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.  and a Return to Work Checklist.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the information provided in this email. Additional news and information can be found by visiting our website at https://capellhoward.com/category/covid-19/

Tuesday Digest: COVID-19 Resources from Bradley

This daily digest is a curated list of Bradley content regarding the coronavirus. In an effort to provide our clients with the easiest way to find information that may be beneficial in responding to the impact of COVID-19, we have provided links to our most recent blog posts, news alerts, webinar recordings and more. For updates on social media, follow Bradley on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Coronavirus Insights & Updates

The information listed below is categorized by topic for your convenience and includes content from the previous day. Bradley is actively monitoring and engaging with relevant federal, state or local entities on issues related to the coronavirus. Please contact one of the authors if you have any questions. Click on a link below to view the full article, alert, blog, webinar recording or interview.

UPCOMING WEBINARS – YOU’RE INVITED

Counterfeit Issues in the Pandemic – Protecting Your Brands and Patented Products 
Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 2:00 PM CST
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the volume of counterfeit goods produced by Chinese manufacturers appears to be on the rise again. While counterfeit goods have been a challenge that online retailers have been fighting for years, the risk has become greater in the COVID-19 era when more consumers are turning to online shopping.

Webinar Recording: Digital Assets, Blockchain and Fintech Toolkit for Success

Cryptocurrency, blockchain technology and fintech companies are well experienced in dealing with legal and regulatory issues that are unique, unprecedented and global. While usually creative and oriented to solving problems, even the most flexible of teams are stretched with the onslaught of issues unfolding in the wake of COVID-19.

Southern District of Texas Enters Temporary Restraining Order Extending PPP Loan Benefits to Debtor in Bankruptcy

In a potentially ground-breaking decision, Judge David R. Jones of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas temporarily enjoined the Small Business Administration (SBA) from denying a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to Hidalgo County Emergency Service Foundation due solely to its status as a Chapter 11 debtor in bankruptcy. 

2020 Construction Planning in the Wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic swiftly eroded recent gains in the U.S. and world economies and has exposed economic and societal vulnerabilities that many believed, or at least hoped, would never come to light. There’s no doubt the virus is negatively affecting the economy, American workers and familie

What You Need to Know About EPA Enforcement During COVID-19

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued three guidance documents to address changes in enforcement of environmental laws and regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business Interruption Coverage for COVID-19 Losses: You Can Satisfy the “Physical Loss or Damage” Requirement in Your Commercial Property Policy

Although your insurance company undoubtedly will try to convince you that you have no coverage for your business interruption losses from COVID-19, do not be so quick to accept the insurer’s position. 

Congress Passes “Stimulus 3.5” to Aid Small Businesses, Hospitals, and Virus Testing 

The House and Senate have passed the latest round of emergency stimulus measures to address the COVID-19 crisis – a $484 billion package geared toward helping small businesses and hospitals negatively affected by the virus. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation right away.

SBA Updates PPP Guidance on “Current Economic Uncertainty” Certification

On April 23, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) updated its Answers to Frequently Ask
ed Questions
 about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

Webinar Recording: What Employers Need to Know About Managing a Remote Workforce and the Latest Guidance from DOL and FFCRA

Please join Bradley and the Business Council of Alabama for a webinar addressing key questions our clients are asking about navigating the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19). A panel of labor and employment and cybersecurity attorneys discuss coronavirus-related issues facing employers. 

Bradley Partner Bruce Ely Quoted in Bloomberg Tax on State Tax Hurdles for Small Business Relief Loans 

Bradley attorney Bruce Ely was quoted in Bloomberg Tax on the tax hurdles that states and taxpayers may face regarding the small business relief loans. Debt forgiveness usually counts as a taxable benefit, but Congress made loans from the Paycheck Protection Program forgivable as long as certain conditions are met and said the federal government would not tax the discharged debt.
 

To view Bradley’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage, please click here. This page includes some common Q&As, attorney-authored content on how the coronavirus may impact you or your business, and links to helpful online resources.

4.24 AGC Coronavirus Update

April 24, 2020 

AGC released the 5th edition of its coronavirus survey earlier today. Half of respondents reported that clients have ordered a halt to projects underway and more than a quarter report clients have canceled projects that been expected to begin. The survey did show signs that the federal Paycheck Protection Program loans are helping firms to retain, and in cases, add, new staff. Click HERE to see the survey results. Click HERE to watch AGC chief economist Ken Simonson discuss the survey findings.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of the Treasury yesterday issued new guidance (see question #31) that puts Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers and potential borrowers on notice that they should be able to prove in “good faith” that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support [their] ongoing operations” to be eligible for the loan.

While there is much ambiguity in this guidance, the message is clear that AGC members should have documentation of their market uncertainty and corresponding operational need for these PPP loans when they signed the loan application. AGC of America will provide additional resources to help address member concerns about this guidance.

AGC’s ConstructorCast podcast has a new special report on the updated PPP program guidance and what it means for construction firms. You can watch it HERE and listen to itHERE.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is the licensed rating and statistical agency for the workers comp insurance regulators in approximately thirty-five states. The group recently released a new set of FAQs, see HERE. Among other recommendations, NCCI is proposing that claims attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic be excluded from experience rating (Answer to Question 16). NCCI is proposing to exclude qualified sick leave and/or family and medical leave payments under the Act from the calculation of premium (Answer to Question 17). To find out whether your state is one of the many that NCCI serves, simply click HERE.

AGC’s safety team has released the first in a new series of weekly coronavirus safety tipsHEREPlease review these tips with your teams and make sure to remind everyone on staff to comply with all coronavirus safety procedures. There is no margin for error, after all, when it comes to protecting workers and the public from the coronavirus. You can find the new weekly safety tips here: https://workingsafe.agc.org/weekly-safety-tips/.

As more state and local governments require workers to wear masks at all times, please send pictures of your crews working in masks so we can update AGC’s WorkingSafe.agc.org website and related materials. You can send those photos to Brian Turmail at brian.turmail@agc.org and Sophia Valentino at sophia.valentino@agc.org.

Remember to check the AGC Connection app HERE and the AGC Coronavirus site HERE for the latest updates.

NEW I-9 FORMS–MUST BE USED BY MAY 1, 2020 4.23.20

EMPLOYERS MUST USE NEW I-9 FORM BY MAY 1, 2020 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new version of the I-9 employment eligibility verification form. The form is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. 

The new form can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. 

• The new edition of the Form I-9 is dated 10/21/2019 but will not become mandatory until May 1, 2020. 

• Through April 30, employers can choose to use the previous edition dated 07/17/2017 or the new edition. 

• All U.S. employers must properly complete the Form I-9 for each person they hire for employment in the U.S., including both citizens and noncitizens. 

• Employers must retain the completed forms for a designated period and make them available for inspection when called to do so. 

READ MORE

COVID-19 Update – New EEOC Guidance 4.22.20

An update from our Employment Law Section:

On April 9th and again on April 17th the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidance in the form of “Technical Assistance Questions and Answers” on COVID-19 and the ADA and other equal employment laws. Attached is a summary of the new guidance issued.  

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the information provided in this email. Additional news and information can be found by visiting our website at https://capellhoward.com/category/covid-19/

 NEW EEOC GUIDANCE ON COVID-19 (APRIL 9, 2020) 

 NEW EEOC GUIDANCE ON COVID-19 (APRIL 17, 2020) 

OSHA Safety Guidance for Construction (4-22-20)

Below is a checklist from the Department of Labor for construction site safety under the COVID-19 pandemic.  Also, where possible, encourage single occupancy of work vehicles.

OSHA Safety Guidance for Construction.pdf 

Gov. Kay Ivey says Alabama’s stay-at-home order remains in place 4.21.20

Update:

Gov. Kay Ivey did not announce plans to reopen the state in today’s press conference.

Ivey said the state’s stay at home order will remain in place at least through April 30.

“Keep doing what you are doing,” Ivey said. “I am as eager as anyone to get our economy back open and operating on all cylinders again. We have to do it in a smart way.”

The statements come as Ivey is under growing pressure to reopen businesses and healthcare facilities shuttered for more than a month due to the coroanvirus pandemic. Governors in Tennessee and Georgia announced yesterday they were reopening portions of their economies.

Ivey said business and healthcare leaders, elected officials and members of the Congressional delegation are providing input for reopening and the state is also using President Trump’s phased-in guidelines released last week.

Link to article: https://www.al.com/news/2020/04/gov-ivey-to-hold-coronavirus-press-conference-at-11-am.html

Jobsite Posters And Resources 4.21.20

 

 


 

 

620b450a-a790-4470-a038-706c92c21051.jpg
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OSHA 3394 – English: Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus

OSHA 3395 – Spanish: Diez Medidas que Todos los Lugares de Trabajo Pueden Tomar para Prevenir la Exposición al Coronavirus

AGC of America’s National COVID-19 Safety Stand Down Resources (includes tool box talks, job site posters, and more.)

COVID-19 Recommended Practices for Construction Jobsites

English

Spanish

Safety Measures On Jobsites

OSHA COVID-19 Quick Tip Videos

The Department of Labor has released three animated videos provide quick tips on social distancingdisinfecting workplaces and industry risk factors to keep workers safe from COVID-19.

DOL/OSHA COVID-19 Resources

What Are Your Best Practices?

Jobsite / Office Practices

·    Be sure to communicate key CDC recommendations (and post signage where appropriate) to your staff and tradespeople: 

·    How to Protect Yourself 

·    If You are Sick or Caring For Someone

·    COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen. 

CDC Mask Info

AGC COVID-19 Webinar – Presented by Alabama AGC & Warren Averett

COVID-19 Resources for the Construction Industry

Presented by Alabama General Contractors and Warren Averett April 16, 2020 | 10:00 -11:30 am
Guests:Will Aderholt, CPA, Warren Averett
Sandy Coaker, CPA, Warren Averett
Dianne Wilson, SPHR, Warren Averett
Moderated by Billy Norrell from AGCTopics will include:COVID-19 Resources for the Construction Industry
SBA Loans
Tax Credits
Cash Flow Strategies
HR Resources
Q&A

Use this link to register online.

https://warrenaverett.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TkKp0UE3S0aXhM0kCWlAGg

Updated FFCRA Poster from the DOL and Summary of the Shelter in Place Order 4.13.20

From the Attorneys in our Labor and Employment Law Section:

Apparently even our friends at the U.S. Department of Labor are human and make mistakes. The poster originally release said:

“Up to 10 weeks more of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave paid at 2/3 for qualifying reason #5 below or up to $200 daily and $12,000 total.”

If your poster says this pull it down and put up this one instead:

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

The corrected poster should include the following:

“Up to 12 weeks more of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave paid at 2/3 for qualifying reason #5 below or up to $200 daily and $12,000 total.”

A summary of Alabama’s Shelter in Place Order attached.

OSHA Further Clarifies Employer Requirement to Record and Report COVID-19 Cases

On April 10, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued temporary guidance for recording cases of COVID-19 that provides relief to the construction industry.

In an earlier letter to OSHA leadership, AGC, along with our industry partners on the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), requested the agency re-evaluate its decision to treat cases of employees contracting COVID-19 as recordable incidents. In the letter, industry representatives recommended that only healthcare providers, and similar professions, should be required to report these cases on their logs because they are routinely in direct contact with people with confirmed cases and are at greatest risk.

In line with our request, today’s announcement provides certainty to the construction industry and helps contractors focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces and otherwise mitigating COVID-19’s effects.

Specifically, the agency states that in areas where there is ongoing community transmission, employers other than those in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting and law enforcement services), and correctional institutions may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work. Accordingly, until further notice, OSHA will not enforce its recordkeeping requirements to require these employers to make work-relatedness determinations for COVID-19 cases, except where: (1) There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related; and (2) The evidence was reasonably available to the employer. Employers of workers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations and correctional institutions must continue to make work-relatedness determinations.

To view OSHA’s full enforcement memo, click here

For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon, Senior Director, Safety & Health Services at kevin.cannon@agc.org.

Thompson Engineering QCI Online Initial and Refresher Training Now Available 24-7

Thompson Engineering now offers on-demand Qualified Credentialed Inspector (QCI) courses online to meet the immediate training needs of the construction community in Alabama.  

Online Initial Training

Because of the temporary restrictions on the delivery of classroom training sessions, ADEM has authorized Thompson Engineering to offer an online version of our initial training class as an alternative for our clients who need the QCI certification now to conduct their routine business or to meet environmental compliance standards. This training opportunity is available to first-time students and to QCIs who have let their certifications expire. The fee is $350 for members of our affiliated associations and $400 for non-members. Clients who take the initial course online this year will be provided a free annual online refresher in 2021. 

Visit our QCI training website at https://training.thompsonengineering.com for additional details or to register for our online initial training.

Online Refresher Training

This may be a good time for current QCIs to renew their QCI credentials. The cost is $79 per student.   Visit our QCI training website at https://training.thompsonengineering.com for additional details or to register for our online refresher training.

AGC Partner Update: Bulk Order Hand Sanitizer and Face Shields Available 4.9.20

Below is a Message from AGC’s Discount Partner Cintas: 

As we navigate through this unprecedented event of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cintas is committed to helping the construction indust
ry.

The Cintas AGC Discount Program provides Uniform & Facility Services Rental and National First Aid & Safety Services to any location that choose to participate at pricing which reflects Associated General Contractors of America’s nationwide buying power. With 10,000 trucks across North America, Cintas has the resources to help keep your business clean and safe with hygiene products, laundered uniform, first aid products, personal protective equipment (PPE), and fire protection services. 

Bulk order of Hand Sanitizer and Face Shields are available for AGC’s members who participate in this program (supply may be limited).

Ordering Instructions: 

Please visit agc.membersavings.com, fill form and check COVID-PPE box. A representative will reach out to you as soon as possible.Questions? Please reach out to Henry Luong-Tran at cintas@membersavings.com


Learn more about all of AGC’s Member Discount Programs here:
 www.agc.org/SAVE

Blueprint to Manage Well-Being during COVID-19

We wanted to share some tips to helping manage some of the mental health aspects related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Online Q&A Sessions with the Alabama 811 Damage Prevention Team

Online Q&A Sessions

As most conferences, tradeshows and other damage prevention opportunities have been put on hold for the foreseeable future, we do understand that many of you are still working and deemed essential. Our team at Alabama 811 feel it’s important to still provide you with support.

We are also working on some more permanent options to provide online damage prevention training, but in the meantime, we will be offering up a few times during the week for anyone to be able to login and/or dial in and have any questions or concerns answered, and provide some good safety resources, links, or whatever else is needed.

Alabama 811 Breakfast Q&A Session (Every Tuesday and Thursday from 7am-9am CST)

You can join and works well from your computer, tablet or smartphone. 

Click on the “Join the Meeting” Button below

You can also dial in using your phone. 

United States: +1 (646) 749-3112 

Access Code: 239-367-837 

Join from a video-conferencing room or system. 

Dial in or type: 67.217.95.2 or inroomlink.goto.com 

Meeting ID: 239 367 837 

Or dial directly: 239367837@67.217.95.2 or 67.217.95.2##239367837 

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts: 

https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/239367837

COVID19 National Safety Stand Down – April 9 2020

In response to the COVID19 outbreak, Alabama AGC in conjunction with its fellow chapter throughout the US, will host a National Safety Stand Down focusing on COVID19 this Thursday, April 9.
 
As there is no margin for error with this virus, we are asking each of our members to host a stand down with their staff that continues to work on jobsites, in the office, or remotely.  Attached are resources for you to use with a link (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AGCMember-COVIDStanddown) to report your company’s stand down.
 
As construction continues to be deemed essential in our state, it is imperative that we send each employee home safely and healthy each day.
 
Loss Control Consultants from CompTrustAGC will be hosting a conference call tomorrow, April 8 at 1:00 p.m. to brief members on the resources provided and tips to host an efficient stand down.
 
For those who wish to participate in the call:
Dial 888.354.0094
Enter 2872985111#

COVID-19 TOOLBOX TALK #1

COVID-19 TOOLBOX TALK #2

COVID-19 TOOLBOX TALK #3

COVID-19 NATIONAL SAFETY STAND DOWN FLYER

Carr, Riggs & Ingram

As each of us try to navigate our own circumstances while also managing our business interests. During this unprecedented time, Carr, Riggs & Ingram wants you to know that we are here to assist you with any COVID-19 accounting issues or simply general or personal accounting needs. CRI is striving to stay ahead of the ever changing work environment. To that end CRI is offering a COVID-19 resource page on our website.

               https://www.cricpa.com/covid-19-resources/

This site offers up to date articles and links along with brief 20 minute “Quick Hit” webinars.

At this time I hope you are taking advantage of all programs available to you and your organization. If you have any questions or would appreciate a brief call to discuss this information in more detail please advise. I will work around your needs and schedule.

COVID19 – UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION GUIDANCE

**CORRECTED** ALDOT CIM 2-2020/ ARBA Update 4-6-20

The original CIM 2-2020 was missing a few pages in Skip’s initial email.  Here is the CIM with all three pages.

GOVERNOR IVEY STAY AT HOME ORDER – 04/03/2020

This afternoon, Governor Kay Ivey issued a Stay at Home Order, limiting the activities of all persons in Alabama.  Exceptions stated include, among others, “A person may leave his or her place of residence to perform work at essential businesses or operations”.
 
Essential Businesses are defined in the order to include, among others, those engaged in “Government Operations, Infrastructure Operations, Manufacturing Facilities, Financial Services, Professional Services (legal, accounting, insurance, and real estate services), Construction and construction related services, Essential public services, Essential services or product providers, Federally-designated critical infrastructure, and Support operations for essential businesses and operations.”  Definitions for each are stated in the Order.
 
Essential businesses “may, but need not, issue credentials to their employees verifying their status as an employee of an essential business or operation.  The decision to provide any such credentials is left to the discretion of the essential business or operation.”
 
This Order is effective Saturday, April 4, 2020 and will remain “in full force and effect until 5:00 p.m. on April 30, 2020” when a determination will be made either to extend or relax the Order.
 
Alabama AGC issued earlier today an Essential Employee Card for member use.  List Project Name or Scope of Work (emergency service work, equipment delivery, etc.) if Project does not have a specific designated name.
 
As there is no margin for error, Alabama AGC urges its members performing essential work to strictly follow CDC guidelines so that our workers return home safely and healthy.  A list of jobsite recommendations, jobsite posters, employee cards and letters (sample letter 1sample letter 2)  are available on the website (alagc.org) and on our app.  Posters are also available to be mailed upon request.
 
 AGC_Stop Germ Spread Poster

Final Statewide Order

Virus Office and Jobsite Posters

CompTrust has a limited supply of the attached posters for our member offices and jobsites.  You are welcome to print these posters yourself or we can mail directly to them (just let us know the quantity, who and where to send).

COVID-19 Jobsite Safety Poster

AGC Stop the Germ Spread Poster

New DOL guidance on FFCRA

Please see the link below to newest guidance from USDOL on FFCFA.

Questions 60-79 are new.

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions 

COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Phase III – Update on Including 1099 in Calculation for PPP

COVID-19 Stimulus Bill   UPDATE ON INCLUDING 1099 IN CALCULATION FOR PPP

New information was released last night by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to clarify the question as to whether one can include 1099 labor in the calculation and it has been confirmed that you are NOT allowed to include them.  The main reason being those 1099 contractors will be eligible to file their own claim. Again, that contradicts what was originally released but that’s based on what we know at this moment. Even though the PPP loan applications can be submitted today, it is likely more info will continue to be released by SBA.

We will continue to send out updates as we receive them.

Contact information for permitting while Jefferson County Courthouse is closed

The Jefferson County Development services wants builders to know that the office is still functioning despite the courthouse being closed. Please share the attached information if you deem appropriate with your members, we will also be sharing on the County’s social media channels as well. 

FFCRA Leave Request & EFMLA Decision Notice

The forms are attached below.

Updates: SBA Loans & Paid Leave Tax Credits

More information has come out on the new SBA Paycheck Protection Program. As such, we have updated our analysis (see attachment).

Also, the U.S. Department of the Treasury posted a summary and FAQs on the refundable tax credits from the new federal paid leave mandates for small and mid-sized businesses. You can find this information here:https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-for-required-paid-leave-provided-by-small-and-midsize-businesses-faqs

We’ll provide more information as we get it and analysis when we can.

DOL Update April 1, 2020 – FFCRA Paid Leave Requirements

The U.S. Department of Labor just published some additional guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) regarding employer paid leave requirements.  This most recent DOL publication does not appear to alter the guidance we have provided; however, it does expand the explanations.

Here is a link:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave

Apply Now for Forgivable Loans

Any AGC member interested in participating in the business loan program created by the CARES Act should immediately contact their banker and begin work on the process to apply for the forgivable loans through the Small Business Administration.
 
The first applications for the Payroll Protection Program will be accepted by the SBA on April 6. The earlier you apply, the more money may be made available for your business.

Employers guide to Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) 3.31.20

Attached is a guide for employers on the FFCRA from J Smith Lanier and Marsh.

To Continue to Operate, You Must Continue to Operate Safely 3.31.20

A Note from AGC of America CEO Stephen E. Sandherr 

Dear AGC Members:

I have always been extremely proud that one of the defining characteristics of the commercial construction industry is your unwavering commitment to the safety and health of every construction worker. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, your workers and the American public are relying on you to continue that commitment to safety. Indeed, as AGC of America and our network of chapters have been mostly successful in ensuring that construction operations continue in many parts of the country, the obligation to safeguard your workers has grown.

Federal, state, and local officials have relied on our assurances that the steps your firms are taking, including social distancing, the use of PPE and monitoring who enters your jobsites, creates a safer environment than exists in other industries. These officials have taken us at our word and allowed many types of construction projects to continue because they know this industry has a long history of complying with complex and ever-changing safety rules and regulations.

I urge all of you to make sure that every member of your team is following the guidance and safety requirements public health and safety officials have provided to make sure your workers are protected from the coronavirus. There is no margin for error when it comes to protecting your workforce. Any lapse in safety protocols can, and likely will, prompt government officials to reverse the industry’s ability to continue to operate with the stroke of a pen. That is why you, as construction CEO’s and senior executives, need to ensure that safe practices are known, understood, and followed by everyone. 

AGC has resources to assist in that effort and will continue to share those safety resources to any and all members of the construction community, regardless of whether they are members of our association. 

The public is counting on all of us to do our part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And I want to thank all of you in advance for making sure your workers remain healthy and safe during these very challenging times.

SBA Paycheck Protection Program 3.31.20

We know that the last several weeks have brought about many changes to your business operations, and we are here to help. As an SBA Preferred Lender, Trustmark will provide small business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been established as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This program is designed to provide economic support to businesses by offering loans to enable companies to retain employees and pay certain operational expenses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Paycheck Protection Program eliminates many of the requirements of a typical SBA loan and expands the types of businesses that are eligible for relief. Below is a summary of the criteria for loans under this program.

Business Operations

Covers business operations from 2/15/2020 – 6/30/2020; loan must be originated by 6/30/2020

Expenditures eligible for forgiveness over an eight-week period

RentUtilitiesInterest payments on any mortgage obligations or other debt obligations incurred before February 15, 2020 (but not any payments or prepayments of principal)Payroll costs

Loan Amount

Eligible maximum loan amount is capped at the lesser of 2.5 x average payroll costs or $10 million (for definition of payroll costs, click here

Payroll costs are calculated as follows:Existing business – 2.5 x average monthly payroll costs for previous 12 monthsLess than one year in operation – 2.5 x January and February 2020 average monthly payroll costsSeasonal business – 2.5 x average monthly payroll costs incurred during the 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019, or at the election of the applicant, March 1, 2019No credit elsewhere test

Interest Rate

Interest rate cap of 4%

Maturity

Up to ten (10) years from origination on any balance not forgiven

Fees

No fees to the borrower

Collateral/Guaranty

No collateral or personal guaranty required 

Forgiveness

The loan can be 100% forgiven, if certain qualifications are metAmount eligible for forgiveness is dependent on the number of employees on 2/15/2020 compared to 6/30/2020Automatic six-month deferment from origination date

Eligibility

Loans under the PPP are available to a wider range of eligible companies than the typical SBA loan:

Open to for profit and non-profit businesses (non-profit is classified as a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(19) organization) with less than 500 employeesIf SBA normal size standard under NAICS code allows for greater than 500 employees, the larger company will also be eligibleOpen to self-employed or individual contractors

The SBA is currently working to provide further clarification points, as this is a fluid situation. Once the SBA makes the PPP loan application, (and any required forms) available, it will be posted on trustmark.com/caresact, where eligible applicants can complete the application online.

We’re here to help you get your business back on track. Contact Mark Hope 334-223-1515 or visit trustmark.com/caresact.

Thank You for Taking Action on Paid Leave Alert 3.31.20

Thank you for taking the time to contact your U.S. senators about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

The U.S. Senate passed this bill and President Trump signed it into law on March 18, 2020. This legislation, while taking many level-headed actions to mitigate risks to our communities, included a new employer-fronted paid leave mandate that AGC and you strongly advocated against. Because of AGC members like you contacting their senators, we were able to send nearly 14,000 messages to Capitol Hill. 

Nevertheless, our impact was so large, that we were able to secure some improvements to these paid leave mandates, including:

The creation of an advanced refundable tax credit employers can seek from the IRS. This will hopefully help employers receive reimbursement for the cost of paid leave more quickly. The IRS will issue new forms and instructions on this measure in the coming days;An exemption for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees for both the new paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave mandates when the employee’s reason for the leave is child-care related and the absence of such workers would jeopardize the viability of the small business; andThe narrowing of the expansive instances for employees to be eligible to use the new paid family and medical leave mandate from three instances to one (to care for a child of an employee if the child’s school or care is unavailable due to the COVID-19).

Please visit the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division’s questions and answers guidance website for more details on the implementation of this new law. Be sure to also check out AGC’s COVID-19 page for additional updates. 

While we continue to advocate for you and your company in Washington, D.C., we encourage you to send any photos and videos of your new coronavirus safety measures in use to Sophia Valentino at sophia.valentino@agc.org. AGC would like to use these images to educate other firms and officials about how the industry is protecting workers while continuing to perform an essential economic function. And don’t just share them with us, make sure you post them to your favorite social media channels as well. 

Lastly, I would ask that you consider making a corporate contribution to the Construction Advocacy Fund if your company supports our advocacy efforts. The Fund finances AGC’s advocacy programs and critical campaigns, including our ongoing efforts to fight for federal infrastructure investments, push back against costly, and needless, new regulatory burdens, promote workforce development and workplace safety, and enhance construction technology. Make a contribution today!

Again, thank you. You are helping to make a difference!

Sincerely,
Jimmy Christianson
VP, Government Relations

Price Gouging Alert 3.31.20

As the impact of the COVID-19 impact continues, there have been reports of price gouging on certain products.  Recognizing that supply chains have been greatly disrupted by the virus outbreak, there has been an increase in price for some products.

By definition, Alabama law defines price gouging under the Alabama Unconscionable Pricing Act as:

“…a price that exceeds, by an amount equal to or in excess of twenty-five percent (25%) of the average price at which the same or similar commodity or rental facility was obtainable in the affected area during the last 30 days immediately prior to the declared state of emergency and the increase in the price charged is not attributable to reasonable costs with the rental or sale of the commodity.”

To file an illegal price gouging report, visit the Alabama AG’s website at https://www.alabamaag.gov/consumercomplaint .  You can also call 800-392-5658 or mail a complaint to: Alabama Attorney General’s Office, 501 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama, 36130

The CARES Act: Access Resources about New Legislation 3.31.20

Businesses have been met with many challenges in recent weeks in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 27th, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) was signed into law in an effort to support businesses and provide much-needed relief in a time of uncertainty for many companies.

In this webinar by Warren Averett, our advisors will explore the provisions within the CARES Act that are designed to offer assistance to businesses, the details businesses should know about Small Business Administration loans, and the tax provisions that matter the most for businesses hit hard by COVID-19.

Register here:

https://warrenaverett.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QNGNfjeBShelwkf7Lpri6Q?utm_campaign=Tax%20Alerts&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=2&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–_UyGVDx1TjgOpZLrEz6v-L3_DU8SEpERwAnVO0HmTFS7NeqfwYuUmcZFv5-bAmsTRdUNOLt1v5JNAGt9JCTpzhn07V9wy8ryE5oBO55tSzP-o4eY&_hsmi=2

Construction and Procurement Alert via COVID-19 3.31.20

Cyber Security Tips for Remote Employees –  The Cedo Group 3.30.20

NOW AVAILABLE: AGC Friday Webinar Recordings 3.30.20

Below and attached are the slides and recordings for both of the webinars AGC held on Friday:

Navigating the Outbreak: Project Continuity Plans – Part V (FREE to Members)
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4477274426362173187

Army – Corps of Engineers COVID-19 Webinar (FREE to ALL)https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4947052863957387777

DHS responds favorably to AGC’s request to declare construction an essential industry 3.30.20

Good news!  AGC has been pushing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to declare construction an essential industry, and they have just released new guidance that does just that.

New Guidance version 2.0 can be found here: https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CISA_Guidance_on_the_Essential_Critical_Infrastructure_Workforce_Version_2.0_Updated.pdf

Construction now appears 25 times in version 2.0 document compared to 4 in the previous version.  Most of those additions appear to be in the Energy (13 compared to zero) and Communications and Information Technology (4 compared to 2).  New sectors that now reference construction include: “OTHER COMMUNITY- OR GOVERNMENT-BASED OPERATIONS AND ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS” – (2) and “RESIDENTIAL/SHELTER FACILITIES AND SERVICES” – (3).

There’s now a second reference to construction in the “PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT SERVICES” and they have reordered the bullets. 

Repair now appears 16 times compared to 8 in the previous version.

The titles for certain sectors are also different.  For example, it used to be “PUBLIC WORKS” and now reads “PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT SERVICES.”

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Alabama AGC COVID-19 update 3.27.20

Alabama AGC Members:

As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and its potential effects on the construction industry, we wanted to share some resources and news that may be helpful to you and your business.

Shelter in Place / Curfew Efforts       

Moments ago, Governor Ivey announced further restrictions on non-essential business activities across Alabama. The order does not list construction as being non-essential. The order does, however, authorize local governments to take those steps that they deem necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which may include shelter in place orders. For that reason, it is imperative that local Alabama AGC members and offices communicate directly with local leaders to ensure that construction remains an essential business should that local government impose a shelter in place order.  We have reached out to local officials throughout the state to express our interest in keeping construction essential to the local economic vitality. 

Birmingham and Tuscaloosa have both issued orders limiting activity in the form of curfews.  In both cases, construction is exempted from the order allowing builders to continue working.  Feel free to utilize the orders from Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, as well as these talking points, during your conversations with your local government.

Please reach out to us if we can be of any assistance. Stay safe!

Billy Norrell

Chief Executive Officer

Alabama Associated General Contractors

billyn@alagc.orgwww.ALAGC.org

AGC: 205-451-1400; Cell: 334-202-9640

5000 Grantswood RoadIrondale, AL 35210

Updated USDOL Guidance on Paid Leave 3.27.20

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) added to its published guidance to provide information to employers about meeting their requirements to offer emergency paid sick leave and paid family medical leave offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.  

Specifically, WHD added to its original Questions and Answers document. The new Q&A’s (see questions 15-37) address critical issues, such as recordkeeping, documentation requirements, when an employee is unable to telework, intermittent leave, worksite closures, furloughs, UI interaction, health coverage requirements, and multiemployer collective bargaining agreement implications. 

AGCA CARES ACT ANALYSIS 3.27.20

Please find attached AGC of America’s comprehensive analysis of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as passed by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) today added to its published guidance to provide information to employers about meeting their requirements to offer emergency paid sick leave and paid family medical leave offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.  

Specifically, WHD added to its original Questions and Answers document. The new Q&A’s (see questions 15-37) address critical issues, such as recordkeeping, documentation requirements, when an employee is unable to telework, intermittent leave, worksite closures, furloughs, UI interaction, health coverage requirements, and multiemployer collective bargaining agreement implications. 

Sample letter of proof of essential business 3.27.20

Below are two sample letters to designate your business as essential.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

3.26 AGC Daily Coronavirus Update

March 26, 2020

Good evening AGC members,

Earlier today, AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr sent a message urging all members to make sure their entire teams are following the guidance sent by public health and safety officials to protect their workers from the spread of the coronavirus. Noting that the public was counting on the industry to do its part to block the spread of the coronavirus, he said that there was no margin for error. Click here to read the letter.

On that note, AGC held the fourth part of the Navigating the Outbreak series and today’s session was all about safety, Protect Your People and Your Projects. Please click here to view the slideshow presentation from the webinar. We are making the recording of this session available to anyone in an effort to promote the safety of all construction workers and will post that link to AGC’s coronavirus site as soon as the recording is ready. Tomorrow, we will be discussing the components of a comprehensive project continuity plan. Click here to register online or to get more information.

Late last night the Senate passed the largest economic aid package in our nation’s history. On a 96-0 vote, the $2 trillion bill—the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—passed the Senate and is soon expected to be approved by the House and signed into law. This legislation will provide the industry with a much-needed lifeline that will help firms and workers over the coming days and weeks. But the industry will not be able to truly recover until federal officials pass measures designed to stimulate new demand for construction, make contractors whole for losses incurred because of the coronavirus and protect employee retirement and health plans. Which is why AGC is pushing Congress for additional recovery measures beyond what is included in the bill. We continue to comb through the Senate bill to determine its full impact on the industry. Click here to listen (and actually watch too) a brief podcast describing the details of the bill. You can also read AGC’s letter to Congress about the bill here and AGC media statement (see statement here) in response.

Also, 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 emergency paid leave 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 30-day non-enforcement policy. The new guidance addresses critical issues such as whether employers may post required notice electronically, whether employers must provide notice of this law to recently laid-off individuals, when FFCRA applies to federal workers and when enforcement of the new rules will begin.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently undertaking efforts to identify potential sites to use as alternate care facilities and is looking to rapidly engage contractors to prepare them for medical use.

AGC will be conducting a free webinar tomorrow, March 27th at 4 PM EDT, with Corps officials that will give an overview of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts as they stand, the challenges and opportunities presented, and what construction contractors can do to help in these efforts. Click here to register.

And, our friends at Construct Connect have created a helpful interactive map that lists some of the project disruptions that have taken place across the country because of the coronavirus pandemic. You can view the map here.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have. And click here to get the most up-to-date information on our website.

To Continue to Operate, You Must Continue to Operate Safely 3.26.20

A Note from AGC of America CEO Stephen E. Sandherr

Dear AGC Members:

I have always been extremely proud that one of the defining characteristics of the commercial construction industry is your unwavering commitment to the safety and health of every construction worker. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, your workers and the American public are relying on you to continue that commitment to safety. Indeed, as AGC of America and our network of chapters have been mostly successful in ensuring that construction operations continue in many parts of the country, the obligation to safeguard your workers has grown.

Federal, state, and local officials have relied on our assurances that the steps your firms are taking, including social distancing, the use of PPE and monitoring who ente
rs your jobsites, creates a safer environment than exists in other industries. These officials have taken us at our word and allowed many types of construction projects to continue because they know this industry has a long history of complying with complex and ever-changing safety rules and regulations.

I urge all of you to make sure that every member of your team is following the guidance and safety requirements public health and safety officials have provided to make sure your workers are protected from the coronavirus. There is no margin for error when it comes to protecting your workforce. Any lapse in safety protocols can, and likely will, prompt government officials to reverse the industry’s ability to continue to operate with the stroke of a pen. That is why you, as construction CEO’s and senior executives, need to ensure that safe practices are known, understood, and followed by everyone.

AGC has resources to assist in that effort and will continue to share those safety resources to any and all members of the construction community, regardless of whether they are members of our association.

The public is counting on all of us to do our part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And I want to thank all of you in advance for making sure your workers remain healthy and safe during these very challenging times.

Alabama builders look to keep essential designation if shelter-in-place orders grow – Birmingham Business Journal 3.26.20

Birmingham’s large construction industry hasn’t experienced the same turbulence as builders in other cities and states where shelter-in-place orders have been implemented to control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

And industry leaders are looking to keep it that way in the event a statewide shelter-in-place order is made by Alabama leaders in the coming weeks.

Alabama Associated General Contractors, in partnership with other organizations in the state, is urging state leaders to classify all construction, banking and real estate services as essential in the event of a statewide shelter-in-place order.

“We are concerned about the possibility that state and local government may be considering a possible blanket shutdown of operations without an exemption for personnel that support construction, banking and real estate activities. This is why we have reached out to the Governor’s office to help protect the public safety in Alabama by keeping the activities of these industries moving forward,” said Billy Norrell, Alabama AGC CEO.

COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program 3.26.20

MEMORANDUM SUBJECT: COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program

FROM: Susan Parker Bodine

TO: All Governmental and Private Sector Partners As all of us at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adjust to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we are first and foremost mindful of the health and safety of the public, as well as our staff, and those of Federal Agencies, State and Local Governments, Tribes, Regulated Entities, Contractors, and Nongovernmental Organizations. The agency must take these important considerations into account as we all continue our work to protect human health and the environment. Accordingly, we are announcing the following temporary policy regarding EPA enforcement of environmental legal obligations during this time. The EPA will exercise the enforcement discretion specified below for noncompliance covered by this temporary policy and resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, if regulated entities take the steps applicable to their situations, as set forth in this policy. For noncompliance that occurs during the period of time that this temporary policy is in effect, and that results from the COVID-19 pandemic, this policy will apply to such noncompliance in lieu of an otherwise applicable EPA enforcement response policy.

NEW USDOL Paid Leave Guidance 3.26.20

Today, 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 emergency paid leave 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 30-day non-enforcement policy. The new guidance addresses critical issues such as whether employers may post required notice electronically, whether employers must provide notice of this law to recently laid-off individuals, when FFCRA applies to federal workers and when enforcement of the new rules will begin.

U.S. Senate Passes $2 Trillion Economic Aid Bill 3.25.20

All, 

Moments ago, the U.S. Senate passed the largest economic aid package in our nation’s history. On a 96-0 vote, the $2 trillion bill—the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) which is attached—now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration tomorrow.

Notably, given the ongoing pandemic, the House has not been called back to Washington, D.C., this week. Nevertheless, it is expected that the bill will pass the House on a unanimous consent voice vote (a procedure under which all lawmakers would not be required to return to Capitol Hill).  Any single House member, however, could thwart the bill’s passage by objecting to the motion for unanimous consent of the bill. If it passes the House, the president is expected to sign it into law tomorrow.

There is much for the industry to like in the bill, and also much for it to desire. That is why, ultimately, AGC of America (AGCA) neither endorsed nor opposed the 880 page bill. Please see the attached AGCA letter for more details. We will update you further on key bill provisions and issues throughout the remainder of the week.

Daily AGC Member Update – March 25, 2020

Good evening AGC members,

After a 1:00 am announcement that congressional and administration leaders reached an agreement in principle on another novel coronavirus (COVID-19) relief package—this one as large as $2 trillion—the agreement’s details became too hard for some to swallow. The major hang-up remains whether the unemployment benefits under consideration provide perverse incentives for people to remain on unemployment rather than returning to work when possible. If and when final legislation is voted on remains unknown.

As it stands, the legislation could include significant provisions that would provide critical tax relief and access to capital for many AGC members. However, significant construction industry priorities may be left for another day, including contractor financial compensation for delays related to COVID-19- impacts, significant investments in and long-term reauthorizations of many federal and federal-aid construction programs, and maintaining the viability of multiemployer pension plans, among others. In the meantime, AGC remains focused on and engaged in the ongoing negotiations. Stay tuned, this is obviously a fast-developing story.

In addition, AGC—both at the national and chapter level—has remained heavily engaged in ensuring governments at all levels classify construction as an essential industry able to operate in a safe manner. At the national level, AGC shared its recommendations for technical corrections with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency concerning the agency’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response, under which many states and localities have taken varying approaches. AGC shared these recommendations in writing following a White House call on the guidance on March 24. AGC continues to inform government officials as to the safe, essential and vital nature of our industry and workforce in responding to and recovering from the impacts of this outbreak. Click here to read the letter. 

Also, the U.S. Department of Labor has created a new poster advising employees of how the new, temporary coronavirus paid sick and family medical leave program will operate. Click here to view the new poster.

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 26, we will be hosting the fourth session to the 8-part Webinar Series on Navigating the Outbreak. It will focus on the how to protect your people and your projects . If you missed the earlier sessions, recordings of the first three sessions will be available when you register for the full series. Click here to register online or to get more information.

Thank you to those who have already completed this week’s Coronavirus Impact survey. We will be collecting responses until noon ET Thursday, March 26.  Please click here to participate in this week’s survey.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have. And click here to get the most up-to-date information on our website.

Emergency rule notice 3.25.20

Below is the notice concerning the emergency rule voted on today. The Board’s action today will give an automatic extension for contractors with a current license or current license extension expiring March 31, 2020. The extensions should already be updated on the roster located on our website. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and, if needed, make a determination at a future date for licenses expiring in April or later.

FFCRA Employee Rights Poster 3.25.20

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employers about meeting their requirements to offer emergency paid sick leave and paid family medical leave offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.  

The guidance – provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees(link is external), a Fact Sheet for Employers(link is external) and a Questions and Answers(link is external) document – addresses critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law. 

US DOL releases this FFCRA poster(link is external), which outlines details of the new, temporary, paid sick and family medical leave programs established as part of the federal response to the coronavirus.  Beginning March 25 (today), employers should print and post this poster at each office and jobsite.

1- Families First Coronavirus Chart – 3.25.20

Jackson Thornton Families First Coronavirus Response Act  Key Employer Provisions 

FMCSA Guidance on Drug and Alcohol Testing 3.25.20

In the second FMCSA-related development of the day, the agency has released guidance regarding drug and alcohol testing requirements in the wake of disruptions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended actions for FMCSA-regulated employers unable to conduct:
•  Random Testing  You are required by 49 CFR 382.305(k) to ensure that the dates for administering random alcohol and controlled substances tests are spread reasonably throughout the calendar year. DOT guidance further recommends that you perform random selections and tests at least quarterly.
For further guidance see https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Best_Practices_for_DOT_Random_Drug_and_Alcohol_Testing_508CLN.pdf.
 If, due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency, you are unable to perform random selections and tests sufficient to meet the random testing rate for a given testing period in order to achieve the required 50% rate for drug testing, and 10% for alcohol testing, you should make up the tests by the end of the year.  You should document in writing the specific reasons why you were unable to conduct tests on drivers randomly selected, and any actions taken to locate an alternative collection site or other testing resources.
•  Pre-Employment Testing  If you are unable to conduct a pre-employment controlled substances test, in accordance with 49 CFR 382.301(a), you cannot allow a prospective employee to perform DOT safety sensitive functions until you receive a negative pre-employment test result, unless the exception in 49 CFR 382.301(b) applies.
•  Post-Accident Testing  You are required to test each driver for alcohol and controlled substances as soon as practicable following an accident as required by 49 CFR 382.303. However, if you are unable to administer an alcohol test within 8 hours following the accident, or a controlled substance test within 32 hours following the accident, due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency, you must document in writing the specific reasons why the test could not be conducted, as currently required. See 49 CFR 382.303(d) and FMCSA Guidance at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/drug-alcohol-testing/commercial-motor-vehicle-operator-involved-accident-which
•  Reasonable suspicion testing – You should document in writing the specific reasons why the test could not be conducted as required; include any efforts you made to mitigate the effect of the disruption, such as trying to locate an alternative collection site. This documentation should be provided in addition to the documentation of the observations leading to a test, as required by 49 CFR 382.307(f). Follow current regulations addressing situations in which reasonable suspicion testing is not conducted, set forth in 49 CFR 382.307(e)(1), (2).
•  Return-to-duty (RTD) testing – In accordance with 49 CFR 40.305(a), you must not allow the driver to perform any safety-sensitive functions, as defined in 49 CFR 382.107, until the RTD test is conducted and there is a negative result.
• Follow-up testing –  If testing cannot be completed, you should document in writing the specific reasons why the testing could not be conducted as in accordance with the follow-up testing plan; you should include any efforts you made to mitigate the effect of the disruption, such as trying to locate an alternative collection site. You should conduct the test as soon as practicable.
FMCSA-Regulated Employees:
Please follow the ODAPC guidance, as set forth below, and available at: https://www..transportation.gov/odapc/compliance-with-dot-drug-and-alcohol-testing-regulations.
·        If you are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms, you should contact your medical provider and, if necessary, let your employer know about your availability to perform work.
·        If you have COVID-19-related concerns about testing, you should discuss them with your employer. FMCSA joins ODAPC in suggesting that employers respond to employee concerns in a sensitive and respectful way.
•      As a reminder, it is the employer’s responsibility to evaluate the circumstances of what may be considered an employee’s refusal to test and determine whether or not the employee’s actions should be considered a refusal as per 49 CFR § 40.355(i). 
[1] This guidance document does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in anyway.  This guidance is intended only to provide clarity regarding existing requirements under the law.

COVID-19 UPDATE: THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT — YOUR RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS 3.25.20

On March 18, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA). Here is how the DPA might affect your business. What Is It? Congress originally enacted the DPA in 1950 to give the President the power to take actions he deemed necessary to ensure production of wartime materiel and to provide financing to suppliers. Over time, the DPA has been updated to reflect current federal agencies and modern times through Executive Orders, including those issued by Presidents Bill Clinton (EO 12919) and Barack Obama (EO 13603). As the DPA currently stands, it gives the President broad powers to: • Require that civilian contractors give the government priority in completing certain contracts and task or delivery orders (50 U.S.C. § 4511(a)(1)); • Allocate materials, services, and facilities as he deems necessary to promote the national defense (50 U.S.C. § 4511(a)(2)); • Designate “scarce materials,” and declare hoarding of scarce materials illegal (50 U.S.C. § 4512); • Authorize government agencies to guarantee loans supporting production capability necessary to “create, maintain, expedite, expand, protect, or restore production and deliveries or services essential to the national defense” (50 U.S.C. § 4351(a)(1)); and • Authorize direct government loans to businesses for the “creation, maintenance, protection, or restoration of capacity, the development of technological processes, or the production of essential materials, including the exploration, development, and mining of strategic and critical metals and minerals” (50 U.S.C. §4532(a)).

Daily member update – March 24, 2020

Good evening AGC Members, 

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employers about meeting their requirements to offer emergency paid sick leave and paid family medical leave offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.   

The guidance – provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answersdocument – addresses critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.

Tomorrow, we will be hosting the third session to the 8-part Webinar Series on Navigating the Outbreak. It will focus on the contractual and related legal protections and risks for construction companies. If you missed the earlier sessions, recordings of Part I and Part II when you register for the full series. Click here to register online or to get more information. 

Thank you to all those who participated in last week’s initial AGC Coronavirus Impact Survey. Given how fast the situation is evolving, we are asking you to complete the survey again on a weekly basis so we can track the evolution of the coronavirus’ impacts on the industry. Even if you completed last week’s survey, please click here to participate in this week’s survey.

Again, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have. And click here to get the most up-to-date information on our website. 

Pre-screening Questionnaire & Tips 3.25.20

The attached consists of a pre-screening questionnaire and tips for preventing and responding to a suspected or confirmed positive case of COVID-19. 

Dept of Labor Guidance on Emergency SIck Leave/Paid family Medical Leave 3.25.20

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employers about meeting their requirements to offer emergency paid sick leave and paid family medical leave offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.  

The guidance – provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answersdocument – addresses critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.

DOL Guidance on FFCRA – capell & howard 3.25.20

US DOL Publishes New Federal Paid Leave Guidance Families First Coronavirus Response Act 3.25.20

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employers about meeting their requirements to offer emergency paid sick leave and paid family medical leave offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.  

The guidance – provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers document – addresses critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.

Skilled Labor Staffing 3.24.20

COVID-19-NEED SKILLED LABOR? Alabama AGC has been contacted by PeopleHR, a skilled labor staffing company.  PeopleHR is operating business as usual, with some modifications, and would be happy to help any GCs or SCs that are experiencing issues with their skilled labor workforce not being able to report to work.  Two of their main specialties are electricians and concrete workers in non-coastal areas. 

If interested, call Rusty Averette at 205-563-7626

AGC’s Daily Update message to members 3.23.20

Good evening AGC members,

 Today, we released our second weekly member survey so we continue to track the impact of the coronavirus in our industry . Click here to take the survey now. We appreciate the responses to our initial survey which garnered over 900 respondents, all the results from the first survey can be found here

Also, AGC, along with our industry partners on the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), is pushing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to re-evaluate its decision to treat cases of employees contracting COVID-19 as recordable incidents. Instead, healthcare providers should be required to report these cases on their logs because they are in direct contact with people with confirmed cases and are at greatest risk.

At the same time, we are pushing OSHA to provide flexibility in enforcement with respect to respirator use due to the growing shortage of N95 respirators. For example, OSHA should consider allowing job rotation to reduce exposures to employees who may not have access to the appropriate masks. For more information, and to view a copy of the AGC/CISC letter, click here.  And click here to watch a brief explanation of this issue. 

 In addition, we are asking our members to take action and tell Congress and the President to treat the construction industry and the work it performs as vital and essential to respond to this pandemic and crises to come. Take action now and send a message to the President here.

We hope you were able to join us for the first-part of the AGC Coronavirus Webinar Series today. If you missed the first episode, all the webinars will be recorded and available free of charge to members. And if you are interested in registering for the rest series, you can find more information here.  

AGC also remains deeply engaged on Capitol Hill fighting for construction contractors’ access to capital and cash flows so they can continue operations and pay workers. For more on all the issues we are working on, click here. To let Congress kno
w they need to prioritize construction jobs and markets
click here.  

Nahee Rosso
Senior Director of Communications
The Associated General Contractors of America
(p) 703-837-5348
(c) 301-758-1822
nahee.rosso@agc.org

AGC Chapter responses to to covid-19 measures 3.23.20

Jefferson County will increase restrictions on business operations for nonessential businesses today at 5:00 PM 3.23.20

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, at 5:00 P.M., all nonessential businesses and services shall be closed.

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, at 5:00 P.M., all businesses not on the list for closure, including pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, electronic stores, and services for telecommunications, hardware, office supplies, and building supply businesses must operate under the following conditions:

Prior to April 6, 2020, a determination shall be made about whether to extend this provision.

Effective immediately, all gatherings of 10 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited until further notice. This Order shall apply to all gatherings, events, or activities that bring 10 or more persons in a single space at the same time.

Click Here to read the entire Order. 

Click Here to see the Posters of Essential and Non-Essential Businesses as of March 23, 2020.

Willis Towers Watson (WTW) COVID-19 Protocol Safety / Risk Sharing Report

Dear Construction Leaders,

A common refrain heard from many health, safety and risk leaders in these extraordinary times is some version of “now more than ever, we would benefit from knowing what others are doing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak”.  In service of our valued clients and others interested in emerging peer practices related to the COVID-19 workplace response, Willis Towers Watson recently commissioned a flash survey to identify and then share what construction leaders (and beyond) were experiencing, acting on/doing, and still seeking solutions for. 

Attached is the summary of the initial survey results, consistent themed practices, and other COVID-19 resources from over 150 construction companies for your use and application.  Included in the report is peer guidance and sample plans for project shutdowns

Thank You

Bob Fitzgerald  CSP, CHST, MPH

Senior Risk Control Consultant

Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson Southeast, Inc. | 2101 6th Avenue North, Suite 725 | Birmingham, AL 35203 l USA

 D  +1 205 868-0293

M  +1 205 305-3468

Bob.Fitzgerald@willistowerswatson.com

www.willistowerswatson.com

Unemployed Employees: Should Employees Who Have Reduced Hours or Are Laid Off Due to COVID-19 File for Unemployment?

By J. William Manuel, Anne R. Yuengert

As more municipalities and states that are dealing with COVID-19 issue orders mandating the closing of non-essential businesses such as bars, restaurants and gyms, many hourly employees are looking at a long period of under-employment. If you are going to temporarily shut down due to virus control, should you tell your employees to go ahead and file for unemployment? Well, right now that kind of depends on your state of residence.

AGC Action Alert

URGENT ACTION ALERT

Tell President Trump and Congress to treat the construction industry and the work it performs as vital and essential to the critical industries that must remain in operation to respond to this pandemic and crises to come. To ensure this is the case, the federal government must issue guidance classifying construction as a critical infrastructure industry whose workers are essential.

Click the “Take Action” button below and simply submit the pre-written message as is to President Trump and your members of Congress or customize it with personal information on how this issue impacts you and your employer.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts to Construction Projects and general updates

Instead of Coronavirus (COVID-19) slowing issues down, it appears to be accelerating them and doing so exponentially.  Here are issues that have come up this week for it or just in general thanks to the early spring we are having and how we will deal with these issues:

Surface Treatment: In light of the warmer Spring temperatures we are experiencing and public expectations we pave as much as possible during the Coronavirus shutdowns, I reviewed the forecast for the next 10 days throughout the state.  Based on what weather is anticipated, Scott George, Jeff Benefield, and I discussed, and I am waiving the season limitation for April 1st for any area located south of latitude 33° N. Contractors and Areas can make immediate plans to begin this work as soon as possible. For any location north of latitude 33° N and south of the line from Winfield across to Piedmont, Areas are recommended to consider requests to allow surface treatment placement.  This will facilitate progressing with carryover work from 2019 and projects already let considering we all realize that a shutdown could be forthcoming in the coming month or months and the backlog of work this could create.For any location north of the line from Winfield across to Piedmont and south of the Tennessee State Line, there are still cooler temperatures planned, especially overnight.  We need to hold off progressing with this work for now, but will reassess on April 1st.No letters to this office are necessary.  Please handle these requests and approvals based on this email.  More info coming by April 1st.Lane closure modification requests:ARBA and AAPA have both initiated “what if” requests this week to extend times of work from those listed on the plans or change from nighttime closures to daytime based on the reduced traffic that we are all seeing due to the numerous shutdowns of schools, offices, some factories, restaurants, and non-essential facilities.  We can all agree that some routes have drastically changed their traffic patterns, but not all to the point that we can still pave outside these restrictions.  I told them that contractors can request such modifications, and we would review them on a case-by-case basis. Yesterday alone, we approved a change from nighttime to daytime in Birmingham starting next week with a per ton price reduction similar to what we have done for changing nighttime to daytime.  We have another request pending on the interstate in south Alabama to work on Friday past lunch and on Saturday since the beaches are closed in an effort to expedite these projects completion before traffic returns to normal.  If you have similar requests, please give consideration, but do so after you actually monitor traffic during the timeframe that is restricted such as morning and afternoon rush hour. As we all can agree, daytime work promotes a safer work zone due to visibility and the visibility enhances the contractor’s quality and our inspection.If a price reduction is appropriate, please coordinate with the Construction Bureau as outlined in GFO 4-3.In an effort to track the impact and changes the Coronavirus is having on our project operations and schedules, please copy this office with any such approvals and denials.Material ticket handling and signatures:Concern has been raised by ARBA and AAPA for truckers to swap tickets with our inspectors and getting signatures whether for HMA, aggregate, or concrete. First, realize that most of these materials are for per ton payment with certified weighmaster requirements, so the ticket is vital to know what is being placed and how much to pay for.  It is very critical for HMA to know how much material is being placed as we do rate checks.In the case of concrete, weight is not of the same concern, but the volume and batch information is as critical as the HMA weight.Thus, we have to receive the ticket.  If the truck driver (or our inspector) has health concerns, he/she needs to wear gloves or else the driver can arrange some type of stick with a clip to extend the ticket and minimize touching.As far as signatures, the only signature that is required is from the inspector on our copy.  That is our official acknowledgement that the inspector received and is including it for payment. This should be done after receipt. If the truck driver, the material producer, or contractor is requiring the inspector to sign their copy of the ticket, my recommendation is to waive that for now.e-Ticketing:You have heard Hunter Golson and I talk about this issue the past several years as we have reached out to find interested contractors to do pilot projects.  We have done x so far and have y set up for this spring and pushing for more. Due to the issue in #3, Florida and Georgia came out the last 2 days and announced they are going to accelerate implementation of e-Ticketing.  There are some parts of those states that will implement and cease paper ticketing immediately.  There is a lot that must go into implementing this effort starting with a contractor picking one of the firms that can provide.  We currently have been dealing with Fleetwatcher, Command Alkon, and SOP, and there could be others.  First choice deals with do you want GPS tracking on the truck or not and how the system integrates with your scale system.  Next is equipment procurement and finally training.  Of course, cost is a factor as well. While all are similar overall, there are still slight differences.In light of the current health concerns, we are strongly recommending contractors to consider implementing e-Ticketing or least doing pilot projects.  Of course, this may be easier to do in urban areas where signals are good, but then may be near impossible in remote/rural locations where there is not any signal.  Contractors should know best where they are working and should request pilot projects based on whether it would work or not.I know there are a couple of contractors who are basically using at least one of those systems for all their projects for fleet management purposes although we have only done a few pilot projects on our side.  In these cases, I am open to implementing on all their projects, and we can pilot efforts to utilize the e-ticket through the day and then get the stack at the end of the day or to start the next from the Superintendent since the ticket is still the official document.

Industry associations are copied with this email so as to spread the word and do some timely and broadcast a consistent message.  I would like to thank Tom Layfield and Mel Monk for the feedback they have been providing from across the industry and other states, our Regions/Areas for keeping our projects going, and most importantly, our ALDOT and consultant inspectors for being on the front line.  All of us are essential in keeping our projects going.  Circumstances are changing daily, and how we adjust and adapt will determine our ability to keep the work progressing.  The public is broadcasting across social media how it is a great time to work as much as possible on our roadways with less traffic on them, and I feel we can all agree.  So, let’s keep moving forward while we can.

 Please share with your staff and members.  As always, if you have questions about any of these or other issues or need additional information, please feel free to email or call me.   

Skip Powe, P.E.

State Constru
ction Engineer

Alabama Department of Transportation

Construction Bureau

(334) 242-6209

UPDATES: Paid Leave, Congress, & Essential Industry Status

LATEST ON NEW FEDERAL PAID LEAVE MANDATES

This morning, Treasury, IRS and DOL announced their intent to implement these new mandates. You can find the complete announcement in the email attached or linked here. Items to note:SMALL BUSINESS EXEMPTIONS: It appears that guidance/regulations will be issued from the Secretary of Labor to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from the leave requirements relating to school closings or child care unavailability where the requirements would jeopardize the ability of the business to continue. The exemption will be available on the basis of simple and clear criteria that make it available in circumstances involving jeopardy to the viability of an employer’s business as a going concern.PROMPT PAYMENT FROM IRS TO EMPLOYERS MANDATED TO PROVIDE LEAVE: Under guidance that will be released next week, eligible employers who pay qualifying sick or child care leave will be able to retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount of qualifying sick and child care leave that they paid, rather than deposit them with the IRS. The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees. If there are not sufficient payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified sick and child care leave paid, employers will be able file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less. The details of this new, expedited procedure will be announced next week.

LATEST FROM CAPITOL HILL

The Senate could vote on a new $2 TRILLON+ COVID-19 relief package as soon as Monday. Negotiations are extremely fluid. AGC of America shared it’s priorities and policy proposals to all members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives yesterday and received confirmation from key legislators and officials that many of our priorities are part of the fast-paced negotiations. You can find attached the document we shared with all members of Congress. Our priorities include but are not limited to:Protecting our members’ cash flows and access to capital;Infusions of funding into direct federal and federal-aid construction accounts;Enacting multi-year reauthorizations of federal and federal-aid construction programs; andMaintaining the viability of multiemployer pension and health plans on which millions of participants, retirees and contributing employers depend.PLEASE CONTINUE TO PUSH YOUR MEMBERS TO TAKE ACTION THROUGH THIS LINK:https://advocacy.agc.org/protect_construction

CONSTRUCTION AS AN ESSENTIAL INDUSTRY

The federal government recently released a list detailing “critical infrastructure industries” whose workers are “essential” and should continue normal work schedules. Although the document lists industries for which construction is absolutely critical, our industry was not explicitly included. Even though the list “is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself,” some states have/are considering it for determining which industries can go to work amid state and local COVID-19 responses to shelter in place, among other policies.AGC of America has continually sought to make clear that our industry is essential to responding to and recovering from this virus in the following ways:Received broad media coverage of its release detailing how counter intuitive it is to shut down construction projects and the industry itself during a pandemic.Partnered with the buildings trades unions in a joint release—showing that management and labor agree—that construction must be included as an essential service able to operate during COVID-19-related shutdownsPartnered with construction business organizations in a letter to the White House (attached) in underscoring the essential need for the construction industry to work during this crisis.Communicated to the Republican and Democratic Governors’ Associations these same messages (attached).

AGC Coronavirus Webinar Series starts Monday (FREE to Members)

Beginning Monday, March 23, AGC will host an 8-part webinar series on the “Factors that Construction Companies Need to Consider, as They Strive for Business Continuity”.  Please encourage your members to take advantage of this timely series, which will run from Monday, March 23 through Wednesday, April 1.

This series is FREE TO MEMBERS. To register now click here.
The series will cover the following topics: 

 Part I: Your Federal and State Legal Obligations to Provide Paid and/or Unpaid Leave to Your Employees

Part II: What the Federal and Many State Labor and Employment Laws Are Likely to Require of You, as You Adjust Your Operations to Meet the Latest Contingencies?

Part III: The Contractual and Related Legal Protections and Risks for Construction Companies

Part IV: How to Protect Your People and Your Projects

Part V: The Components of a Comprehensive Project Continu
ity Plan

Part VI: Insurance Coverage and Claims for Losses Resulting from the Outbreak 

Part VII: The Additional Pressure that the Outbreak Could be Putting on Your Information Technology 

Part VIII: What You Need to Watch, as the Outbreak Continues to Unfold 

We hope that this series is valuable as our members learn to navigate this new reality and continue to operate their businesses.

More detailed info on the webinar series and how to register can be found here.

Letter to Governor Ivey from Banking, Construction, and Real Estate Trade Groups

Employer Communication if Employee Exposed or Positive

HELP! MY ASSISTANT IS SICK!

Can I send someone home if they display symptoms?

• Yes. The CDC says that employees who become ill with flu-like symptoms at work during a

pandemic should leave the workplace. Telling these workers to go home is not a disabilityrelated

action if the illness is similar to seasonal influenza or the COVID-19 virus. Additionally,

this action would be permitted under the ADA if the illness were serious enough to pose a direct

threat.

Governor Ivey Public Health Order Update

Emergency Cleaning

Please see the email exchange BELOW re: response action/emergency cleaning and decontaminating services at a COVID-19 site, which I’m sharing by way of example only. 

Also, EPA recently expanded its list of “registered disinfectant products” – see below.

Press Release: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-expands-covid-19-disinfectant-list

List of disinfectants: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

Finally, if your members ask about whether disinfection or decontamination coverage is available for COVID-19 under environmental insurance policies, check out this AGC page with a collection of articles on insurance coverage for losses resulting from the coronavirus: https://www.agc.org/industry-priorities/risk-management/covid-19-–-insurance-coverage.

General Cleaning & Preventative Measures on Jobsites

Here are a few resources we’ve assembled to help address questions about general cleaning & preventative measures on jobsites:

DOL: Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for Coronavirus (pages 8 & 9)EPA: Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-1EPA Press Release: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-expands-covid-19-disinfectant-listMilwaukee: Cleaning of Tools to Help Prevent Spread of COVID-19CDC: Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations – Community Facilities

You may also want to review the Best Practices for Construction Jobsites put forth by some chapters:

AGC Houston Chapter COVID-19 Recommended Practices for Construction Jobsites AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter COVID-19 Jobsite PracticesThe Builders’ Association COVID-19 Recommended Best Practices for Construction Jobsites

All of these resources, plus many more, can be found on the AGC website athttps://www.agc.org/coronavirus-covid-19.  Check back often for updates and encourage members to do the same.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Is Signed Into Law and Will Take Effect April 2, 2020

By Anne Knox AverittStephanie C. GastonJohn P. Rodgers & Anne R. Yuengert  – Bradley –  March 19, 2020

POSTED IN COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)FMLA

Wednesday afternoon, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and President Trump signed it into law. The Act contains several provisions that will significantly impact employers with fewer than 500 employees.

If this applies to you, your obligations become effective no later than April 2, 2020–15 days from the date of enactment–and will automatically expire on December 31, 2020. Within seven days (by March 25, 2020), you are required to post a notice informing your employees of their rights under this new law.

Burr & Forman: COVID-19: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Burr partner Matt DeVries has published an ebook addressing COVID-19 and Construction Claims, specifically: (1) the most important legal issues facing contractors in this time of uncertainty; (2) the practical day-to-day issues involving site access, safety, wages, unemployment, and other benefits; (3) tips for documenting impacts and delays related to supply chain interruptions, work stoppages, and labor/material cost increases; and (4) the top ten contract issues in dealing with this pandemic.

You can download a complimentary copy here: Best Practices – COVID19 and Construction Claims, but please subscribe to Matt’s blog: Best Practices Construction Law to receive regular updates and valuable resources.

https://www.burr.com/2020/03/20/complimentary-e-book-best-practices-for-contractors-to-address-covid-19/ .

Capell & howard: COVID 19 return to work information for employers

CDC’s Return to Work Criteria for Health Care Professionals (HCP)

with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19

The only return to work criteria issued by the CDC pertains to Health Care Professionals (HCP).

For purposes of when ill employees can return to work, use the following strategies.

BMSS: Business Accounting Checklist for COVID-19

During this time of upheaval, there are many questions and uncertainties about what the future holds, particulary if you own or run a business. The impacts of COVID-19 will affect all aspects of our lives, both personally and professionally. Below are some areas that we believe will be necessary to address to help you be better prepared for the future. As you go through this checklist, if you need clarification or assistance, please reach out to your BMSS professional.

News Release: Pandemic Has Halted Or Delayed Projects For 28 Percent Of Contractors, Survey Finds; New Senate Relief Bill Will Provide Some Help For Industry

PANDEMIC HAS HALTED OR DELAYED PROJECTS FOR 28 PERCENT OF CONTRACTORS,

SURVEY FINDS; NEW SENATE RELIEF BILL WILL PROVIDE SOME HELP FOR INDUSTRY

 Coronavirus-caused Slowdown Contrasts with January Figures Showing a Majority of Metro Areas Added Construction Jobs; Officials Note New Infrastructure Funding and Paid Family Leave Fixes are Needed

The coronavirus pandemic has caused more than one out of four contractors to halt or delay work on current projects, according to a survey released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The survey results show how quickly market conditions have changed compared to data showing a majority of metro areas added construction jobs through January. Association officials noted that a relief bill the Senate is considering includes some favorable tax and loan provisions. But they said the bill also needs new infrastructure investments and improvements to the new paid sick and family medical leave measures.

Urgent AGC Action Alert

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on construction businesses necessary for building and maintaining critical infrastructure such as that used to transport essential goods and services, deliver clean water and electricity, and protect our national security, among other things.

Tell Congress to take immediate action to:

  1. Enact policies and programs that ensure all construction employers’ cash flows so they can pay workers and maintain their essential operations;

  2. Ensure public construction markets have immediate-term access to additional federal funds to build critical infrastructure; and

  3. Lay the foundation for the long-term recovery of the industry and its markets through enacting multi-year public infrastructure investments.

Click the “Take Action” button below and simply submit the pre-written message as is to your members of Congress or customize it with personal information on how this issue impacts you and your employer.

GOVERNOR IVEY ISSUES STATEWIDE PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER

On March 19, 2020, Governor Kay Ivey issued a state wide Public Health Order that is

effective through April 5, 2020. The Order implements the follow restrictions that may affect your

business:

Willis Towers Watson (WTW) COVID-19 Protocol Safety Sharing Survey

Dear Construction Community Safety Professional

 The health, safety and well-being of you, your families and your companies are always a top priority for us! We are actively monitoring the rapidly changing environment associated with COVID–19 (Coronavirus).  We are committed to serving our construction clients and the construction community. One component is providing shared best practices.  It is our intention to complete this survey process with those willing to participate and then to share what our peers are experiencing and doing.    When you complete the survey you will get a snapshot of the rolling results.   We will provide a full summary of this data once all survey results are tabulated.       
Thank you for sharing your perspective and thank you for your leadership.

CAPELL AND HOWARD COVID-19 SICK EMPLOYEE CALL SCRIPT

This script is intended for an employer or manager to use in the event that an employee or

subordinate calls in sick to work.

Member Coronavirus Survey

Dear Member,

 As part of our broader efforts to track the impacts of the coronavirus on the construction industry and work with federal officials as they craft response measures, AGC of America has created the following very brief survey that we are asking members to complete by noon eastern on Thursday, March 19th.  We intend to send this survey out on a weekly basis for the duration of the coronavirus crisis so we can track the changing impacts of the virus on the economy, on your businesses and this industry.

 Your answers to the survey will allow us to better understand the impacts of the virus on the industry and enable us to better advocate for measures to help the industry weather this storm. 

 In addition, we will regularly post updates about the coronavirus on AGC’s Covid-19 webpage (https://www.agc.org/coronavirus-covid-19) and we urge you to check back there regularly.  We will also send updates as needed electronically, and will hold a free webinar on Friday afternoon (details to come) to share the latest information we have, update everyone on the steps we are taking, and answer – when possible – questions members may have.

 In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have.

Sincerely,

Steve Sandherr


 

 

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Shutting down construction projects is an unnecessary step, will harm economy & undermine recovery efforts, construction officials say 

Construction Firms Are Already Taking Steps to Protect Employees, Most of Whom Already Wear Protective Equipment, While Halting Work Will Undermine Efforts to Add Hospital Capacity

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to steps being taken to put in place arbitrary halts to construction activity in certain parts of the country:

“Halting construction activity will do more harm than good for construction workers, community residents and the economy. Construction firms are already acting to ensure the safety and health of their employees in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. These new measures, which include increased hygiene and halting group gatherings of staff, are in addition to the fact construction workers already wear protective equipment, including gloves that will help protect them and their co-workers. “Given the precautions already in place, halting construction will do little to protect the health and safety of construction workers. But it will go a long way in undermining economic vitality by depriving millions of workers of the wages they will need over the coming days. At the same time, these measures have the potential to bankrupt many construction firms who have contractual obligations to stay on schedule or risk incurring significant financial penalties. “In addition, halting construction projects will undermine ongoing, and future, recovery efforts in regions hit by natural disasters, and will also undermine any future efforts to expand hospital capacity. “We understand the need for social distancing to help slow the spread of coronavirus. But needlessly shutting down projects where workers are already protected will not help. Instead it will threaten the livelihood of millions of craft professionals, force many small and family-owned businesses to shut down, and undermine the nation’s ability to respond to natural disasters, including the coronavirus. “In the unfortunate event construction is halted, we urge construction owners to consider continuing their scheduled payments to contractors as a down payment for work to be completed on the project. These payments will help mitigate some of the potential economic impacts of construction shutdowns.”


 

 

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Technical Corrections to House Bill Significantly Change Previous Provisions Regarding Paid Leave

On March 14, 2020, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6021, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” which contains provisions related to mandatory paid leave for employers with fewer than 500 employees. Since passage, the House has been working on “technical corrections” to the bill prior to sending the bill to the Senate for consideration. The technical corrections were voted on and passed by the full House late in the evening on March 16, 2020.

The technical corrections significantly modify the existing bill. The principal provisions of the bill (as technically corrected) are below:

 

 


AGC of America Resources Page on Coronavirus

AGC of America has developed a resource page dedicated to addressing concerns related to the Coronavirus. This page provides guidance for our members concerning OSHA recordables related to the virus, symptoms of COVID-19, and information on the virus and practices to incorporate. This page is updated daily and is an excellent go-to resource for AGC members. View Resource Pages >


 

 

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Is COVID-19 Compensable Under Workers’ Compensation?

Although COVID-19  (Coronavirus) may be compensable, an employee who tested positive for the flu would have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the virus was caused by the performance of work activities.  Without clear and convincing evidence proving the virus was contracted by work performed, coronavirus may not be compensable under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. Continue Reading About Employer Preparedness for Coronavirus »


 

 


Travelers: Who will Bear the Risk and Cost for Coronvirus Delays? A Contractural Analysis.

As the Coronavirus spreads across the globe, its impact continues to disrupt many industries, including construction.  Over the last twenty years, the construction industry in the United States has substantially increased its reliance on China as a supplier for all types of construction materials including electrical and lighting equipment, elevators and component parts, plumbing fittings and fixtures and HVAC equipment. Read More >


 

 

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Alabama workers impacted by coronavirus can file for unemployment benefits

Alabama workers impacted by coronavirus can file for unemployment benefits Updated: 9:21 PM CDT Mar 16, 2020 WVTM 13 Digital MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington on Monday announced that workers in the state who are not able to work due to the coronavirus outbreak will be eligible to file for unemployment benefits. Based on current guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Department of Labor is modifying existing unemployment compensation rules to allow workers to file a claim for unemployment compensation benefits who are affected in any of the following way: Advertisement Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns Those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 Or, those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19. The requirement that a laid-off worker be “able and available” to work while receiving unemployment compensation benefits has been modified for claimants who are affected by COVID-19 in any of the situations listed above. Additionally, claimants will also not have to search for other work provided they take reasonable steps to preserve their ability to come back to that job when the quarantine is lifted or the illness subsides. The waiting week, which is typically the first week of compensable benefits, will also be waived. Certain criteria and exceptions may apply, and are subject to change. Verification of illness or quarantine may be required. Workers can file for benefits online beginning March 23, 2020, at www.labor.alabama.gov or by calling 1-866-234-5382. Online filing is encouraged. WHO ISN’T ELIGIBLE People who are being paid to work from home, or those receiving paid sick or vacation leave are NOT eligible for unemployment compensation benefits, regardless if they experience any or all of the situations listed above. Employers who decide to shut down due to coronavirus concerns should treat the shutdown as a temporary layoff. These rules are subject to change pending Congressional action.


JDSupra: Construction Moving Projects Forward in the Face of the Covid-19 Coronavirus

Where we are. Though most cases are mild, the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases worldwide has now passed 115,000. The World Health Organization has called the coronavirus a pandemic. Last night, on a live broadcast, the President announced certain new travel restrictions from continental Europe for 30 days. Cities and schools are counting on the benefits of social distancing to keep the spread low; and reflecting such, classes are canceled and staff are being told to work from home.


 

 

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There is increased pressure by federal, state and local governments to minimize gatherings. Many businesses encourage telecommuting in situations such as this. However, that is not feasible on a construction project. Commercial lenders are concerned about the impact that the downturn in the economy has had on the viability of projects already under construction for which they have agreed to lend money. There has been interruption in many supply chains, including that of building components necessary for construction to occur. Manufacturers are having to take precautions within their industrial facilities, which in turn will slow delivery times. Delays on construction projects are inevitable


OSHA Revises Coronavirus Reporting Requirement after AGC Intervention; Reporting Required in Limited Circumstance where there is Evidence Employee Contracted the Virus at Place of Work

On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provided guidance requiring the recording and reporting of workplace exposures to COVID-19. That guidance did not take into account: the logistical nightmare employers would face to determine where someone contracted the virus—workplace or elsewhere—just as with a non-recordable occurrence of a worker contracting the common cold or influenza at the workplace; the impact this very broad policy could have on workers’ compensation plans; and the impact on contractors’ safety ratings for insurance and owner requirements. 


6 ways the coronavirus outbreak will affect construction 

Three words stand out to construction attorney Steve Lesser when thinking about how U.S. contractors should react to the negative effects of the global coronavirus pandemic: Wait and see.

Lesser, the chair of Becker’s construction law practice, said he thinks the best thing for contractors to do is nothing at all, as the fallout from the effects of COVID-19 on the U.S. is far from complete and no one can predict its full impact. Read More >


Construction alert – Do I get a change order for COVID-19 issues? 

While the world swirls in coronavirus-inspired confusion, you have jobs to build. This short LawHelp email is intended to help you do that better, faster, cheaper, and from where you are today. 

There is little question that COVID-19 presents some form of changed condition for most construction projects. The bigger and more interesting question is how you might use the disruption strategically under your contract. There are three main issues to consider when giving notice-which you should consider doing on every project you have, regardless of the stage or status, TODAY. (Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know right now.) Read More >