Free Advice and Articles on Coronavirus/COVID-19 for Employers from NIA Legal Counsel
We would like to share several resources for employers related to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from NIA Legal Counsel, Gary Auman of Auman, Mahan & Furry.
September 9, 2021, Administration Announcement of COVID-19 ETS Update
On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced that The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. In addition, OSHA is developing a rule that will require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated or to recover if they suffer adverse side-effects post-vaccination. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement these requirements. It is estimated that these requirements will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses.
The ETS is not yet available, and the President did not give an expected timeline for publication. The White House has indicated that federal workers will have 75 days to get the COVID-19 vaccine under President Biden’s executive order and this may provide a glimpse into the timeline we can expect for private sector employees.
Several states and businesses have indicated that they intend to file legal challenges to the ETS. In addition, we expect the EEOC to provide guidance relating to how religious and medical exemptions will interact with the ETS. We are monitoring for developments and will provide an update when additional information becomes available.
NIA Legal Counsel Shares COVID-19 Employee Safety Checklist Guidance
To assist you in working with your employees and site supervisors, Gary Auman has created checklists for employees that site supervisors can use as a toolbox talk and bullet-point lists you can distribute to all employees (one for jobsites and a different one for office staff). Not only should the checklist be used to train field and office employees, but we also suggest that the checklist be posted on each jobsite as a reminder to all employees.
October 2020 Update: OSHA State Plan States amid COVID-19
If you perform work in an OSHA State Plan state, remember the rules in that state govern the work you perform, even if your company is based in a different State Plan state or a state where safety is governed by federal OSHA. For example, Virginia has adopted a very detailed Emergency Temporary Standard for employee exposures to COVID-19. Other State Plan states have either adopted emergency guidance or are in the process of adopting emergency temporary standards. Be aware that guidance in a State Plan state, if more strict than the guidance relied on by federal OSHA to protect employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, will govern all employers working in that state no matter what the guidance or rules are in the state in which the employer is based. Also, if you are going work in a State Plan state, familiarize yourself with the state’s safety standards that will govern your work, as well as the procedures established in that state for challenging any citations you may receive there.
August 31, 2020 Update: Childcare-Related Leave Under the FFCRA
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced its position on three questions regarding schools and employees’ leave eligibility under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The answers are important, and some may surprise you. Most notably, the DOL’s position is that employees who have chosen remote learning for their children, when given a choice between that and in-person school, are NOT eligible for paid FFCRA leave. The DOL’s reasoning is that these children’s schools were not “closed” due to COVID-19-related reasons; they were open for the children to attend. This is significant because if these employees are not eligible for paid FFCRA leave, then employers also would not be eligible for tax credits if they provide the paid leave to an ineligible employee.
The DOL announced this and other positions as part of three new Q&As that the DOL posted to its FFCRA Q&A website on August 27, 2020. The Q&As are pasted below for your convenience, and the full list of Q&As can be accessed here. As a reminder, employees who ARE eligible for childcare-related leave under the FFCRA can receive 2/3 pay for up to 12 weeks, subject to statutory caps. Employers then become eligible for and can apply for certain tax credits based on having provided the paid leave to eligible employees.
- Effective May 26, 2020, New OSHA Enforcement of Recordkeeping Requirements
- April 3 Article: Read the full update.
- March 18, 2020: Coronavirus Response for Employers—Next Steps and New Questions
- March 11, 2020: Coronavirus Response for Employers
- March 11, 2020: Safety News Alert: Coronavirus
Free Call with NIA's Legal Counsel to Discuss Your COVID-19 Questions
Auman, Mahan & Furry's Labor and Employment Group is offering a free 30-minute call on COVID-19 for NIA member companies. Get your questions answered by calling Auman, Mahan & Furry at 937-223-6003.
COVID-19 Ongoing Survey Efforts to Measure Impact on Insulation Companies
The associations representing the insulation industry have been are surveying contractors to gain insights on how COVID-19 is impacting our industry. Due to the fluidity of this situation, and how much changes from day to day, and week to week, some questions will be repeated in each survey so that we can monitor the changes our members are experiencing. We appreciate your participation in them.
See the December 2020 Commercial and Industrial Insulation Contractor Survey, and Residential and Light Commercial Insulation Contractor Survey results.
See how other companies are being impacted by viewing the past 2020 survey results: March 25, April 4, April 17 Commercial and Mechanical, April 17 Residential, May 22 Residential and Light Commercial Insulation, May 22 Commercial and Industrial Insulation, August 7 Commercial and Industrial Insulation, August 7 Residential and Light Commercial.
As of December 2, 2020, the CDC has changed the length of time it recommends a person quarantine if exposed to COVID-19. Read more here.
NIA Free COVID-19 Business Management Webinars
NIA is now hosting webinars on business topics that will help navigate the stimulus packages, new regulations, working remotely, and more. After the initial presentation, webinars are archived online so that you can watch them at your convenience. Visit our webinar web page or scroll to the bottom of this page for the topics.
Advocacy: NIA is Working on Your Behalf
NIA has been advocating for the insulation industry on your behalf during this very difficult time. Below is a listing of recent activities and calls to action.
February 26, 2021: NIA advocated for small businesses in support of the Main Street Tax Certainty Act of 2021, to make permanent the Section 199A 20% deduction for qualified business income. This bipartisan legislation will help ensure permanent tax parity for the millions of employers organized as S corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. It will also provide certainty to the countless businesses who have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
July 17: NIA urged the U.S. Senate Finance Committee leadership to consider proposals for new refundable tax credits covering 30% of home and business improvement expenses as a necessary step to stimulate the economy and help get Americans back to work by investing in our homes and businesses.
May 1: NIA partnered with 53 other construction industry organizations to sign and send letters to Congress and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support additional federal resources for virtual capabilities for code departments.
In spring 2020, NIA's Congressional Fly-In Became a Call-In: NIA and industry members advocated for the industry, especially regarding stimulus packages and their needs during COVID-19. At this critical time, members of Congress heard how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting your business and our industry. Click here to visit the Insulation Industry National Policy Conference web page.
March 30: Write a Letter to Congress. If you would also like to advocate for yourself, we have drafted a letter for you to personalize and send to your members of Congress. Click here to download a letter to personalize.
March 23: NIA urged modifications to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce so that insulation industry manufacturers and installers are deemed essential as part of this nation’s critical manufacturing and public works infrastructure.
Free Recorded Webinars
NIA has offered webinars for free to members, reaching more than 2,000 people. Watch them at your convenience to learn about the latest COVID-19 updates regarding OSHA, employment law, stimulus updates, and possible new revenue streams.
- Key Strategies for Retaining Talent during COVID-19
- COVID-19: What Employers Need to Know Heading Into 2021
- Managing Customer Expectations and Business Recovery
- Part 2: New Challenges and Solutions for Contractors
- Top Tips to Strengthen Your Strategic Relationships during COVID-19
- Part 1: How Construction Owners Are Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis
- Investment Strategies and Stock Market
- OSHA Alliance Webinar on Construction Safety for the Insulation and Construction Industry During COVID-19
- Economist’s Outlook during COVID-19
- Sales Strategies during Uncertain Times
- Supply Chain Disruptions: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Trucking Industry
- Addressing Safety Matters Amid COVID-19—A Panel Discussion
- Effective Crisis Communications for Business Leaders
- Now & Next: COVID: Contracts, Labor & Safety
- Pandemic Politics: How Washington Will Respond to the Coronavirus Crisis
- Part 2: Contractors Panel Discussion on Construction Challenges and Opportunities Amid COVID-19
- Part 1: Contractors Panel Discussion on Construction Challenges and Opportunities Amid COVID-19
- Engineering and Construction Economic Outlook in the COVID-19 Environment
- Best Practices for Working Remotely
- Coronavirus—What Construction Industry Employers Need to Know, Part 1
- COVID-19 Stimulus—What Every Construction Employer Needs to Know, Part 2
See what the new webinars will be and register.
Access the Latest Information from CDC and OSHA
- Click here to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website
- Click here to visit the OSHA COVID-19 webpage
- Click here to download the OSHA's poster on guidance for the construction workforce
- Click here to download the OSHA poster for manufacturing guidance
- Guidance on PPE use from FEMA
- OSHA quick safety videos for COVID-19
Other Helpful Construction-Based Resources
- Society for Human Resource Management offers COVID-19 HR resources, including information on furloughs, pay cuts, and layoffs.
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Virtual Training during Workplace Distancing
Vimeo On-Demand Training Portal
NIA's Archived Educational Webinar Series are free for NIA members and can be accessed through NIA's Vimeo on Demand Training Portal. NIA’s popular Mechanical Insulation Installation Video Series (English and Spanish) is also available for streaming via Vimeo. Click here to view NIA's On-Demand Training Portal.
NIA's Educational Center
NIA and our partners have created a variety of training and educational resources for the industry. Click here to learn more.