MEMBER FORUM RECAP
On Wednesady, April 22 IECRM held its weekly Member Forum that explored the issues related to reopening our economy and the next steps for electrical contractors to be thinking about. Click here to view the live recording
Subject Matter Experts joining the forum were:
Pete A Aden, CPA, CCIFP
Attorney at Law
Fisher & Phillips, LLP
John Crawmer, CHST, CIT, STS
Safety Services Supervisor
Safety on Call 888.501.4752
Weifield Group Contracting
- The big news this week is everyone’s excitement or concerns about re-opening businesses and adjusting to “next”
- Colorado defines these phases as Response (where we are), Stabilization (where we are going), and Recovery
- Updates to policies for return to work and stay at home
- New Federal Guidance on SBA PPP and other loan programs
- Tax treatment of Federal COVID-19 Relief
- New COVID updates and impacts to benefits, paid time off, and leave considerations
- OSHA & CDC new workplace safety protocols
- Communication and adaptation to a new company culture
Contractor Top of Mind Issues
- Managing revenue and projects
- Work plans
- How OSHA is looking at job sites
- Jobsite closures
- Retaining workers
- Reviewing how teams interact and work together in new settings
- Continuing social distancing
- Fisher Phillips has published comprehensive guidance for business recovery including assessing business operations, bringing employees back to work, and ensuring a safe workplace.
- The time is now to begin thinking about these next steps as they come with a whole new set of labor and employment challenges.
OSHA & CDC new workplace safety protocols
- Do a workplace risk assessment; follow the multi-industry construction guidance published by the CDEPHE; Pinnacol is conducting free safety assessments for companies. //drive.google.com/file/d/1pMbMK8-bHLjmithMj51rOg6CmZwEI0nV/view
- Here are considerations that all Colorado employers should be aware of as they send their teams out into the field. //www.pinnacol.com/blog/protecting-field-crews-from-coronavirus
- What constitutes an employee’s right to refuse to work //www.osha.gov/right-to-refuse.html
- An employees’ right to refuse to do a task is protected if all of the following conditions are met:
- Where possible, he/she have asked the employer to eliminate the danger, and the employer failed to do so; and
- He/she refused to work in “good faith.” This means that he/she must genuinely believe that an imminent danger exists; and
- A reasonable person would agree that there is a real danger of death or serious injury; and
- There isn’t enough time, due to the urgency of the hazard, to get it corrected through regular enforcement channels, such as requesting an OSHA inspection.
- He/she should take the following steps:
- Ask your employer to correct the hazard, or to assign other work;
- Tell your employer that you won’t perform the work unless and until the hazard is corrected; and
- Remain at the worksite until ordered to leave by your employer
New Federal Guidance on PPP and other loan programs
- Rules and provisions for COVID-19 stimulus packages are rapidly evolving, and the measures and interpretations described here may change. This analysis represents the best interpretation and recommendations based on where things currently stand.
- April 3, 2020: The Small Business Administration (SBA) released a supplemental Interim Final Rule (IFR) and a supporting guidance document for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
- April 13, 2020: The Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Treasury have once again updated their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), revising their April 6 guidance for borrowers and lenders. The SBA has made it clear that the U.S. government will not challenge actions by lenders that conform to the Interim Final Rule, supporting guidance, and FAQ document.
- Find an additional update of the most recent National Law Review (NLR) summary, incorporating new information provided in the SBA FAQs, as updated through April 10, 2020. Updates to NLR April 6 summary are in bold. This is not a complete analysis of the new guidance but addresses some of the questions businesses have been asking. //www.natlawreview.com/article/covid-19-federal-sba-issues-guidance-paycheck-protection-program-update-4132020
- Both the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provide financial relief to businesses that retain employees. Unfortunately, you can’t take advantage of both. You have to choose.
- The Employee Retention Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit that operates as an alternative to PPP loans – or relief to companies that don’t qualify for SBA programs. The credit works by letting a business recover 50 percent of the wages paid to an employee (up to $5,000), which can then be deducted against the employer portion of social security taxes, under 26 USC 3111(a). A business, however, cannot take the tax credit if it has already received a PPP loan. The programs compensate for the same things.
- Since this program operates as a refundable tax credit and not an “advance,” it will not be taxable as income at the federal or state levels in future tax years. It merely affects the dealer’s tax liability for the tax year 2020. The impact should be limited to this year.
Changing Corporate Culture, Communication, Psychological Safety
- Pinnacol Assurance, “Creating psychological safety for your employees” Quick-read post: //www.pinnacol.com/blog/creating-psychological-safety-for-your-employees
- Communications to support a culture of TRUST. It’s important to ensure a clear message from the top-down, here are some thoughts to keep it consistent and authentic:
- Create a communications message and be sure to nuance it to the rest of the organization.
- Start with the senior leadership team and make sure you cascade the message to the entire organization so that the message is consistent across the board and appropriate for all employees.
- Stress your company’s values and mission, especially around safety, health, and security at this time as transparently as you can to support a culture of trust.
- Make sure that jobs are clearly defined.
- The logic of “WHY” (why, what, how): use the “why” question in crafting your organizational message and consider running it through the following questions and also answer the question everyone is thinking about, “How does this affect or impact me?”
- Why are we changing?
- Why are we changing now?
- What is changing?
- What is not changing?
- What is the risk of not changing?
- How are we going to accomplish all of this?
- How does this affect or impact me?
Time and Stress Management: Stephanie has an audio version of her book “Own Your Time” that provides practical concise skills for business professionals to become more productive, reduce stress, increase profits, and have a more balanced life.
Leaders should especially find a way to manage their own levels of stress so that they can be best for employees.
NOTE TO CONTRACTORS:
What additional questions do you have? Are there questions that you would like to ask DORA about licensure and inspection challenges in the midst of COVID-19? Send them to Marilyn at email@example.com