January 11, 2021
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DOL Publishes Guidance on FFCRA Paid Leave Expiration
Tax Credits for Voluntarily Providing Leave Temporarily Extended


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements expired on December 31, 2020. Following is the news story concerning the latest U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) guidance as to what this means moving forward. We will inform you of any new updates from DOL on this matter.

Meanwhile, Congress extended until March 31 the FFCRA employer-tax credits for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave voluntarily provided to employees. To date the IRS has not provided an update on its guidance, as it is reasonable to wonder if these tax credits could cover state or local mandated paid leave requirements. We will also update OCA members, should the IRS provide guidance.

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 OCA resources on FFCRA and other coronavirus-related matters of significance to construction employers, visit OCA’s website at www.ohiocontractors.org


News
   
USER SAFETY NOTICE

Latchways Standard Self-Retracting Lifeline
"Dear MSA Fall Protection Customer, MSA is issuing this User Safety Notice to inform you that MSA has received field reports of a limited number of Latchways Standard Self-Retracting Lifelines (SRL) in which some internal bolts came loose. MSA has not received any reports of injuries associated with this condition. However, we are requesting that you perform the actions outlined in this notice. Over time, the loose bolts will be identifiable by the user as extraction of the cable from the SRL housing will no longer be possible. However, MSA’s investigation has determined that this may be preceded by a window of time in which a fall may not be arrested."

- MSA

To view the user safety notice and check your equipment click the link below.
 


DOL Finalizes Independent Contractor Classification Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a final rule clarifying the standard for employee versus independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule takes effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, on March 8, 2021, however, AGC expects the incoming Biden administration to reexamine the rule prior to it becoming effective.

The final rule includes the following clarifications:

• Reaffirms an “economic reality” test to determine whether an individual is in business for him or herself (independent contractor) or is economically dependent on a potential employer for work (FLSA employee).

• Identifies and explains two “core factors” that are most probative to the question of whether a worker is economically dependent on someone else’s business or is in business for him or herself:
          » The nature and degree of control over the work.
          » The worker’s opportunity for profit or loss based on initiative and/or investment.

• Identifies three other factors that may serve as additional guideposts in the analysis, particularly when the two core factors do not point to the same classification. The factors are:
          » The amount of skill required for the work.
          » The degree of permanence of the working relationship between the worker and the potential employer.
          » Whether the work is part of an integrated unit of production.

• The actual practice of the worker and the potential employer is more relevant than what may be contractually or theoretically possible.

• Provides six fact-specific examples applying the factors.

OCA will be evaluating the new rule with its Labor Counsel and will provide additional clarification and insight to the membership in future articles. If you have any questions about the rule in the interim, please contact Mark Potnick in the OCA office.



Workers' Compensation Rate Cut

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced on January 5 that Ohio’s public employers will pay $14.8 million less in premiums this year thanks to a rate reduction from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation that went into effect January 1.

The rate cut means approximately 3,700 counties, cities, public schools, and other public taxing districts will pay an average of 10 percent less on their annual premiums than in calendar year 2020. The reduction, made possible by declining injury trends and relatively low medical inflation costs, is the twelfth cut for public employers since 2009 and follows a 10 percent cut in 2020.


OOD to Host Training Series for Employers on Supporting Employees with Disabilities and Accessible Work Environments

Ohio was established two years ago, by Executive Order, as a Disability Inclusion State and Model Employer of Individuals with Disabilities.

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) is honoring the Executive Order’s second anniversary by hosting “The Employers’ ADA Handbook,” a five-part series to help employers navigate Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

OCA Member Firms that would like more information about the series, including the link to join the webinar programs, may find it here.

Ohio's Transportation Future, Launched
ODOT and Partners Prepare for Mobility Needs of 2045

From connected and self-driving vehicles to shared mobility services for those who cannot or do not want to drive, the year 2045 will look much different than 2020. Ohio's long-range transportation plan, called Access Ohio 2045, prepares for that rapid transformation in travel.

ODOT, local governments, associations, private businesses and residents across the state partnered to produce the Plan. Its vision is that all Ohio will be connected by a safe, smart and collaborative transportation system that moves people and freight efficiently and reliably and supports community visions.

Expect to hear more about Access Ohio 2045 as we begin implementing the 13 strategies and related initiatives locally.

Prompt Payment Report Now Available on ODOT'S Website

In a recent Notice to Industry, ODOT has made available a new way to easily view information about the subcontractor/supplier/ trucking firm payment records they have entered into the AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & Labor (CRL) system. For more information, click here.

ODOT Announces Fiscal Year 2022 "Locked" Program

Recently ODOT shared the 2022 “locked” program with OCA, in which the districts commit to dates to file and sell projects from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. For an Excel file of the projects, click here. If you have any questions, contact Chris Engle.

ODOT Prime Contractor Trucking Update - January 12, 2021

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will host a webinar for prime contractors to discuss important trucking topics including:

          • Updates to Proposal Note (PN) 7
          • Roles and responsibilities of ODOT, prime contractors, and trucking firms
          • Other Updates

Please join session to learn more regarding impending changes and updates.

You may register today at: https://industrytruckinginformational.eventbrite.com

Please note: this session will be held via Microsoft Teams. An event link will be sent to all registrants prior to the start of the event.

For more information, click here. If you have any additional questions regarding this webinar, feel free to contact: Juleda Stoltz, Juleda.stoltz@dot.ohio.gov; 513-933-6562.



The Ohio Contractors Association and Laborers' District Council of Ohio would like to invite Ashtabula, Youngstown and Warren Ohio Chapter Contractors to a unique webinar, scheduled for Tuesday, January 19th at 9:00 a.m.

During the hour-long webinar, contractors will receive vital information to enable your business to win more projects.

Here's what you can expect to learn from this session:

* Laborers' Health & Safety Fund
* Fair Contracting Staff
* Apprenticeship Standards and Recruitment
* Training and Upgrading Opportunities
* Health and Pension Benefits Available

Click here for a program flyer and registration link. Please contact Vince Irvin at 740-504-2707 with any questions about the virtual program.


Several OCA Chapter Scholarships Currently Available

OCA’s nine Chapters award scholarships at various times of the year throughout the state, totaling nearly $30,000. Scholarships typically range from $1,000 to $2,500 per award. Currently, five OCA Chapters are accepting scholarship applications. Students pursuing construction-related careers in Ohio’s heavy highway industry are encouraged to apply.

Current chapter scholarship applications available are:

Akron-Canton Chapter – click here for the application

Eastern Ohio Chapter – click here for the application

Toledo Chapter – click here for the application

Southwest Chapter - click here for the application 

Columbus Chapter - click here for the application

Please help us get this information out to our future workforce! If you know of students working or going to school in any of the above chapter areas that would benefit, please pass this information along. For more information about OCA Chapter Scholarships, please contact Director of Chapter Development Melanie Kitchen at mkitchen@ohiocontractors.org
                                     

On behalf of ODOT’s Division of Construction Management and Office of Roadway Engineering, registration is currently open for the following sessions of Worksite Traffic Supervisor (WTS) Prequalification Testing. 

• February 2 – Morning     » Click here to register.

• February 2 – Afternoon  » Click here to register.

• March 2 – Morning         » Click here to register.

• March 2 – Afternoon      » Click here to register.

Click here to access the PDF flyer.

Prerequisites – Do not register for WTS Prequalification testing until the prerequisites have been completed. Please see the online registration form and flyer for details.

Pre-registration is required for WTS Testing. Seating capacity is limited for each session, based on social distancing requirements due to COVID-19. Please review the important updates and safety protocols as described per the links above.
                                     

Quick Links to On-line OCA Resources

•   Current Ohio Contractor Magazine
•   Safety Resources
•   Labor & Employment Information
•   OCA President's Commentary
 



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