Coronavirus (COVID-19)

DOL Issues More Guidance on Emergency Paid Leave Requirements

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.

Jimmy Christianson
Vice President, Government Relations
The Associated General Contractors of America
2300 Wilson Blvd Ste 300
Arlington, VA 22201
www.agc.org

Phone: (703) 837-5325
Email: jimmy.christianson@agc.org


A Note from AGC of America CEO Stephen E. Sandherr
 Subject: To Continue to Operate, You Must Continue to Operate Safely

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.

 

Hub International Construction Risk Management COVID-19

Update from AGC National - Final Letter/Act Attached

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. 

Before I sign off for the night, I want to thank everyone who has been working on the AGCA GR team for the better part of three weeks—days, nights and weekends—many of whom have families with small children and apparently extremely understanding spouses. Since before we left for the National Convention the week of March 9, these folks have been working at full tilt to help our members and chapters at every turn on the unfortunate crisis our industry and nation faces. Thank you (and you are not done yet 😉). 

Lastly, I want to thank you all at the chapters. You have also done some amazing things over the last several weeks for your members. And, from everything we hear, they appreciate it and so do we at AGCA. 

Jimmy 

Governor of Mississippi Executive Order - March 24, 2020

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.  

The most important document is the Q&A one.

In response to some national permitting and inspection issues, Bob requested the current policy at the bureau of buildings.  It is listed below.  Be Safe!

 
The Bureau of Building continues to work. Most of our project managers are working remotely. We would encourage contractors to use tele meetings where possible and abide by CDC guidelines with limiting groups to 10 or less.  We've moved our bid openings to Room 145, ground floor so no one is required to come up the elevators. We are establishing call-in-tele-meeting numbers so those who are interested can call into bid openings to hear proceedings.

Also we can receive documents that are dropped off at the ground floor security desks.

Accounting is also considered essential and continues to work with limited staff.

We'll continue in this mode of operation until instructed otherwise.

 Thanks,

 Calvin R. Sibley AIA

 Director

 Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management

 Department of Finance and Administration

 Calvin.Sibley@dfa.ms.gov

 601-359-3894 Office 601-826-8793 Mobile

 -----------------------------------

 501 North West Street, Suite 1401B

 Jackson, MS 39201

 

Governor Cuomo has issued guidance on essential services and businesses under his “New York State on PAUSE” Executive Order, which requires non-essential businesses to close in-office functions effective 8pm Sunday. 

The Governor’s order declares construction as “essential” and updated guidance posted by Empire State Development further states that “essential businesses or entities, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure, are not subject to the in-person restriction.”

Guidance on essential services states:

 “Construction, Including:

  • skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers 
  • other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes”

The language in the original guidance has generated a great deal of questions and uncertainty from the industry and membership.  AGC NYS sought to have the guidance for the Executive Order clarified to definitively answer these questions.  We are advised that individual agencies are providing guidance and direction to contractors on how to proceed. 

NYSDOT issued a document stating that, “the Executive Order provides that essential businesses and services not subject to the in- person restrictions include transportation infrastructure including vendors that provide essential services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government. The Department is continuing implementation of its capital program as an essential government function and will continue to let and construct projects. The companies awarded such contracts including subcontractors, suppliers, vendors and specialty firms are all exempt for work to support the capital program.”

The MTA has subsequently issued similar guidance, as well as the Thruway Authority

We have requested that other construction agencies provide guidance to contractors in similar fashion.

We are advised and hearing from members that the MTA, State University Construction Fund, Thruway Authority, DASNY and other public agencies are directing contractors to proceed with work.

At this time, we are continuing to seek additional clarification about how Governor’s Executive Order applies to local government and private construction as well, but believe in the absence of delineation or limitation of “construction” in the issued ESD Guidance, that a reasonable reading of the Executive Order gives a contractor or construction-related firm a basis to affirm that they are exempt from the in-person restrictions.  There are conflicting reports about particular private projects being told to proceed, while others are apparently being directed to stop work.

We also advise that contractors on such projects should communicate closely with their owners on these matters, as there is continuing confusion and conflicting information on these matters. 

We understand that in some project-specific instances, ESD Regional Directors have been able to provide clarity by deeming individual projects “essential.”  You can find the list of ESD Regional Directors at this link.

In all cases, contractors and related firms should be following all relevant public health guidelines and reducing density wherever possible to take all precautions against the spread and transmission of COVID-19.  Additional information and resources can be found on our AGC NYS COVID-19 Resources Page, which is being updated regularly.

We will continue to communicate to the membership if/when additional details or clarification becomes available.

  

For Immediate Release: 3/20/2020

GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

 

GOVERNOR CUOMO ISSUES GUIDANCE ON ESSENTIAL SERVICES UNDER THE 'NEW YORK STATE ON PAUSE' EXECUTIVE ORDER  

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced he is signing the "New York State on PAUSE" executive order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone. It includes a new directive that all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22. Guidance on essential services under the executive order is as follows:

ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES OR ENTITIES, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure, are not subject to the in-person restriction.

(Essential Businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health).

This guidance is issued by the New York State Department of Economic Development d/b/a Empire State Development and applies to each business location individually and is intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business and steps to request such designation. With respect to business or entities that operate or provide both essential and non-essential services, supplies or support, only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the restrictions. 

For purposes of Executive Order 202.6, "Essential Business," means:

 

  1. Essential Health Care Operations, Including:
  • research and laboratory services
  • hospitals
  • walk-in-care health facilities
  • emergency veterinary and livestock services
  • elder care
  • medical wholesale and distribution
  • home health care workers or aides for the elderly
  • doctor and emergency dental
  • nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
  • medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers

  1. Essential Infrastructure, Including:
  • utilities including power generation, fuel supply and transmission
  • public water and wastewater
  • telecommunications and data centers
  • airports/airlines
  • transportation infrastructure such as bus, rail, or for-hire vehicles, garages
  • hotels, and places of accommodation

 

  1. Essential Manufacturing, Including:
  • food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
  • chemicals
  • medical equipment/instruments
  • pharmaceuticals
  • sanitary products
  • telecommunications
  • microelectronics/semi-conductor
  • agriculture/farms
  • household paper products

 

  1. Essential Retail, Including:
  • grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
  • pharmacies
  • convenience stores
  • farmer's markets
  • gas stations
  • restaurants/bars (but only for take-out/delivery)
  • hardware and building material stores

 

  1. Essential Services, Including:
  • trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal
  • mail and shipping services
  • laundromats
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • child care services
  • auto repair
  • warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
  • funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • storage for essential businesses
  • animal shelters

 

  1. News Media

  2. Financial Institutions, Including:
  • banks
  • insurance
  • payroll
  • accounting
  • services related to financial markets

 

  1. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, Including:
  • homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
  • food banks
  • human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support

  1. Construction, Including:
  • skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers 
  • other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes

 

  1. Defense
  • defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government

 

  1. Essential Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses, Including:
  • law enforcement
  • fire prevention and response
  • building code enforcement
  • security
  • emergency management and response
  • building cleaners or janitors
  • general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
  • automotive repair
  • disinfection

 

  1. Vendors that Provide Essential Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:
  • logistics
  • technology support for online services
  • child care programs and services
  • government owned or leased buildings
  • essential government services

 

If the function of your business is not listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business.

Houses of worship are not ordered closed however it is strongly recommended no congregate services be held and social distance maintained. 

Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should only be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

To request designation as an essential business, please click here.

Restrictions on requesting designation as an essential business:

  • Any business that only has a single occupant/employee (i.e. gas station) has been deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an essential business.
  • Businesses ordered to close on Monday, March 15, 2020 under the restrictions on any gathering with 50 or more participants, including but not limited to, bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, casinos, auditoriums, concerts, conferences, worship services, sporting events, and physical fitness centers, are presumed to be compliant with NYS issued restrictions and must remain closed and are not eligible for designation as an essential business for purposes of this guidance. 

 

For Guidance on cleaning and disinfection of facilities, refer to the New York State Department of Health Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID -19 at: 

http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/docs/cleaning_guidance _general_building.pdf.

For further information: New York State Department of Health's COVID-19 Webpage https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Webpage:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

 

Local health department contact information can be found at: https://www.health.ny.gov/contact/contact_information/index.htm

Governor Tate Reeves requested a disaster declaration by the U.S. Small Business Administration on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

This request will provide low-interest, Economic Injury Disaster Loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

You must provide the request to your county emergency management agency. You can find your county EMA contact information at this link https://www.msema.org/county-ema/. Your county emergency management agency should then submit to the MEMA State Coordinating Officer, Todd DeMuth, at tdemuth@mema.ms.gov. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will then hand over to the Small Business Administration.

“Our county emergency management directors are working tirelessly with our small businesses across the state to ensure they suffer as little as possible during this pandemic. We urge small businesses to work quickly and efficiently to turn in their paperwork to our agency,” says MEMA Director Greg Michel.

The links below will take you to the required worksheet and instructions.

Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet

How to Request a SBA EIDL Declaration_Updated_03_11_2020 original

Derek Easley
President & CEO, BIPEC
Office – 601-353-4941
Cell – 601-259-7689
derek@bipec.org
www.bipec.org
Business and Industry Political Education Committee
825 N. President Street
PO Box 23021
Jackson, MS 39225-3021

NEW! AGC Survey of State DOT Response to COVID-19

AGC chapters report that generally speaking most state DOT construction programs are moving ahead as scheduled and are not directly impacted by COVID-19 related shutdowns. Many state office personnel are telecommuting but, in most states, construction inspectors are considered essential and, therefore, are reporting to work and visiting on-going projects.

Read more

NEW! Defense and Civilian Agencies Respond to AGC's Request for Guidance for Direct Federal Contractors

USACE, GSA, and others provide guidance and planning for potential contract impacts due COVID-19. To read more, please click here.

COVID-19 Recommended Practices for Construction Jobsites

  • Personal Responsibilities
  • Social Distancing
  • Jobsite / Office Practices
  • Managing Sick Employees
  • Government Resources
  • Vendor Resources

For detailed practices, click here.

OSHA Provides Guidance on Recording Workplace Exposures to COVID-19 

OSHA recordkeeping requirements at 29 CFR Part 1904(link is external) mandate covered employers record certain work-related injuries and illnesses on their OSHA 300 log.

COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. However, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following are met:

  1. The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (see CDC information(link is external) on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19);

  2. The case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5(link is external); and

  3. The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7(link is external) (e.g. medical treatment beyond first-aid, days away from work).

For more information, click here.

 

AGC Opposes House-Passed Paid Leave Proposal

In a March 16, 2020 letter to the Senate, AGC stressed the need to address the 14 weeks of employer-fronted paid leave mandated under the House-passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and to offer workable solutions.

AGC cannot support a Senate product that includes this House-passed proposal in H.R. 6201 and reserves the right to record the vote on legislation including such a proposal as an AGC “Key Vote” for the education of its membership.

To read the complete letter, click here. Tell Your U.S. Senators to Oppose Employer-Fronted Paid Leave Mandate here(link is external).

AGC has assembled general guidance and links to information from our federal agency partners and health organizations. AGC will continue to monitor the situation and update the information on this page accordingly.

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV(link is external)SARS-CoV(link is external), and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2). The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person in China and some limited person-to-person transmission has been reported in countries outside China, including the United States. However, respiratory illnesses like seasonal flu, are currently widespread in many US communities.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure*:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

*This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS(link is external)-CoV viruses.

Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or onging community spread of COVID-19(link is external).

What Should Employers Do?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging businesses to begin preparations for the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States. In order to assist you in these preparations, you are encouraged to take the following steps:

  • Follow the CDC recommendations for employers: 
    • Employer Guidance: PREPARE NOW(link is external).
    • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene by all employees.
    • Perform routine environmental cleaning.
    • Update your absenteeism policy and communicate the requirements.
    • Update your work from home policy and communicate the requirements.
  • Planning Considerations
    • Prepare for increased absenteeism
      • Cross train employees to handle other functions
      • Encourage employees to develop contingency plans for child care in the event there are long term closures of schools and day care centers
    • Prepare for business interruption
      • Identify alternative suppliers
      • Prioritize certain customers
      • Prepare to shut down certain functions

Additional Resources

The information on this page was updated on March 18, 2020. 

 

Industry Priorities: