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

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.

AGC of GM and AGC of WI – COVID 19 Documents

The AGC of Greater Milwaukee and the AGC of Wisconsin have been in joint conference calls regarding the current situation in Wisconsin as it pertains to COVID-19. Some of you have participated in these discussions. In order to assist contractors in their efforts to keep their people safe, here are the latest documents that the group has produced.

Please review them and let me know if you have anything that you can offer.

These documents are for guidance. Each contractor must develop their own policy on how they want to handle the situation.

AGC, Others, Push OSHA to Stop Treating Coronavirus Positives as Reportable Incidents & Calls for Flexibility for Firms Running Short of N95 Masks

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.

Construction Industry Reponses to Gov. Evers Construction Exemption

A Message from AGC-GM Chief Executive Officer Mike Fabishak:

AGC Members,

You will find a news release from the AGC of Greater Milwaukee, several other collateral construction trade associations, and unions acknowledging Governor Evers recent Executive Order listing construction as an essential service.

On behalf of the AGC of Greater Milwaukee we appreciate the efforts of Governor Evers leadership, and offer our assurances that we will continue to dedicate ourselves to the safety and health of all those men and women who are part of our great industry.

Thank you and stay healthy,

Mike Fabishak

Update on Federal Paid Leave Mandates under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201

On March 20, Treasury, IRS and DOL announced their intent to implement these new mandates. 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.

Take Action: Tell Congress to Protect Construction Jobs and Markets!

The Senate could vote on a new $2 TRILLON+ COVID-19 relief package shortly. Negotiations are extremely fluid. On March 20, AGC of America shared it’s priorities and policy proposals in a letter to all members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and received confirmation from key legislators and officials that many of our priorities are part of the fast-paced negotiations. 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; and
Maintaining the viability of multiemployer pension and health plans on which millions of participants, retirees and contributing employers depend.

Please join us in telling Congress to take immediate action. Click here 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. You can view the real-time activity on this action alert here.

OSHA Provides Guidance on Recording Workplace Exposures to COVID-19

OSHA recordkeeping requirements at 29 CFR Part 1904 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:

The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (see CDC information on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19);
The case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g. medical treatment beyond first-aid, days away from work).
For more information, click here.

Wisconsin Construction Industry Coronavirus Announcement

The Wisconsin construction industry, including both labor and management, has come together to communicate specific strategies they are taking to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
Deriving from CDC and OSHA workplace recommendations, the following strategies are being implemented across the state to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the construction industry.

View the industry’s COVID-19 strategies here.

Summary of Paid Leave Mandates under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201

On March 18, 2020, Congress approved and the president signed into law legislation that includes mandates for employer-fronted federal paid leave—emergency sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave described below. These requirements take effect on April 2, 2020, and sunset on December 31, 2020. However, the legislative environment remains fluid. The Senate could consider altering these paid leave mandates in a COVID-19 economic investment bill, a third COVID-19 relief bill. Such a measure could pass within days and would then need to be considered by the House before it became law. As such, please note that the information in this document is potentially subject to change before it takes effect.
Read more.

AGC of America Update: Best Practices, Defense and Civilian Agencies & AGC Survey

COVID-19 Best Practices for Construction Jobsites
Personal Responsibilities
Social Distancing
Jobsite / Office Practices
Managing Sick Employees
Government Resources
Vendor Resources
For detailed practices, click here and here.

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.

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.


AGC of America Coronavirus Resources

A Message from AGC-GM Chief Executive Officer Mike Fabishak:

AGC Members,

I wanted to let you know that I have been in contact with the AGC of America since last week concerning the corona virus. I was particularly interested in understanding what actions they have taken on issues centered around paid sick leave, reportable incidents under OSHA regulations and other related issues. Below you will find an email from Steve Sandherr, CEO of the AGC of America, addressing these issues and other associated with this virus. Additionally, they have posted an AGC-A corona website (below) which will help inform you on other aspects of this matter.

Be assured that we will be keeping you informed of any new developments as they arise.

Here’s what the AGC of America has so far:

  1. Established a microsite on that is updated as circumstances warrant. You can see it here.
  2. During a call with the Secretary of Labor last Thursday, I asked him to withdraw the announced OSHA policy that employees who tested positive had to be treated as a reportable incident. I explained the impact that would have on insurance premiums, on owners evaluating safety records, and the logic that an employer can control many things on a jobsite but they can’t control the spreading of a virus. On Friday the policy was slightly altered but it needs to be withdrawn. We are going back to his office with a renewed request and we are looking at additional, labor, HR and safety policies that need attention at this time.
  3. As I write this, Ken Simonson and Brian Turmail are working on a survey to be sent out all members, asking them to tell us of supply chain disruptions and other negative consequences resulting from the virus. This will go out in the next day or two and we ask that you encourage your member firms to participate.
  4. With respect to the paid sick leave requirement in the House passed response bill, we are reaching out to Senate offices to see if we can mitigate the impact on construction firms.

Thank you and if you have any questions, please contact me at your convenience.

Mike Fabishak

AGC of America to host WebED on the Coronavirus

A Message from AGC-GM Chief Executive Officer Mike Fabishak:

AGC Members,

The AGC of America will be holding a very important WebED on the Coronavirus this Friday, March 20th at 2:00 PM (EDT) to give an update on the impact of the virus on the construction industry.

The details of the WebED are below and you should note that it will air at 1:00 PM our time.

Thank you and if you have questions, please contact me at your convenience.

Mike Fabishak

Request for Face Masks from Vice President Pence

A Message from AGC-GM Chief Executive Officer Mike Fabishak:

AGC Members,

I am writing to all AGC of Greater Milwaukee Members, as well as all area contractors on behalf of Vice President Pence request concerning the donation of N95 Face Masks to area hospitals.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, there has been a shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for health care workers, particularly the NIOSH 95 face masks. As such, they are requesting all construction companies who have some available to donate them immediately to your area hospital.

As you may know, Vice President Pence is coordinating the federal government’s response to this pandemic. As such, due to the lack of supply of PPE’s, he is asking all construction companies for your help.

“We would make one specific request, and that is, we would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forgo additional orders of those industrial masks,” Vice President Mike Pence said during a White House press conference on Tuesday.

He continued, “Because of what the president asked to be included in legislation moving through the Congress today, those industrial masks that they use on construction sites are perfectly acceptable for healthcare workers to be protected from a respiratory disease.”

On behalf of the AGC of Greater Milwaukee we are asking you to acknowledge the Vice President’s request and consider donating your available N95s to your local hospital.

Thank you for your consideration and if you have any questions, please contact me at your convenience.

Mike Fabishak

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 Corona virus 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.