In a very short period of time, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed life as we knew it. While we all hope this is a temporary state of affairs, be assured that IEC is here to help and guide our members, students, chapters, and staff through this uncertain time.
IEC is committed to keeping you up-to-date on the latest recommendations from a variety of valuable resources and will continue to add information to the Coronavirus Update dropbox, so please check it often.
This Week’s Top Information
How Will COVID-19 Impact the Electrical Industry?
On March 23, IEC National CEO, Spenser Villwock, interviewed expert construction sector economist Anirban Basu, chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group. Basu shared insights on the current impact of COVID-19 on the economy as a whole, and its effect on the construction industry and, specifically, electrical and systems contractors. Basu believes the current recession and recovery will be much more V-shaped, versus the U-shape we experienced in the 18-month period of the Great Recession.
COVID-19 Impact on Insurance
IEC has consulted with several insurance representatives on the impact of the coronavirus on Construction Disruption Insurance, Business Disruption Insurance, and other project-specific insurance coverages our members may currently carry. The advice from all has been the same - We advise contractors to speak with their insurance agents or representatives to understand any implications, coverages, and concerns they may have for their businesses during this unprecedented time of COVID-19.
Platinum Partners are Optimistic About the Future
On March 23, IEC National CEO Spenser Villwock convened a panel of IEC Platinum Partners for a roundtable discussion about the state of their businesses amid the current COVID-19 crisis. The participants were optimistic about their current state of business and the future of the electrical industry as a whole. Considered essential businesses serving the needs of contractors across the nation, all are open for business and finding new ways to innovate – touchless deliveries, optimizing the potential of remote call centers, leveraging domestic suppliers for product – that will benefit the industry moving forward. The participants were encouraged to note their sales and manufacturing continue to show strength during this difficult time for all Americans.
IEC Webinar on Labor & Employment Policies
On March 18, IEC hosted a webinar with Phillip Russell and Dee Anna Hays of Ogletree Deakins who spoke to how electrical contractors can implement relevant workplace safety, pay, leave, and other labor and employment policies. The presenters also addressed precautions to consider as they relate to your general contractors, subcontractors, and customers.
SBA Disaster Loan Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 through their Disaster Loan Program.
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Department of Labor Issues FFCRA Guidance
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published its initial guidance under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which takes effect on April 1, 2020. The initial round of guidance consists of a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, and a Questions and Answers document intended to address some of the critical questions stakeholders have been asking.
Share Your Thoughts With the DOL
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will host a national online dialogue to provide employers and employees with an opportunity to offer their perspective as DOL develops compliance assistance materials and outreach on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Participate online at https://ffcra.ideascale.com from 3/23-29, or join a Twitter chat @ePolicyWorks on 3/25 at 2 p.m. using #EPWChat.
Ogletree Deakins to Present FFCRA Webinar, March 27
Ogletree Deakins will present the webinar, “Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What Employers Need to Know,” on March 27. While registration is currently full, IEC will provide a recording of the webinar to our members as soon as it becomes available.
Third COVID-19 Relief Bill Introduced
Last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the third COVID-19 relief bill, S. 3548, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The bill addresses relief for small businesses, cash assistance for taxpayers, loans to businesses in major industries, and resources to combat the virus.
The bill allows businesses with fewer than 500 employees to apply for fee-free loans of up to $10 million, and includes a provision for these loans to be forgiven should employees be retained between March 1 and June 30, 2020. Other provisions include a delay in payment of employer payroll taxes, modification of the limitation on net operating loss carryback rules for both pass-throughs and corporations, and temporarily increasing the amount of interest expense businesses are allowed to deduct on tax returns. The bill proposes cash payments to individuals at $1,200 per person and $2,400 per married couple. The proposed legislation will be debated with Senate Democrats and the House, which won’t return until it’s in a position to vote on a third piece of legislation related to the crisis.
Electricians Included in Essential Workforce Federal Guidance
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released guidance designed to help state and local jurisdictions and the private sector identify and manage their essential workforce while responding to COVID-19. States and localities may determine what is considered essential workforce in their areas. The guidance includes electricians and states, “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.” CISA executes the Secretary of Homeland Security’s responsibilities as assigned under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide strategic guidance, promote a national unity of effort, and coordinate the overall Federal effort to ensure the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure.