NRCA recognizes this is a time of uncertainty, and we want to provide a clearinghouse of information and resources addressing various issues you may be facing in managing your business through the crisis. This includes best practices for prevention; links to authoritative information from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and Occupational Safety and Health Administration; legal resources, including key contract provisions; insurance resources; federal financial assistance; employers’ and employees’ rights; and more. Check back often as we will provide updates on an ongoing basis.
The Centers for Disease Control provides regular updates about the COVID-19 virus, prevention, what do if you are sick, a workplace poster, etc.; and the World Health Organization offers guidance for getting workplaces ready for COVID-19.
The CDC provides the latest information about COVID-19; visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
The CDC discusses symptoms, complications, prevention and what to do if you are sick; click here.
The CDC document, Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, offers the following recommended strategies for employers to use now:
The CDC offers a poster, Do Your Part to Slow the Spread of Germs, for use in the workplace, click here to download.
The World Health Organization offers the document, Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19, click here to download. This document addresses how COVID-19 spreads and provides simple ways to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace.
WHO and public health authorities throughout the world are taking action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. However, long-term success cannot be taken for granted. All sections of our society, including businesses and employers, must play a role if we are to stop the spread of this disease by taking the following action:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers a COVID-19 planning guidance, information for workers and employers, and resources for small businesses.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration developed a COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need to implement engineering, administrative and work practice controls and use of personal protective equipment. The OSHA guidance is advisory in nature and informational in content. It is not a standard or a regulation, and it neither creates new legal obligations nor alters existing obligations created by OSHA standards or the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Pursuant to the OSH Act, employers must comply with safety and health standards and regulations issued and enforced either by OSHA or an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, the OSH Act’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA-approved state plans may have standards, regulations and enforcement policies that are different from, but at least as effective as, OSHA’s. Check with your state plan, as applicable, for more information.
The guide is located here.
The OSHA COVID-19 webpage, www.osha.gov/covid-19, offers information specifically for workers and employers.
OSHA released a document explaining how the OSHA standards pertain (or not) to COVID-19 in the workplace. It is important to note if roofing company employees contract the COVID-19 virus, it does not constitute a recordable incident for OSHA log purposes. For OSHA guidance on recordables, click here.
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued a notice March 24 announcing its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act when it takes effect April 1. Additional notices were issued March 26 and 28. DOL notices can be viewed by clicking on a date below.
The Department of Labor issued a notice March 25 saying all employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to display a new COVID-19 poster in a conspicuous place in the employer's main office. Because many employees are working remotely, DOL is allowing employers to satisfy this notice requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website. The poster can be downloaded here.
DOL also provides FAQs about its notice requirement; click here to view.
You need to review your contracts and understand clauses like force majeure to make sure your company is protected.
The following articles from NRCA Counsel Trent Cotney provide information about contract provisions and the effects of COVID-19 on construction.
Attorneys Philip Siegel and Benjamin Lowenthal of Hendrick Salzman Phillips and Siegel, Atlanta, have put together answers for many of the most pressing labor and employment related questions that they have been receiving. Please note: If you have a company handbook, they suggest you first consult and follow your company’s policies as published in your company handbook.
The following information from Cotney Construction law provides general best-practices when terminating an employee. Employers must be aware of the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation provisions related to new paid leave laws and provides for enhanced unemployment benefits for employees whose termination is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to view the guidelines.
Attorney Stephen Phillips of Hendrick Phillips Salzman & Siegel PC, Atlanta, provides information and contract provisions regarding potential job delays, delays in obtaining materials, inability to staff a job as originally contemplated, supply chain disruption, unexpected and substantial price increases and other potential cost impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic with regard to ongoing and upcoming projects. Click here to read.
It’s important you know about workers’ compensation and business interruption insurance as they relate to COVID-19, as well as your duty to notify your insurance company in the event of a claim.
Worker’s compensation coverage is triggered by injury or illness as the result of employment activities sustained by a worker. The nature of an illness like COVID-19 is not likely to be triggered by activities directly involved in roofing-related work. It doesn’t mean a roofing worker cannot expose a fellow worker or be exposed by a customer; however, the work itself does not involve managing or work involving the virus.
In addition, the latency period (the time between exposure and when symptoms develop) varies reportedly from two to 14 days, making it virtually impossible to pinpoint when someone was exposed. For example, it is more likely health care workers who are on the front lines at a hospital and are constantly exposed to infected patients might contract the illness as a result of workplace activities. In such cases, there is clearer evidence that healthcare workers who contract the illness are considered recordable for OSHA purposes and workers’ compensation coverage is triggered. However, OSHA has not provided clear delineation for workers in the construction industry to date. NRCA is working with industry partners asking OSHA (see attached letter) to specifically exempt the OSHA recordable requirement for the construction industry if employers have employees who contract the illness. Regarding workers’ compensation coverage; remember, it is always determined by the insurer guided by state-specific laws. Given the nature of this pandemic and the way it is affecting daily life, things can change. Check back here for updates.
Contingent business interruption insurance provides coverage for economic losses caused by supply chain disruptions. For example, this may come into play as a result of expected shipments of materials that rely on foreign suppliers that, because of the interruptions caused by the virus, cannot fulfill their obligations. There always are limits to coverage, but this insurance is triggered typically only by physical damage to the supplier’s or customer’s covered property.
Some companies schedule annual events for customers and others. These events have expenses and may have revenues associated with them. If you have event cancellation insurance, it provides coverage for losses resulting from the cancellation, postponement or relocation of an event for reasons beyond the control of the event organizer. Some event cancellation policies contain exclusions for infectious diseases, and your insurance agent can clarify.
All insurance policies have a duty to notify the insurer when there is a loss. It is vital to contact your agent as soon as possible to avoid denial of a claim for failure to notify. It is important to keep careful documentation of all losses associated with your business.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748) was passed by Congress this week and signed by President Trump March 27.
The following is a summary of the provisions that may be applicable to businesses in the roofing industry. Click here to view.
Under the CARES Act, the Department of Treasury is offering assistance to small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program authorizes up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Click here for a top line overview of the PPP loan program, information for lenders and borrowers, and an application.
Section 1102 of the CARES Act temporarily adds a new product, Paycheck Protection Program, to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s loan program. Section 1106 of the Act provides for forgiveness of up to the full principal amount of qualifying loans guaranteed under the Paycheck Protection Program. Click here for the interim final rule.
The CARES Act encourages eligible employers to keep employees on their payrolls with an Employee Retention Credit, and the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act requires certain employers to pay sick or family leave to employees unable to work or telework because of circumstances related to COVID-19. Employers are entitled to a refundable tax credit for the required leave paid up to specified limits. Click here for FAQs provided by the IRS.
The U.S. Small Business Administration provides a number of helpful resources regarding COVID-19, including an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, guidance for businesses and employers, SBA products and resources, government contracting ad local assistance. Click here to learn more.
The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. Click here to learn more.
The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced the tax filings and payments for all federal income taxes (including self-employment tax) due on April 15, 2020, regardless of amount, will now be due on July 15, 2020. Click here to learn more.
There many are state-specific resources that provide valuable information about how to manage COVID-19, “essential work” determinations and more. NRCA will provide information and links as they become available.
Multistate, a government relations services company located in Alexandria, Va., offers numerous resources about the state and local government response to COVID-19, including a dashboard, maps, and other resources for tracking how states and localities are responding to the crisis. Click here to view.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation provides charts that show projected hospital resource use based on COVID-19 deaths. Featured is a drop-down link that shows projections for each state. Click here to view.
NRCA and 10 roofing industry associations sent a letter March 24 to National Governors Association leaders Lawrence Hogan Jr. (Md.) and Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.) asking that governors across the nation include language in executive orders that are written, maintained or modified that encompasses roofing industry companies (including contractors, manufacturers and their raw material suppliers and distributors) as part of “essential businesses, workers and infrastructure.” Click here to view.
The attorneys at Hendrick Salzman Phillips and Siegel, Atlanta, compiled a list of state executive orders applicable to construction. The document provides a state-by-state listing of how some states, counties and cities are interpreting executive orders for essential construction work during this pandemic. It is wise search for a specific area(s) as this information can change. Click here to view.
Click here to view a generic authorization letter.
As more cities, states and counties issue and revise emergency orders to stop the spread of COVID-19, the National Association of Manufacturers is working to help manufacturers nationwide assess and understand the implications of these orders. NAM is advocating for states to at least adopt the federal CISA guidelines for essential businesses, specifically by incorporating by reference those guidelines in any executive orders or similarly binding declaration. Click here to view.
The Governor of Illinois issued an order March 20 that broadly includes construction as essential work. Click here to learn more.
Gov. Hogan issued a Stay at Home Order March 30 that states no Maryland resident should leave his or her home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason. Essential businesses must make every effort to scale down their operations to reduce the number of required staff, limit interactions with customers and institute telework for as much of the workforce as is practical. No Marylander is to be traveling outside of the state unless such travel is absolutely necessary.
The order did not change what businesses are deemed essential or nonessential. Commercial and residential construction, including roofing, can continue in Maryland. Click here for more information.
The Ohio Department of Health issued an order March 22 that broadly includes construction and service in the order as essential work. Click here to learn more.
Gov. Northam issued a Temporary Stay at Home Order March 30 requiring individuals to remain in their places of residence unless exempted. The order remains in effect until June 10 unless amended or rescinded. The restriction does not apply to the operation of businesses not required to close under the governor’s prior executive order; as such, construction is allowed to continue in Virginia. Click here for more information. Click here for more information.
There are many additional resources that provide valuable information about how to manage COVID-19. NRCA will provide information and links as they become available.
On March 30, NRCA held its inaugural Telephone Town Hall to discuss the latest developments regarding COVID-19 and the roofing industry. The town hall was moderated by NRCA CEO Reid Ribble, and expert NRCA presenters included Vice President of Enterprise Risk Management Tom Shanahan, Vice President of Government Affairs Duane Musser, Vice President of Technical Services Mark Graham and NRCA General Counsel Trent Cotney. Stay tuned to NRCA as we will be holding more Telephone Town Hall meetings in the near future.
Given that many NRCA members will likely be required to suspend work during the COVID-19 period, NRCA’s Technical Service section has prepared guidance for contractors who find themselves having to suspend jobs in progress. Click here for details.
NRCA is providing the following guidance to assist members when they deal with regulatory actions at the state and local levels that may limit roofing industry activities. NRCA believes roofing should be classified as an essential businesses and roofing workers should be classified as essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis, primarily because roofing is integral to our nation’s infrastructure. Click here for details.
NRCA has developed a document providing considerations for managing COVID-19. Click here to learn more.
There are many additional resources that provide valuable information about how to manage COVID-19. NRCA will provide information and links as they become available.
The Construction Industry Safety Coalition, comprising 25 trade associations from all sectors of the construction industry, including NRCA, the Associated General Contractors of America, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of the Remodeling Industry and Tile Roofing Industry Alliance, have prepared a COVID-19 response plan for construction. The response plan is available in ENGLISH and SPANISH and includes:
The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention says employers have a key role to play not only in taking care of their employees’ physical health and safety during this difficult time, but also their mental health. The alliance offers resources to educate yourself and equip your employees to help them get through this challenging time. Click here for more information.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was enacted March 18 and requires certain employers to provide expanded family and medical leave and paid sick leave to employees unable to work or telework because of certain circumstances related to COVID-19. This notice provides that the tax credits for paid qualified sick leave wages and paid family leave wages required to be paid by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will apply to wages paid for the period beginning April 1, 2020, and ending Dec. 31, 2020.
Click here to view the notice.
Vice President Mike Pence is asking the construction industry to donate its N-95 respirators to local health care facilities. This government request is something to consider depending on your supplies and work activities. It is important to first consider your workers’ needs for the work they are performing from a safety standpoint (for example, silica and dust exposures and employees who work in close proximity to the public or each other) and for OSHA compliance. Click here for details.