Expiring Tax Extenders, The Robinson-Patman Act, and Lobby Day

ABMA Committee

Today, the ABMA Committee had their monthly meeting. They received an update on our legislative priorities from our Government Affairs Associate and discussed tax extenders that will be considered by Congress post-election, the Robinson-Patman Act, and the ABMA Annual Lobby Day in D.C. Congressional Update In September when Congress was in Washington, they were focused […]

DOL Coronavirus Resources

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As we continue to move through the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is committed to ensuring equitable access to key resources affecting the health and safety of America’s workers and workplaces.

ABMA District Office Visits

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ABMA concluded its inaugural Advocacy Week on April 8th after five days of over 40 meetings with legislator offices and 100 ABMA member participants. One of ABMA’s goals is to carry its message beyond Advocacy Week by having its members emphasize the priority issues in-person at their District Offices. District Office visits will provide a new way of augmenting Advocacy Week follow up by bringing you face-to-face with your Congressional legislators.

ABMA Yard Tours

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Yard tours provide ABMA members an excellent opportunity to build and grow existing relationships with policymakers. They are a critical tool that take on added importance to augment our virtual meetings that were held across the NRLA and CSA regions during the legislative session.

ABMA Meeting on Softwood Lumber

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On Thursday, April 21, ABMA met with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy & Negotiations of the International Trade Administration (ITA) Ryan Majerus and his team to discuss the status of a new Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). After a brief round of introductions, the meeting took off via a Q&A format. As a new SLA has been a priority for the lumber and building materials (LBM) industry since its expiration in 2015, ABMA members were eager to express its importance and ask questions regarding next steps.

ABMA Meeting with the ETA

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ABMA members had the opportunity to speak with Manoach (Manny) Lamarre and Dr. Stephanie Rodriguez of the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) sector of the Department of Labor (DOL) regarding workforce development (WFD) on Monday, April 18. During the meeting, Lamarre gave a brief overview of the programs the ETA oversees and explained the distribution of funds.

HIRE Vets Medallion Program

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The HIRE Vets Medallion Award, a Department of Labor (DOL) initiative, is the only federal-level veterans’ employment award that recognizes a company or organization’s commitment to veteran hiring, retention, and professional development.

Fact Sheet for Rural Communities

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The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is an effort to bring economic opportunity to rural communities across the U.S. According to the Department of Commerce (DOC), BIL will “provide high-speed internet, safe roads and bridges, modern wastewater systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity, climate data and information, and good-paying jobs in every small town and rural community.” This fact sheet provides information for rural communities to know all the available resources under the infrastructure law, where to apply, or how find more information.

Common Myths About Tax Refunds

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With the April 18 tax-filing deadline closing in for most taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants to dispel some new and common myths about getting refund details or speeding up tax refunds. A number of these myths circulate on social media every tax season.

SBA’s Equity Action Plan

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On April 14th, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Isabella Casillas Guzman issued a statement regarding the SBA’s Equity Action Plan. Key elements of this plan include, but are not limited to: access to capital, improve government contracting opportunities, improve access to disaster assistance, and improve access to business counseling, training, and services. […]

National Emphasis Program

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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced on Tuesday the launch of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new National Emphasis Program in an effort to protect workers from heat-related illness and injury.

ABMA Celebrates Successful Advocacy Week

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RENSSELAER, N.Y. – The American Building Materials Alliance (ABMA) concluded its inaugural Advocacy Week on April 8th. Over the course of the week-long event, over 100 ABMA members met virtually with over 40 legislators and their offices to highlight our three 2022 priority issues of workforce development, supply chain delays, and inflation.

ABMA Meeting with ETA Registration

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The American Building Materials Alliance (ABMA) has made workforce development (WFD) a priority issue. In addition to advocating for new legislation and federal fiscal resources to attack the problem, we have been working with federal agencies to discover current, untapped opportunities for lumber and building materials (LBM) businesses to explore and access.

What Can You Do?

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According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), “one in five working age Americans has a mental health condition.” After the COVID-19 pandemic plagued the workforce, employers are realizing now more than ever how critical mental health-friendly workplaces are. To help bring awareness to this issue, the ODEP-funded Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) has launched a new public education campaign called “Mental Health at Work: What Can I Do?”

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation

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The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, popularly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (“BIL”), was signed into law on November 15, 2021, providing a nearly $1.2 trillion dollar investment in our Nation’s infrastructure and future.

Women of Trucking Advisory Board

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The Secretary of Transportation chartered the Women of Trucking Advisory Board (WOTAB) of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on February 11, 2022.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

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On March 24th, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional briefing from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, specifically detailing the current atmosphere in our Nation’s Capital. Pat detailed the impact the Russia-Ukraine war and the confirmation process of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to join the Supreme Court is having on legislative efforts.

Take Action Now: Support ABMA Priorities!

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April 4-8 is American Building Materials Alliance (ABMA) Advocacy Week. The ABMA, a NRLA and CSA partnership, represents lumber and building material (LBM) retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and other associated businesses.

“What They Are Saying” About the U.K. Tariff Agreement

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On Tuesday, March 22 United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced a new agreement with the United Kingdom (U.K.) to allow historically-based sustainable volumes of U.K. steel and aluminum products to enter the U.S. market without the application of Section 232 tariffs.

ABMA Advocacy Week Priority Issues

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ABMA Advocacy week is April 4-8. We will have over 100 ABMA members meeting virtually with their senators and representatives on three key issues impacting the LBM industry.

Tax Information for Businesses

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Tax season is upon us! Be sure to check in with IRS.gov for the latest tax information, tools, and resources for businesses and the self-employed.

National Safety Stand-Down

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According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 351 of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded in 2020 were due to falls from elevation. The National Safety Stand-Down is an effort to prevent fall fatalities and injuries by raising fall hazard awareness across the country.

Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program

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The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Section 23022, requires the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to establish an apprenticeship pilot program that would allow drivers 18-20 years old with an intrastate commercial driver’s license to operate interstate commerce.

SBA 2022 Women’s Business Summit

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The Small Business Administration (SBA) is holding its 2022 Women’s Business Summit on March 28-30, 2022. The summit will consist of virtual panels, “Ask an Expert” workshops, and fireside chats to help women-owned small businesses build, scale, and grow.

“A Closer Look” at the EITC

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The IRS recently published the latest executive column, “A Closer Look,” featuring Director of Refundable Credits Program Management Gwen Garren. The column provides an overview of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and its recent changes.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

Legislative Committee 2.17.22

On February 17th, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional briefing from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, specifically detailing Senate efforts to secure a continuing resolution to keep government funded through at least March 11th, the still stalled Build Back Better (BBB) package, and the impact the evenly divided Senate is having on policy now and moving forward. The Committee discussed in detail several priority issues and bills for the upcoming Advocacy Week and highlighted a hybrid approach for interested committee members.

DOL Powered Industrial Trucks Design Standard Update

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The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The move includes standards for fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks.

New CDL Training Standards

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According to the  Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), starting on Monday, February 7th, any driver that must undergo Entry-Level Driver Training (EDTL) must complete required training from a registered provider.

IRS Warns Against Scammers

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As the new year begins, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers to protect their personal and financial information throughout the year and watch out for IRS impersonation scams, along with other schemes, that try to trick people out of their hard-earned money.

ABMA’s “Inside the Capitol” with Congressman Bruce Westerman

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Rep. Westerman discussed his background in the forest product and construction industries and highlighted his support for market-based conservation policies. He took a number of questions on issues ranging from ongoing trucking and rail supply chain issues, a new Softwood Lumber Agreement, inflation, and how the upcoming election cycle will help shape Congressional action in 2022.

Commerce Reduces Canadian Lumber Tariffs

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In an email on Tuesday, February 1st, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a review of reducing countervailing and antidumping duties on Canadian softwood lumber to 11.64%. This news follows after the U.S. raised rates on Canadian softwood lumber imports to 17.9% in November 2021, nearly double what it was previously.

DOL Penalties Increase for 2022

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The Department of Labor published the annual adjustments for 2022 that increase certain penalties applicable to employee benefit plans.

OSHA Withdraws Vaccine & Testing ETS

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On January 25th, the U.S. Department of Labor announced it will withdraw its emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring COVID-19 vaccination or testing for workers at large employers but continue to pursue a permanent standard to that effect.

ABMA Virtual Advocacy Week

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ABMA will be hosting its first official ABMA Virtual Advocacy Week the week of April 4-8, 2022. The event is free for the entire ABMA, CSA, and NRLA membership.

ABMA Opposes Cross-Border Truck Driver Vaccine Mandate

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On January 21st, the ABMA sent a letter to US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas outlining our serious concerns with the US Department of Homeland Security’s vaccine mandate for inbound foreign national truck drivers crossing the United States-Canadian border.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

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On January 20th, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional briefing from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, specifically detailing the stalled Build Back Better (BBB) package. The Committee discussed where things stand currently on Capitol Hill, reviewed the Supreme Court’s ruling on the OSHA Vaccine ETS, and finalized plans for the 2022 ABMA Advocacy Week.

OSHA Vaccine ETS: What’s Next?

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On January 13, the United States Supreme Court stayed the “Emergency Temporary Standard” (ETS) issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety Administration (OSHA) on COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing requirements for employers with over one hundred employees. The ruling held that the ETS mandate would not be enforced, as OSHA may have exceeded its authority. The Supreme Court returned the issue back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to decide the validity of the ETS.

2022 OSHA Penalties

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OSHA has published the maximum penalty amounts, with the annual adjustment for inflation, that may be assessed after Jan. 15, 2022.

Supreme Court Blocks OSHA COVID-19 ETS

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Previously, on December 17, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted the administration’s request to dissolve the Fifth Circuit’s November 6th stay on the regulation. The divided three-member court said the harm caused by keeping the emergency temporary standard frozen outweighs any damage that would come from letting it go into effect.

Submit 2021 Injury and Illness Data

OSHA

March 2, 2022 is the deadline for electronically reporting your OSHA Form 300A data for calendar year 2021. Only a small fraction of establishments are required to electronically submit their Form 300A data to OSHA.

ABMA Joins Call for Increased Testing Resources

The rapid spread and impacts of the omicron variant has put new urgency on the availability of testing resources for critical infrastructure and essential workers. ABMA signed on to a coalition letter, spearheaded by the Critical Infrastructure Supply Chain Council (CISCC), asking President Biden to prioritize our workers with new testing resources.

OSHA Winter Weather Resources

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Winter weather presents hazards including slippery roads/surfaces, strong winds, and environmental cold. Employers must prevent illnesses, injuries, or fatalities by controlling these hazards in workplaces impacted by winter weather.

ABMA OSHA ETS Comment Letter

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On December 21, ABMA sent a comment letter to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Assistant Secretary Douglas L. Parker regarding the interim final rule on the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing: Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).

Softwood Lumber Congressional Letter

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Concerned about how the impact of increased tariffs on Canadian imports will impact lumber prices and overall construction costs, Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) sent a bipartisan letter Monday to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, signed by 84 representatives.

SBA Provides Small Business Tax Resources

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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps businesses to meet their federal, state, and local tax obligations to stay in good legal standing. Your business structure and location will influence which taxes your business has to pay

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

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On December 16th, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional briefing from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, specifically detailing the ongoing saga of the Build Back Better (BBB) package. The Committee discussed where things stand currently on Capitol Hill, evaluated new priorities, and continued to look ahead and solidify plans for our 2022 strategies.

OSHA Vaccine and Testing ETS Stay Update

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The United State Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied en banc review in the OSHA vaccine mandate consolidated cases. An en banc session is a session in which a case is heard before all the judges of a court rather than by a smaller panel of judges.

Take Action Now: Oppose BBB Tax Increases

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The House-passed Build Back Better (BBB) legislation contains damaging increased tax rates on S-Corporations and other pass-through tax structures that are popular among retail lumber and building material (LBM) dealers.

Curtis Lumber Hosts Rep. Stefanik

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On Tuesday, December 14, Curtis Lumber of Ballston Spa, NY hosted Representative Elise Stefanik (NY District 21) in its corporate office for a private legislative event. At the event, Rep. Stefanik introduced the proposed Employer Directed Skills Act which will “empower job creators to determine the skills their workforce needs, streamline the process for workers to access skills development, and leverage private sector investments to make employers a stakeholder in the reskilling process.”

OSHA Offers Winter Weather Resources

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OSHA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are working together on a public education effort aimed at improving the way people prepare for and respond to severe weather.

ABMA Objects to BBB Tax Increases

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Earlier this week, the ABMA sent a letter to the Senate outlining our concerns with tax provisions in the Build Back
Better (BBB) legislation recently passed by the House. If enacted, the tax rate for small and medium sized businesses could jump to over 41 percent—a sizable increase for LBM businesses.

ABMA Opposes Softwood Tariff Hike

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The United States Department of Commerce announced late last week that they would proceed with an administrative review to increase the tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments from 9% to 17.9%.

SBA Updates EIDL Guidance

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The SBA announced updated guidance for COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program applicants to better serve small business owners in need, while funding remains available.

DOL Offers Holiday Safety Resources

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During the upcoming holidays, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reminds employers not to overlook their worker’s rights to a safe and healthy workplace and to be paid all of their legally earned wages.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

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On November 18th, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional update from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, discuss the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 vaccines and testing and the current legal status of the ETS, look ahead to potential 2022 priorities, and highlighted our upcoming virtual event with Congressman Kurt Schrader from Oregon.

OSHA Vaccine and Testing ETS Stay Upheld

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On November 12, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order continuing its initial November 6, 2021 stay of the emergency temporary standard (ETS) that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued on November 4, 2021.

IRS Tax Resources For Businesses

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers a useful collection of information and resources for businesses on a variety of tax topics and questions.

DOT Issues American Mobility Fact Sheet

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The Infrastructure Deal is a significant investment in America’s transportation network. It will allow the nation to modernize its infrastructure, making it safer and more resilient.

IRS Announces 401(k) Limit Increases

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the amount individuals can contribute to their 401(k) plans in 2022 has increased to $20,500, up from $19,500 for 2021 and 2020.

OSHA Releases Vaccine and Testing ETS

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On November 4th, ABMA staff attended an OSHA briefing on the recently announced Vaccine and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The ETS takes effect immediately. Employers have 30 days (December 5th) to comply with all requirements except testing for employees who are not fully vaccinated.

OSHA Vaccine and Testing ETS Webinar

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In conjunction with the November 4th release of the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), OSHA has provided an overview of it’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS.

FTC Protecting Small Businesses

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help small businesses avoid scams, protect their computers and networks, keep customers’ data safe, and protect a businesses’ bottom line.

OSHA On-Site Consultations

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OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states with priority given to high-hazard worksites.

Business Community Opposes Grantor Trust/Minority Valuation Changes

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The ABMA joined with more than 90 trade associations representing millions of individually- and family-owned businesses to sound the alarm on the proposed changes to grantor trust and valuation rules in the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) and called on lawmakers to reject these provisions.

DOL Workplace Posters

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Some of the statutes and regulations enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) require that notices be provided to employees and/or posted in the workplace.

Hiring Employees With Disabilities

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Hiring disabled individuals can help businesses meet their talent needs while strengthening their competitive edge. The SBA offers a variety of resources to h

Take Action Now: Support Workforce Development/CTE

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As the budget reconciliation negotiations continue and legislators look for ways to make the overall package more affordable, we need to ask the Members of Congress to protect critical workforce and CTE funding.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

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On October 21st, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional briefing from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, discuss the pending OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 vaccines and testing, update the status of our Federal PAC formation and look forward to our virtual Congressional meeting in November.

Keeping Young Workers Safe

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OSHA provides resources and education to help provide a safe and healthful work environment and comply with occupational safety and health standards.

National Apprenticeship Week

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The 7th annual Department of Labor National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) will take place November 15 – 21, 2021.

Department of Labor Workforce Resource Center

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The DOL State Resources Finder provides a list of websites that businesses may find useful for workforce issues. Resources cover the following topics: employee training, hiring, human resources planning, legal and admin

HIPAA, COVID-19 Vaccinations, and the Workplace

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights issued guidance to help the public understand when the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule applies to disclosures and requests for information about whether a person has received a COVID-19 vaccine.

New Job Quality Initiative

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The Department of Commerce launched their new Job Quality Initiative. The initiative is aimed at helping American employers become more competitive by providin

Take Action Now: Oppose Federal Tax Hikes

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As Congress continues its deliberations on both the infrastructure and budget reconciliation packages, please tell your legislator to not raise revenue to pay for the packages on the backs of America’s small businesses.

Are You Registered To Vote?

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There is no more powerful way to impact our regulatory and legislative advocacy efforts than participating on election day.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

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In a recent US Department of Labor blog, the DOL highlighted the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and the benefit it can have for both employers and job seekers.

ABMA Prioritizes Workforce Development

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On Wednesday, September 29th, the ABMA sent a letter to Congress asking legislators to invest in recruiting, developing, training, and incentivizing potential employees to fill skilled labor positions.

FMCSA Regulatory Guidance Tool

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The FMCSA  provides an easy to use web portal that is a searchable, indexed database that contains links to all guidance documents in effect from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

OSHA Addresses Heat-Related Illnesses

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OSHA announced they are initiating enhanced measures to protect workers better in hot environments and reduce the dangers of exposure to ambient heat.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

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On September 23rd, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional update from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, outline our strategies for our current priority issues, and discuss our preliminary plans for our 2022 Legislative Conference.

ABMA Outlines Vaccine Mandate Concerns to OSHA

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On Friday, September 17th, ABMA Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita and ABMA Director of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Kirk Ives attended a U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) sponsored meeting with OSHA officials and other interested parties on a number of workplace safety issues, most importantly, President Biden’s proposed vaccine mandate and testing requirements for employers with 100 or more employees.

ABMA Vaccine Mandate Survey Results

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Last week, President Biden announced that the Department of Labor is preparing to mandate that all businesses with 100 or more workers require their employees to either get vaccinated or face mandatory weekly testing. We wanted to know where you stand. The results are in.

IRS Reporting Guidance on Qualified Leave Wages

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The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2021-53, which provides guidance to employers about reporting on Form W-2 the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees for leave taken in 2021.

SBA Virtual Small Business Week

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The U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week Virtual Summit event is happening September 13-15, 2021.