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COVID 19 Update 23

Paycheck Protection Program Application Process Opens Today

Today Hudson Valley Manufacturers who need financial support during this difficult time can begin applying for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, the new $349 billion loan program established by the CARES Act. NAM has developed and an overview that will tell you who qualifies and how to apply for PPP loans. For more on other Small Business Administration loan programs and tax incentives, click here. More detailed information for borrowers provided by the Treasury Department can be found here and an application can be found here.

NAM team-created overview

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Fortune Magazine: ‘It’s going to be a mess’

What small businesses applying to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program need to know

As small businesses ready to apply for the new Small Business Association’s Payroll Protection Program loans (as part of a $2.2 trillion stimulus package), banks are calling it: they’re not ready for the rollout of the program.

Banks like JPMorgan Chase emailed customers on Thursday evening stating that the bank “will most likely not be able to start accepting applications on Friday, April 3rd as we had hoped.”

Read More In Fortune

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New York Power Authority Offers Relief Program for its Economic Development Power Customers

NYPA is waiving applicable energy and demand rate increases for its economic development power customers that participate in its ReCharge New York, Replacement Power, Expansion Power and Preservation Power programs for the July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, rate year. In addition, customers participating in those NYPA power programs are now able to suspend payment to NYPA for up to six months beginning with their April 2020 electric bill. Customers that opt-in to the new relief program can make payment installments over the following 18-months, free from any interest or penalties.

Read More

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DOL Releases FFCRA Regulations

On the surface, the requirement for documentation appears to conflict with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) recommendation that employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a health care provider’s note to validate an employee’s illness, qualify for sick leave or be eligible to return to work. Health care provider offices and medical facilities “may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner,” the CDC had previously stated.

However, the regulations and recommendation aren’t mutually exclusive, according to Kathy Dudley Helms, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Columbia, S.C., because the documentation doesn’t have to take the form of a health care provider’s note.

Read More from SHRM

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Deeper Dive:  The Economist Writes “The Trade-offs Required by the Pandemic Will Get Even Harder”

“Imagine two critically ill patients but just one ventilator. That is the choice which could confront hospital staff in New York, Paris and London in the coming weeks, just as it has in Lombardy and Madrid. Triage demands agonising decisions (see Briefing). Medics have to say who will be treated and who must go without: who might live and who will probably die.

The pandemic that is raging across the world heaps one such miserable choice upon another. Should medical resources go to covid-19 patients or those suffering from other diseases? Some unemployment and bankruptcy is a price worth paying, but how much? If extreme social distancing fails to stop the disease, how long should it persist?”

Read More at the Economist

Note: The Economist is making some of its most important coverage of the covid-19 pandemic freely available to readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. To receive it, register here. For more coverage, see our coronavirus hub

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COVID 19 Update 16

Manufacturing is Essential

Manufacturers across the Hudson Valley, New York State and the United States are mobilizing to supply desperately needed health care equipment and to keep supplying the essentials for daily life – while at the same time keeping our employees and communities safe. We should all be proud of the efforts we are making to end this pandemic.  But we have much more work to do.

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Key Provisions and FAQs from the CARES Act (Fed Stimulus)

The CARES Act COVID-19 relief bill the Senate passed Tuesday night and which the House is expected to pass it today.  Our partners at NAM secured some key wins in the legislation, including new federal loans and loan guarantees to help businesses get through this difficult time and tax incentives to aid manufacturers, such as a new credit for companies that retain workers during a temporary closure.

Read a summary of key provisions in the bill here and an FAQ document about the bill here.

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FuzeHub Compiles Useful list of Resources for New York’s Manufacturers.

Our friend (and Associate Member) FuzeHub has put together a very useful list of resources for New York State manufacturers coping with the many issues arising from the coronavirus outbreak.

FuzeHub COVID-19 Resources for Manufacturers

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COVID 19 Related Employment Law Issues Web Conference Essential HR Discussion with Greenwald Doherty

When: Monday, March 30, 2020 at 1 pm
Where: Online webinar/conference call
Cost: No fee to participate

contact abutler@councilofindustry.org for more information.

Register here

Through this discussion with three partners at Greenwald Doherty, participants will learn about best practices for managing the workforce, workplace safety and employer options concerning sick time, FMLA PFL, salary reductions and layoffs.

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China Is Open for Business, but the Post-coronavirus Reboot Looks Slow and Rocky

The Wall Street Journal reports that more than two months after imposing quarantines to counter the coronavirus, China is getting back to work. It is a slow and rocky process, one that rests on the world battling back successfully against the pandemic.

With new infections dwindling, factories are restarting, stores are reopening, and people are venturing outdoors. In some ways, China is where the U.S. and Europe hope to be within weeks or months.

Yet many Chinese factories find demand for their products has evaporated. Consumers in China and elsewhere are reluctant to spend over worries about what they have lost and what lies ahead.

Read More (subscription required)

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COVID 19 Update 15

Fed chairman Jerome Powell: ‘There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with our economy’

Joining TODAY for a rare and exclusive live interview, Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, acknowledges that “we may very well be in a recession, but I would point to the difference between this and a normal recession.” He says “there is nothing fundamentally wrong with our economy” and that the Fed will “aggressively and forthrightly” replace normal lending channels for businesses that have temporarily closed due to the pandemic. He says “there can also be a good rebound” and that the Fed is working to “ensure that it is as vigorous as possible,” adding that “the virus is going to dictate the timetable.”

Watch the 12 minute interview

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COVID-19 to hit state budget hard

The state was facing a $7 billion deficit going into the 2020-2021 budget, which is due next week, but with the coronavirus here, the financial shortfall is expected to be even greater.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, in Kingston on Wednesday, said he expects the short-term state budget dilemma to be more troublesome.

“By April 1st we have to come up with a spending plan for the coming year. That’s a very tall order for the legislature and the governor. These numbers are all speculative, but we have to assume in the short run it’s a worst-case scenario,” he said.

DiNapoli said hopefully by this time next year the state will have rebounded, but for now, we will see “severe economic damage.”

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$2 trillion Emergency Aid Package to Pump Billions into New York Economy

The $2 trillion package agreed upon by the Senate will allocate an initial $40 billion to New York State including funds that will go directly to residents, others to business and still other money for hospitals. The Bill is expected to be approved by the House on Friday Morning and signed into law by President Trump Friday afternoon.

Read More

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Labor Department Employee Paid Sick Leave Resources

As part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has announced the FFCRA’s paid leave mandates will go into effect on April 1, 2020, for companies with fewer than 500 employees. They have also shared fact sheets for how this will affect employees, how it will affect employers and a helpful FAQ sheet for employers. The DOL has also requested that the public submit questions, concerns and recommendations for the implementation of the FFCRA. The NAM plans to submit recommendations, and we encourage you to provide feedback to help shape our suggestions.

This will be one of several COVID 19 Labor related subjects covered in our Webinar with Greenwald Doherty Monday March 31, at 1:00)

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COVID 19 Related Employment Law Issues Web Conference Essential HR Discussion with Greenwald Doherty

  • When: Monday, March 30, 2020 at 1 pm
  • Where: Online webinar/conference call
  • Cost: No fee to participate

Upon Registering your confirmation email will include phone and login information. If you do not receive a confirmation email please contact abutler@councilofindustry.org for the information.

Register here

 Manufacturers are have a great deal to consider as they deal with providing benefits to their employees during the COVID 19 pandemic. This web conference is designed to help answer many of the questions you have regarding state and federal regulations and the labor and employment laws covering the management of benefits during this crisis. Through this discussion with three partners at Greenwald Doherty, participants will learn about best practices for managing the workforce, workplace safety and employer options concerning sick time, FMLA PFL, salary reductions and layoffs.

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New York Bans Racial Discrimination Based on Hair Texture or Style

By Edward Kowalski, Human Resources Director, Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions, a Council of Industry Associate Member

Both the New York State Human Rights Law and Dignity for All Students Act were expanded last Friday to ban race discrimination based on “natural hair or hairstyles,” including, but not limited to, “braids, locks and twists.”  The law, called the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, takes effect immediately.

The change bans schools and businesses from having policies on hair that largely impact minorities.  Supporters of the expansion say minorities often face discrimination that is cloaked as criticism of their hair texture or style.  Black women are reportedly 1.5 times more likely to have reported being sent home from work because of their hair.  Staff Line will be reviewing all Client addendums and all employers should review their handbooks and policies to ensure that any grooming policies are compliant and up to date.

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2019 NYS Legislative Session Wrap Up

By Tiffany Latino-Gerlock, Director of Government Relations and Communications at MACNY, The Manufacturers Association & MANY (The Manufacturers Alliance of New York State) 

The 2019 Legislative Session wrapped up in Albany at the end of June with a flurry of activity and hundreds of bills passing before lawmakers adjourned for the summer and headed home to their district offices.

Below is an overview report from The Manufacturers Alliance of New York of some of the new measures that state legislators passed this session that may have an impact on your company and its operations. If you have any questions about these bills, or the overall 2019 Legislative Session, please contact Tiffany Latino-Gerlock, Director of Government Relations and Communications at MACNY, The Manufacturers Association & MANY (The Manufacturers Alliance of New York State) at 315-474-4201 ext. 13 or at tiffanylatinog@macny.org.

New Measures:

Permanent Property Tax Cap – a tax cap that places a limit on the growth of school property taxes at two percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. MANY has long supported and advocated for a permanent property tax cap.

Expansion of the MWBE Program – legislation that reauthorizes the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program and extends the provisions of law relating to the participation of MWBEs in state contracts for the program to continue. The legislation increases the “Personal Net Worth” cap from $3.5 million to $15 million.

Pay Equity in the Workplace – package of bills that expands the definition of “equal pay for equal work” to prohibit unequal pay based on a protected class for all substantially similar work. It also includes a salary history ban prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary history when determining the wages of a prospective employee.

Women on Corporate Boards Study – legislation that requires the department of state, in collaboration with the department of taxation and finance, to conduct a study on the number of women directors who serve on each board of directors of domestic and foreign corporations authorized to do business in NYS.

Small Business Tax Credit – legislation to establish a small business tax credit for a company that employs a disabled person for the duration of six months and who works a minimum of thirty-five hours per week. The amount of credit per hired person shall range between five thousand to twenty-five thousand dollars.

Workforce Development Funding – $750,000 secured in the 2019-20 State Budget for the Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP) to continue. MANY and Alliance Partners worked hard from the start of budget negotiations to ensure that this funding was included in the final budget.

Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act – legislation that enacts the CLCPA requiring reductions in statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 60% of 1990 levels by 2030 and 15% of 1990 levels by 2050. It also creates the Climate Action Council that will be comprised of various stakeholders, including Energy-Intensive Trade Exposed Industries (EITEs), to help develop a plan on how the state will achieve an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. From the beginning of this legislative session, MANY and many of our members strongly advocated for changes to the original proposal to help protect manufacturers and for EITES to have a seat at the table during the scoping plan process. Furthermore, EITEs will be a part of the working transition group that will advise the council on issues for workforce development, training, and energy-efficient measures.

Next Year’s Priorities:

Support – Though we didn’t see the full passage of a bill that MANY has long championed for, which would provide a zero percent tax rate for all manufacturers, we are pleased to report that it advanced in the State Senate, unanimously passing the Budget and Revenue Committee.

Support – Continued and increased funding for the Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP) to help grow a larger network of registered apprenticeships at companies throughout the Hudson Valley and statewide.

Oppose – Also not approved this session was a bill that would mandate a prevailing wage on almost all construction projects in NYS that receive any state, regional, or local financial support. Earlier in the year, MANY joined a coalition of business, building, affordable housing, construction, health care, and economic development groups to oppose the bill and voice concern with its potential to halt future economic growth. We will continue to track any movement on this proposal.

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