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COVID 19 Update 28.1

Smart Cash Flow Forecasting

Our Friends and Associate Members PKF O’Connor Davies write that financial executives and managers use cash flow forecasting as a tool to manage their business and project investment rates of return. In a “normal” business environment, often they run forecasts quarterly or annually and operating history is often a good guide. But in a “COVID-19 World,” cash becomes dear and there’s a domino effect.

In addition, many executives are finding it difficult to forecast the duration of this crisis and its tail. As financial professionals know, revenue under accrual accounting does not necessarily translate into cash. And of course, an organization has more control over when it times its payments than when its customers pay.

Read More


EEOC Directs Employers to Watch for Bias Amid Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has warned employers to prevent and correct discrimination, harassment or intimidation against Asian Americans or employees of Asian descent. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against this type of improper treatment.

Full Story: HR Dive


Why You Need to Take the Long View on Wages, Benefits

Many companies need to take steps to cut costs, but now is not the time for knee-jerk responses and short-sighted plans for compensation, says Amanda Wethington of Korn Ferry. Consider staff rotations, deferring salary increases, providing mental health support and making employee safety a top priority.

Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership


Congress, Fed to Support Small Business Program

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked Congress to add $250 billion to a small business coronavirus program that has been flooded with loan applications, The Washington Post (subscription) reports.

“President Trump said banks have processed $70 billion in taxpayer-backed loans for 250,000 small businesses since Friday, as companies seek emergency help to deal with the enormous business disruption caused by the pandemic.”

“Republicans will try to advance the matter through Congress immediately. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he hoped to pass the cash infusion through the Senate on Thursday.”

In related news, the Federal Reserve will help finance loans through the small business lending program, The Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

“The move will free up financial firms to make more loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program, part of a $2.2 trillion economic relief package President Trump signed last month.”

“The Fed said that to facilitate more lending to small businesses, it would establish a facility that offers term financing backed by PPP loans. It said additional details would be announced later this week.”


Treasury Issues FAQs for PPP

Treasury’s Frequently Asked Questions for the Payroll Protection Program offer some guidance to applicants and lenders alike.

Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequenty-Asked-Questions

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COVID 19 Update 28

Government and Businesses Turn Attention to Eventual Reopening of $22 Trillion U.S. Economy

Once social distancing slows coronavirus pandemic, tough questions follow over how to get the nation back to work: ‘It isn’t like a light switch on and off’

With some preliminary signs that infections from the virus are slowing, the whole nation is hopeful to get back to business as soon as possible. But a host of questions arise: Under what conditions should people be allowed back to work and stay-at-home orders be lifted? How will people at work be monitored for reinfection or antibodies to prevent a resurgence of the deadly virus? Does it all happen at once or is it staggered? Who is in charge of the effort?

New York, the state hit hardest by the pandemic, is looking to join with New Jersey and Connecticut on a unified reopening approach. “We cannot restart life as we knew it without testing,” Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted Tuesday.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, which has the second-most Covid-19 deaths, said the resumption of economic activity would be “slow and careful, because the last thing we’re going to need is going too quickly.… That’s the equivalent, I think, of throwing gasoline on the fire.”

Read More at WSJ (subscription)


Plans to Reopen Economy Depend on Testing

Bloomberg Reports The White House is developing plans to get the U.S. economy back in action that depend on testing far more Americans for the coronavirus than has been possible to date, according to people familiar with the matter.

 The effort would likely begin in smaller cities and towns in states that haven’t yet been heavily hit by the virus. Cities such as New York, Detroit, New Orleans and other places the president has described as “hot spots” would remain shuttered.

The administration sees rapid and widespread testing as a crucial step, one person familiar with the matter said, allowing public health authorities to better identify infected people, including those who don’t show symptoms, and isolate them from healthy people who could go about their businesses.

Read More at Bloomberg


New York Has Developed Antibody Testing Regime

The New York Department of Health has established a COVID-19 antibody testing regimen for use in the state, Governor Cuomo announced Tuesday.

It must be brought up to scale to be an effective tool to determine if persons who already contracted the virus and have recovered have the anti-bodies that can be used on others who currently have the deadly bug.

Cuomo said we must start planning for the post-virus economy and the best way to get there is to continue social distancing, but that depends upon everyone.

Read More at Mid-Hudson News


New York seeks private sector partners to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to scale and accelerate testing capacity.

Businesses interested in working with the state to manufacture these rapid tests on a large scale should contact Empire State Development at 212-803-3100 or COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov


Companies are Cutting 401(k) Matches Because of the Coronavirus

“We are getting more inquiries from plan sponsors about what their options are,” according to Jerry Patterson, senior vice president of retirement and income solutions at Principal Financial Group. “And in some cases, we are seeing actual action taken to amend plans to reduce or suspend the match. And we expect that, as this goes on, we’ll see more of that. It will come, I think in different degrees from sectors that are being impacted most severely.”

Read More in the Washington Post


Harris Beach Webinar: Update on COVID-19 Labor & Employment Law Issues

Information and legal guidance on how employers should address COVID-19 continues to evolve. Join our complimentary webinar for an overview and Q&A that addresses the latest legislation and legal considerations. Our labor and employment attorneys, with vast experience counseling the private and public sectors, will address:

  • Paycheck Protection Program and other relief for employers in the CARES Act
  • Unemployment Insurance in the pandemic
  • Employers’ FAQ’s on State and Federal leave laws and other COVID-19 issues

April 9, 2020, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. ET

Register Here


ULSTER COUNTY Webinar to Discuss SBA Loans and Other Financial Resources & Assistance  TODAY at noon

County Executive Pat Ryan, President & CEO of Ulster Savings Bank William C. Calderara, and Regional Director of Mid-Hudson Small Business Development Center Arnaldo Sehwerert will deliver information on the SBA Loan Programs

You MUST preregister to attend. 

When: Apr 8, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Ulster County Covid-19: Meeting for Businesses

Please click the link below to join the webinar (NOTE: Registration is required)

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QeiFDx1TSii2Xr7_CYifLQ


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COVID 19 Update 27.1

House, Senate Leaders Agree: Small-Business Loan Program Needs More Funding

The Wall Street Journal Reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said he would aim to approve more funding this week for a Paycheck Protection Program that Congress created last month to help firms hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Mr. McConnell said the $350 billion loan program would soon need more funds because of the huge demand for the federal assistance. He said he would work with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and the Trump administration to approve the funding this week. With lawmakers out of town, Mr. McConnell said he hoped to pass the measure through unanimous consent or a voice vote.

The House Small Business Committee added “Over the first few days, thousands of applications were processed for the program equaling billions of dollars going directly to support our nation’s 30 million small businesses.  This demand has made it clear that funds for the Paycheck Protection Program must be replenished.  After the Senate moves to approve Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s request for more funding, the House should move quickly to ensure small businesses can take full advantage of this vital program.”


Officials Struggle to Get Coronavirus-Relief Loans Out the Door

According to The Hill the administration is struggling to work out the kinks of a coronavirus small-business loan program after a chaotic start Friday.

Some banks say they are unable to access Small Business Administration (SBA) platforms, while industry leaders say there are unanswered questions about applying for loans and how to take advantage of them.  On Monday, the SBA loan processing platform crashed and was down for hours, preventing lenders from processing any loans, Bloomberg News reported. The system was back up Monday afternoon.

Anecdotally Council Members reported relatively smooth sailing through a process that varied by lending institution.  We did hear of one instance of  what appeared to be an arbitrary denial of a loan.

Read More at the Hill


OSHA Standards for COVID 19

Temporary Guidance on the enforcement of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard:


CI Webinar: OSHA Guidance and Best Practices for COVID-19 

  • When: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 1 pm
  • Where: Online webinar
  • Cost: No fee to participate

Manufacturers Methodically Hunt for a Cure

The Wall Street Journal reports that an increasing number of drug companies are at work on vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.

More than 140 experimental drug treatment and vaccines for the coronavirus are in development world-wide, most in early stages, including 11 already in clinical trials, according to Informa Pharma Intelligence.  Including drugs approved for other diseases, there are 254 clinical trials testing treatments or vaccines for the virus, many spearheaded by universities and government research agencies, with hundreds more trials planned.

Researchers have squeezed timelines that usually total months into weeks or even days.  For most treatments and vaccines it will be midsummer before human testing reveals whether they are safe to take, not to mention if they work.

Read More at the WSJ


Haas, Allendale Machinery Looking to Connect Shops to Manufacture Needed Supplies and Equipment

If you’re looking for shops in your area with available machines and production capabilities, or you have such capabilities to offer, Council member Allendale Machinery and Haas want to help you connect. Tell them the type of machining or manufacturing capabilities you’re looking for, and what you’re looking to produce, and they’ll try to connect you with shops offering what you need, so you can work together.

There is no better network of qualified machine shops than the worldwide community of Haas owners.

Connect Here

 

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COVID 19 Update 27

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Winston Churchill

We were reminded of Churchill’s quote during yesterday’s briefing by Governor Cuomo in which he – cautiously – expressed optimism that New York may have reached the Apex of the pandemic.  This coupled with similar stories from Italy, Spain and France put us in mind of Churchill who was speaking of the Allied victory at El Alamein in North Africa and went on to say “Henceforth Hitler’s Nazis will meet equally well armed, and perhaps better armed troops. Hence forth they will have to face in many theatres of war that superiority … which they intended to use as an instrument for convincing all other peoples that all resistance to them was hopeless….”

The war lasted 3 more years.  Governor Cuomo as asked for at least 3 more weeks to gain the upper hand on our enemy, the coronavirus.  Our sacrifices are real and their full measure will not be known for many years, however, they must be made to ensure victory.  Perhaps, if we are able to remain vigilant for these next several weeks, we will look back and say that this was our “Finest hour.”


GM Rallies Manufacturers to Produce Masks

General Motors is recruiting 600 suppliers to manufacture medical face masks and providing them with specifications on the necessary equipment, materials and processes. “In a few days, the company’s seat belt and interior trim experts became experts in manufacturing face masks,” says GM’s Karsten Garbe. GM expects to have 20,000 masks ready for delivery by Wednesday. Once the line is running at full speed, it will be able to produce up to 50,000 masks every day — or up to 1.5 million masks a month, according to GM

Read More at CNBC


Manufacturer Changes Shifts, Deliveries to Protect Workers

Like pretty much every Council of Industry member that remains open as an essential business, California-based electronics manufacturer Green Circuits remains open and has assuaged employee fears by removing shift overlap, changing how deliveries and other visitors access the facility, and communicated in multiple languages to encourage employees to keep coming in. One worker on each shift is dedicated toward cleaning surfaces.

There are a few good ideas in this article at Reuters


Council of Industry Will Host a Series of County Based Manufacturing CEO Online Discussions – Ulster is April 9th

As this crisis continues to unfold the Council of Industry is using all its resources to keep its members up to date with the latest information and resources to keep their employees safe and their businesses operating.

 We will host small online discussions manufacturing CEO’s.  Harold King will share the latest updates from ESD and our other regional partners and facilitate a conversation with participants. We hope these discussions will also provide our members an opportunity to share common experiences and establish best practices. We would love to hear from you.

If you are an Manufacturing Leader and want to participate contact jhansen@councilofindustry.org to reserve your spot and receive login credentials.

This small group discussion is part of our effort to gather insight into your experiences and provide better assistance.

  • Ulster County Thurs 4/9 – 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm
  • Dutchess/Columbia  Tues 4/14 – 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm
  • Orange/Rockland Wed 4/15 – 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm
  • Westchester/Putnam Thurs 4/16 – 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

The Council of Industry is Offering FREE Job Postings to ALL Hudson Valley Manufacturers During the Month of April

While many Council Members and Hudson Valley Manufacturers are being forced to reduce their workforce, others are finding it increasingly difficult to find enough people in key positions.  To assist you few that are facing this challenge we are offering free posts on our job board www.HVMfgJobs.com.

All jobs are distributed to over 100 job boards including: Google Jobs, Zip Recruiter, College Job Boards, Hot Jobs, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc.

To learn more and to post your job email Johnnieanne Hansen jhansen@councilofindustry.org

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COVID 19 Update 26.1

Cuomo Extends PAUSE to April 29th

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he would extend the statewide “PAUSE” order, along with school closures, through April 29 because, he says, there is evidence that social distancing is working. And now is not the time to let up.

“I know that’s a negative for many, many reasons,” Cuomo said on Monday in his daily briefing. “I know what it does to the economy. But I said from day one I’m not going choose between public health and the economy.”

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SBA and Treasury Have Made Improvements to Their Respective Websites Related to the Paycheck Protection Program

The SBA has made much needed improvements to their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) webpage, These improvements include a searchable lender directory.

US Department of the Treasury has set up a webpage with helpful guidance on the PPP for lenders and borrowers which can be found here.

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Workers Afraid to Return to Factories Amid Pandemic

Bloomberg Reports that companies trying to reopen factories that have closed because of the coronavirus pandemic are encountering resistance from workers who fear infection while at the workplace. Some workers are demanding masks, safety gear and extra cleaning.

Read the Story and Bloomberg

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IRS Guidance on Tax Credits and the Impact of ACA Look-Back Measurements Due to COVID 19

Our Friends and Associate Members at Rose & Kiernan Insurance provide these 2 informative articles.  The first on IRS Guidance on tax credits for paid leave and the second on the look back measurement method for determining ACA status.

IRS guidance on tax credits for COVID-19 paid leave

Look-back measurement method and COVID-19

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Coronavirus Outbreak Sends Consumer Expectations Plummeting

The New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data released results from its March 2020 Survey of Consumer Expectations, which provides information on consumers’ economic expectations and behavior. The March survey, which was fielded between March 2 and 31, records a substantial deterioration in financial and economic expectations, including sharp declines in household income and spending growth expectations.

Read More

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Empire Center: NYS Department of Health Publishes Age and County Data

Manufacturers tend to be numbers people who appreciate a good graphic display of data.  The folks at the Empire Center do too and they have developed a series of graphs to illustrate some interesting facts.

 

For example the data confirm that the virus is concentrated in the New York City metropolitan area, with the city itself accounting for almost three-quarters of the 3,565 deaths through Friday. When adjusted for population, however, the death rates in the neighboring counties of Nassau and Westchester have been almost as high as the city’s, with Rockland and Suffolk not far below.

Read More at the Empire Center

 

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COVID 19 Update 26

NAM Economist Dr. Chad Moutray’s Monday Economic Report

  • Unemployment Rates
  • Sentiment Data
  • Orders
  • More

Monday Economic Report 0406 2020

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State Shutdowns Have Taken at Least a Quarter of U.S. Economy Offline

Eight in 10 U.S. counties are under lockdown orders, according to a study, and they represent nearly 96% of national output

The Wall Street Journal Reports that at least one-quarter of the U.S. economy has suddenly gone idle amid the coronavirus pandemic, an analysis conducted for The Wall Street Journal shows, an unprecedented shutdown of commerce that economists say has never occurred on such a wide scale.

The study, by the economic-analysis firm Moody’s Analytics, offers one of the most comprehensive looks yet at how much of the world’s largest economy has shut down in the past three weeks. It also analyzes counties big and small—from Manhattan to tiny Gilpin County, Colo.—to estimate how a concentration of government shutdown orders in the counties that produce a disproportionate share of the nation’s goods and services has weighed on the national picture.

Read More at the Wall Street Journal (Subscription) 

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MIT Study: Stronger Pandemic Response Yields Better Economic Recovery

Study of 1918 flu pandemic shows U.S. cities that responded more aggressively in health terms also had better economic rebounds.

With much of the U.S. in shutdown mode to limit the spread of the Covid-19 disease, a debate has sprung up about when the country might “reopen” commerce, to limit economic fallout from the pandemic. A new study co-authored by an MIT economist shows, taking care of public health first is precisely what generates a stronger economic rebound later.

The study, using data from the flu pandemic that swept the U.S. in 1918-1919, finds cities that acted more emphatically to limit social and civic interactions had more economic growth following the period of restrictions.

Read More

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CI Webinar: OSHA Guidance and Best Practices for COVID-19

  • When: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 1 pm
  • Where: Online webinar
  • Cost: No fee to participate

The Council of Industry and Catamount Consulting will host a webinar on Wednesday, April 8, at 1 pm on OSHA Guidance and Best Practices for COVID-19 with presenter Ron Coons, OHST, CSC, President of Greater Catskill Office of Catamount Consulting.

This webinar will cover:

  • What Coronavirus is and who is at risk
  • Regulatory requirements for protecting workers for both essential and non-essential workers
  • Best practices to minimize and prevent the spread of Coronavirus in your workplace
  • OSHA requirements for respiratory protection.

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 online

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FuzeHub Announces COVID-19 Manufacturing Grants

Six Companies will share a total of $400,000

Our Friends and Associate Member FuzeHub will provide COVID-19 Manufacturing Grants  designed to aid existing New York State small to medium-sized manufacturing companies that can meet prevailing FDA requirements and can quickly accelerate production of personal protective equipment and respiratory care equipment that has been depleted due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Learn More and Apply

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Hudson Valley is One Week Behind New York City’s Expected COVID Peak, Says Health Commissioner

Mid Hudson News Reports the coronavirus is expected to reach its peak in New York City in a week to 10 days and Orange County’s health commissioner predicts the Mid-Hudson Valley won’t be too far behind.

Dr. Irina Gelman expects the apex may reach our region later this month.

“Once we see New York City really peaking, we should be following closely, about a week behind, and after the fact, the numbers will plateau out for a while because of the lag in testing, because of a number of other factors,” she said. “But once it starts to plateau out, the first decline in numbers we see will be highly significant because once it starts slowly declining with new case numbers, that is when we are going to be headed for the downward slope, and that is where we want to be.”

Read More at Mid Hudson News

 

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COVID 19 Update 25

The FY 2021 Enacted State Budget

It goes without saying that this has been a tough fiscal year as the state battles the current COVID-19 pandemic. On April 2, a day after the budget deadline, the State Legislature passed a final FY2021 State Budget. Below you will find an overview report on some of the main budget bills that the Manufacturers Alliance had been monitoring for our member companies and organizations since the beginning of the year. If you have any further questions, please contact me at 315-474-4201 ext.13.

The Senate and Assembly have now adjourned after passage of the budget. It is unclear at this time when the State Legislature may reconvene in Albany this legislative session. We will keep you up to date on any further developments.

Read our summary of the FY 2021 Enacted State Budget

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Newly Available CARES Act Loans: 10 Things Small Businesses Need To Know

Most Readers of this blog will by now have a pretty good understanding of the SBA’s EIDL Loans and PPP program.  That said this article in Forbes offers a pretty simple summary and captures some of the issues related to implementation as well.

Read More in Forbes

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ESD Website Has Been Vastly Improved and Streamlined To Deal With Crisis

The Empire State Development (ESD) website: ESD has been streamlining their website.

    1. Newly updated section guiding folks through the SBA loan programs
    2. Paycheck Protection Program Overview and resources
    3. Regularly updated Business FAQ page
    4. A link to information on how companies can help New York State’s response to COVID-19 by selling supplies, re-purposing production, or donating space or materials

We find the FAQ section particularly helpful.

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President Trump ‘Thinking About’ Eco Panel as He Looks to U.S. Reopening

Bloomberg Reports that the President is “…thinking about it,” Trump said Saturday at a White House Press conference. “I continue to say, the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”

Trump early tweeted an endorsement of a plan offered by Dana Perino, former press secretary to President George W. Bush. Perino, suggested assembling “a nonpartisan/bipartisan mix of experts across industry sectors” who could advise the president about overcoming the economic difficulties stemming from harsh social distancing measures suggested by the federal government.

Perino said this group would complement the team led by Vice President Mike Pence, which includes health, national security and emergency preparedness officials.

Read More at Bloomberg

 

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COVID 19 Update 24

Confusion surrounds launch of $349B in small-business loans

The Hill Reports that banks and industry groups say a new rescue lending program for small businesses is off to a rocky start and may fall far short of what firms need to stay afloat during the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration (SBA) on Friday rolled out applications for small businesses to receive forgivable loans for payroll and other basic expenses amid the economic toll of the coronavirus.

But banks, credit unions and other lenders say the $349 billion program lacks clear guidelines to handle a looming wave of loan applications that could overwhelm the system while leaving some firms in the lurch.

Read More in the Hill

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SBA Adminstrator Jovita Carranza Tweeted Last Night that $5.4 Billion Had Been Lent

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Foreign Owned Small Businesses Are Now Eligible for PPP

Many Council Members Are Based in Other Nations Including The UK, Germany, Japan and France.  Early indications were that these entities would not be eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program, however, the criteria have changed and now is now based on the resident location of the employees.

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Harris Beach WEBINAR COVID-19 Aid for Small Businesses: What You Need to Know Scheduled for April 6, 2020

Register Here 

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U.S. Payrolls Unsurprisingly Dropped in March – April Will Be Worse

This Labor Department data is from early in the month and doesn’t reflect the current state of the economy under the full brunt of COVID-19.

Manufacturing employment fell by 18,000 in March, NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray tells us. Meanwhile, here’s the overall number from CNBC:

“Nonfarm payrolls dropped by 701,000 in March, according to Labor Department numbers released Friday that begin to show the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus crisis.”

Unemployment: The report reveals an unemployment rate of 4.4% for the whole economy, but Moutray estimates the real number is now about 10%.

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CI Webinar: OSHA Guidance and Best Practices for COVID-19

  • When: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 1 pm
  • Where: Online webinar
  • Cost: No fee to participate

The Council of Industry and Catamount Consulting will host a webinar on Wednesday, April 8, at 1 pm on OSHA Guidance and Best Practices for COVID-19 with presenter Ron Coons, OHST, CSC, President of Greater Catskill Office of Catamount Consulting.

This webinar will cover:

  • What Coronavirus is and who is at risk
  • Regulatory requirements for protecting workers for both essential and non-essential workers
  • Best practices to minimize and prevent the spread of Coronavirus in your workplace
  • OSHA requirements for respiratory protection.

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 online

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CI Podcast – the Week that Was

As the COVID 19 crises unfolds the Council of Industry is using all its resources to keep its members up to date with the latest information and resources to keep their employees safe and their businesses operating. This podcast is one of those resources and part of those efforts.

In this episode Johnnieanne Hansen, Vice President of the Council of Industry and Harold King, President discuss the events of the week of March 28th – April 3rd surrounding the COVID 19 pandemic, its effect on Hudson Valley manufacturers and their employees, and the Council of Industry’s response.

Listen Here 

 

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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 20.1

McKinsey: Manufacturers Can Follow 5 Stages to Handle the Pandemic

Automakers and other manufacturers should follow the process of resolve, resilience, return, re-imagination and reform, according to this McKinsey analysis. “In addition to dealing with the significant societal changes coming in the next few months, industrial companies may want to consider strategies for addressing some of the persistent issues affecting the sector to avoid the next crisis,” the authors write.

Read the Full Story at McKinsey

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From Today’s Webinar and ESD – Updates Related to the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

  • EIDL Applications– the EIDL application process has been simplified and a new application portal is live on the SBA website right now: sba.gov/disaster. Businesses that successfully submitted an application or uploaded documents late last week via the temporary document upload portal do not have to take additional action as their applications have been received for processing. Anyone that was unable to complete an application on the prior application portal AND/OR did not upload their application to the document upload portal, should restart their application via the new portal.
  • EIDL Advances­- also available now are advances of up to $10,000 on EIDL loans. The form is part of the new EIDL application process above. If approved, these funds can be used for payroll and other operating expenses and will be forgiven. All applicants who successfully submitted an application prior to yesterday received an email notifying them of this.

This Advance may be available even if your EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven.

Small Business Development Centers can help you navigate the system and complete the application. Find your nearest SBDC here 

If you wish to apply for the Advance on your EIDL, please visit www.SBA.gov/Disaster as soon as possible to fill out a new, streamlined application. In order to qualify for the Advance, you need to submit this new application even if you previously submitted an EIDL application. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application.

Paycheck Protection Program/Stimulus questions:

  • PPP and stimulus related changes will be available in the coming days as SBA completes the rulemaking process, updates procedures/systems, and then onboards lenders. You should complete the EIDL application in the interim. Businesses may benefit from both, so long as they don’t use them for the same purposes/time periods. No duplication of the use of proceeds, in other words.

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Employers Seek Clarity for H-1B Compliance During COVID-19

Employers of H-1B workers are subject to U.S. Department of Labor regulations designed to protect the jobs of U.S. workers. Those regulations require that the H-1B worker perform his or her duties at one or more specific locations at which he or she must be paid at least the same wages as other similarly qualified U.S. workers. In addition, H-1B workers go out of status if their employment is terminated for any reason, subject to grace periods of between 10 and 60 days.

Read More at Our Friend and Associate Member Harris Beach 

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Survey Reveals Top Employer Concerns During COVID-19

Trying to decide whether to pay employees during absences related to COVID-19, was a top concern ( 89%) of respondents to a survey conducted by Littler, an employment law practice.

The report, COVID-19 Flash Survey Report was completed by more than 900 employers based in North America and with operations around the world.  

Read More at Industry Week

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COVID 19 Update 17

President Trump uses Defense Production Act to Require GM to Make Ventilators

President Trump on Friday used the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to produce ventilators to combat the coronavirus after days of hesitating to use the powers in the law.

The president in a statement said the federal government had abandoned negotiations with the automaker on ventilator production, complaining that the automaker was “wasting time.”

“Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course,” Trump said.

Read the Story at The Hill

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CI Podcast – the Week that Was

As the COVID 19 crises unfolds the Council of Industry is using all its resources to keep its members up to date with the latest information and resources to keep their employees safe and their businesses operating. This podcast is one of those resources and part of those efforts.

In this episode Johnnieanne Hansen, Vice President of the Council of Industry and Harold King, President discuss the events of the week of March 21st – 27th surrounding the COVID 19 pandemic, its effect on Hudson Valley manufacturers and their employees, and the Council of Industry’s response.

Listen Here 

Listen the Tuesday’ Episode Featuring Ertel/Alsop President and Council Board Chair George Quigley

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Our Partners at the National Association of Manufacturers are Working at the Federal Level to Support Manufacturing

Essential Business Designations and Credentialing Clarity

The NAM last week called on governors, mayors and other local leaders to give manufacturers essential business designations and credentialing. Yesterday, the NAM sent another letter, with the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joining, that called on the nation’s governors to take a uniform approach to essential business designations. We urged them to adopt the Department of Homeland Security’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. They are also calling for clarity and uniformity regarding documentation or credentialing for workers, businesses and their supply chains. The NAM continues to work with association partners (including the Council of Industry)to ensure you can continue supporting our nation during this critical time.

New York’s “ad hoc” approach to essential manufacturing is causing unnecessary disruptions in national and international supply chains.

EPA Issues COVID-19 Enforcement Discretion Policy

The Environmental Protection Agency announced a temporary enforcement discretion policy due to COVID-19 at the NAM’s request. The EPA’s guidance will help manufacturers navigate this evolving landscape, easing compliance uncertainties while ensuring the health and safety of employees, communities and the environment remain a top priority. Send us details of your reporting and monitoring challenges to ERP@nam.org.

NAM Helps Navigate International Trade and Supply Chain Issues

Also on the priority list, NAM is working to address policy and operational challenges impacting trade and supply chains for critical manufacturing products. The NAM is closely monitoring foreign export restrictions and bans on personal protective equipment, health products and other products during the COVID-19 response. We are identifying these country-specific restrictions for our members and sharing them through a tracking document here while also engaging with key stakeholders in the administration and on Capitol Hill to spur action on addressing priority trade barriers ( you can also email your supply chain challenges to hking@councilofindustry.org and he will for ward to NAM and the Department of Commerce.) Consistent with this, President Trump joined the leaders of other G20 countries with a joint statement pledging global cooperation and stressed the importance of minimizing disruptions to trade and global supply chains.

Contact the NAM’s Trade and Supply Chain team if you have questions about export restrictions or intelligence on new or potential export restrictions being imposed by foreign governments.

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NYS Needs Manufacturers Able to Make Critically Needed COVID-19 Supplies

ESD Has reorganized and prioritized its request for supplies and the new webpage is very helpful for those interested in helping.

New York State appreciates the manufacturers who are ready and able to retool to help in producing critically needed COVID-19 supplies—whether you are already making these supplies or need guidance for adapting to do so. We are also looking for manufacturers who can direct us to sources of these supplies. For manufacturers interested in making these supplies, please first review the detailed information below, including new guidance from the FDA and CDC. For most of the critically needed products, you will likely be required to obtain federal certification to begin manufacturing and sales. This page also details the critical medical supplies and personal protective equipment that are needed. Thank you for your help in this effort.

Visit the Site:

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COVID-19 and OSHA Reporting and Recordkeeping

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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 15.1

New York State Issues FAQs Regarding the New COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law

New York State recently published some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the COVID-19 paid sick leave law that was enacted last week. The FAQs clarify some aspects of the law that were not clear from the text of the statute and give some insight into the manner in which the law will be interpreted and enforced.

Read the FAQs

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FFCRA Poster Requirement Takes Effect 4/1
Employers should post Prominently.

FFCRA Poster

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SBA Provides Alternative Site for EIDL Applications to be Filed

As the EIDL applications continue to surge, our Office of Disaster Assistance has provided an alternate method for applicants to submit and upload forms while the application portal is down for maintenance.

Here’s the link to the new application page with instructions for uploading documents:  IMPORTANT: You may have to clear your browser cache if you receive an error accessing this page. The page has links to all of the relevant forms, and I’ve also attached them to this message.

SBA Alternative EIDL Application Site Information

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Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Economic Development Director Bridget Gibbons discuss what the County is doing to assist businesses during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Economic Development Director Bridget Gibbons discuss what the County is doing to assist businesses during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted by Westchester County Government on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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Cuomo: Uncertain Economy May Lead To Cuts In NYS Budget

WAMC Reports that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, facing a state budget deadline in less than a week, is out with a new proposal to try to cope as the state faces a multibillion dollar budget gap, and much uncertainty with much of the economy shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo says he wants to try something that’s never been done before. He wants to pass the budget by April 1, then update the state spending plan quarterly. He would revise the amounts paid out to school districts, local governments, health care providers and all others who depend on state funding, based on how much money the state actually has collected from revenues.

Read or Listen Here:

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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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COVID 19 Update 14.1

Deal Reached on $2T Coronavirus Stimulus: What It Includes for SMBs

The economic impact of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, prompted the Senate and the Trump administration to release a $2 trillion stimulus package intended to bolster businesses and individuals, as many Americans remain out of work because of the pandemic.

What’s in the coronavirus stimulus plan for small businesses?

Read More at Business News Daily

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SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to New York Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to New York small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on March 17, 2020.

NY_16346 EIDL Fact Sheet

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Business Council of New York State Offers an Excellent Explanation of State and Federal Leave Laws

We thank them for sharing!

Business Council of NY Guidance on Leave Laws

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Ventilator Manufacturers Need More Components

Companies such as Royal Philips want to make more ventilators to meet demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but they lack enough circuit boards and other parts to do so. US manufacturer Calumet Electronics has gotten orders for tens of thousands of the boards.

Read the Full Story at BNN 

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COVID 19 Update 14

Updated ESD Guidance on Essential Business

Empire State Development wants to reinforce several key messages:

·    If your business function is listed as essential, then there is nothing else you need to do. You do not need to contact ESD for affirmative documentation or email confirmation and, due to volume, ESD will be unable to formally confirm to essential businesses that they are, in fact, essential. Given that you are already essential, you will not receive any further communication from ESD.

·    With respect to business or entities that operate or provide both essential and non-essential services, supplies or support, only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the restriction. (Our understanding remains that if your operation is going to great lengths to keep employees safe and distanced “business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support” will be broadly interpreted.)

ESD Updated Guidance on Essential Businesses 2020 0324

ESD Essential Business FAQs

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White House, Senate Reach Deal on $2 Trillion Stimulus Package

The Hill Reports that the deal includes $500 billion for a major corporate liquidity program through the Federal Reserve, $367 billion for a small business loan program, $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments.

It will also give a one-time check of $1,200 to Americans who make up to $75,000. Individuals with no or little tax liability would receive the same amount, unlike the initial GOP proposal that would have given them a minimum of $600.

Read More

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Employment Law Issues: The Council of Industry is Teaming Up With Greenwald Doherty, LLP For An Essential HR Discussion Led by Joel Greenwald

Monday, March 30, 1 pm  Online Web Conference – Audio Only

Register Here

Or email abutler@councilofindustry.org

 

We are living in interesting times, with, it seems, daily changes and challenges for employers under the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses are trying to do more with less—or are shuttering altogether where restrictions have been imposed on their operations. Many employment laws are implicated in the down-sizing, right-sizing, furloughing and laying off being contemplated and implemented. Wage and hour laws, lay-off notice laws, discrimination laws and others can impact employer actions. While trying to act swiftly to preserve business operations, employers need to be sure to comply with the various applicable laws.

Visit Greenwald Doherty’s blog Employment Law and the Current COVID-19 Crisis for additional information.

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Ulster County Businesses Are invited to Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan & the Office of Economic Development’s Zoom Webinar: March 26, 2020 at 12PM

Please join Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan and representatives from the departments of Economic Development, Tourism and Employment & Training on Thursday, March 26 at 12 PM via Zoom Webinar!
Zoom Registration

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan will give you the latest updates and you will have a chance to ask your business questions to people who can provide you with answers. Information about essential businesses, Unemployment Insurance, possible grant and loan support are among the topics being covered. To ask a question in advance please email: oed@co.ulster.ny.us

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Federal Updates

Labor Department Asks for Input on Paid Leave Implementation

The U.S. Department of Labor will be hosting an online dialogue to provide employers and employees with an opportunity to offer their perspectives as the department develops compliance assistance materials related to the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. As a reminder, the FFCRA requires all employers with fewer than 500 employees to offer up to 12 weeks of paid leave for absences related to COVID-19. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, March 29. You can provide input here.

Overview of Small Business Administration Loan Program

The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Read the NAM’s overview of the SBA loan process and other programs to aid in businesses’ response to the COVID-19 crisis here.

Overview of Financial Regulators’ Response to COVID-19

Federal financial regulators have taken aggressive steps to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, designed to free up capital and liquidity for small businesses across the country. The NAM has prepared an overview of these programs and regulatory changes as a resource for our members. Read the overview here.

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COVID 19 Update 13.1

Negotiators Near Accord on U.S. Stimulus Package to Combat Coronavirus

An estimated $2 trillion in funds would help buffer the American economy from the consequences of the pandemic.

The Wall Street Journal is Reports that lawmakers, administration officials, and aides said issues surrounding $500 billion in industry assistance loans and expanded unemployment insurance had largely been resolved, leaving a narrow set of unresolved items left to agree to.

The Senate could move to quickly vote on the package later in the day, if an agreement is reached.

 “I believe we’re on the 5-yard line,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said on the Senate floor. “I hope today is the day this body will get it done.”

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CI Podcast – George Quigley, President of the Ertel Alsop and Chairman of the Council of Industry Board of Directors on keeping employees safe and operations open during the COVID 19 Pandemic

Listen here

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Coronavirus Triggers Hiring Surge at Some Firms

Some businesses are gaining customers because of the coronavirus pandemic and are recruiting thousands of workers to meet demand. These companies include supermarkets, pharmacies, takeout restaurants, delivery companies and medical-equipment manufacturers.

Read More at CNN 

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Manufacturers, Distributors Shift Focus to Hospitals

Cleaning and health care distributors and manufacturers are prioritizing getting their products to hospitals and similar facilities ahead of other customers. Custom manufacturer and 3D printer Proto Labs is also focusing on “projects which are needed to equip our medical system to treat patients with COVID-19,” a company spokeswoman says.

This is also the Case with Council Member Belfor Property Restoration who is focusing all its efforts to support healthcare facilities and first responders. 

Read More at Digital Commerce 360

 

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COVID 19 Update 12.1

Update on NYS Request for Critical Supplies

The Council of Industry has received many offers from members offering to help with the manufacture of medical and PPE supplies.

ESD is looking primarily for:

  • Companies With an existing supply for FDA or other industry-approved/standard personal protection equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers (N95 masks, gowns, etc.)
  • Companies with an existing supply of FDA approved ventilators
  • Companies who already have or can secure on their own FDA or other industry-approved PPE specs and can begin producing this ASAP.
  • Companies who already have or can secure FDA-approved ventilator specs and begin production

If  you can provide any of the above (only if you can provide any of the above) contact ESD

General offers from companies are appreciated by ESD. However, they are swamped and they would like the Council of Industry to sort and organize them to make it easier to prioritize them.  We will be taking the offers to date and placing them in a spreadsheet provided by ESD.  We will do the same for any new offers you send us.

If you would like to make a General Offer please email Johnnieanne Hansen

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Our Good Friends at the Construction Contractors Association Compiled this Comprehensive list of Government Resources Related to Coronavirus and Its Impacts

Government Coronavirus Resources

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DHS announces flexibility in requirements related to Form I-9 compliance

Due to precautions being implemented by employers and employees related to physical proximity associated with COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it will exercise discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.

Read More

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NAM/ SHRM Present COVID 19 Webinar

On Wednesday, March 25th at 11:00am EST, SHRM will be holding a joint presentation with the National Association of Manufacturers: “COVID-19 & Manufacturing Operations: Immediate Best Practices. Learn about the steps manufacturers are taking to attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Register now.

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Six Economic Consequences of COVID-19

The economic and social impacts of COVID-19 are widespread and profound, so much so that it will take a long time to catalogue and assess them in detail. But a number of things with important economic consequences are coming into focus, starting with the fact that near-total shutdowns are compounding overall economic damage. They need to be more targeted.

Read the ITIF Commentary

 

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COVID 19 Update 12

NYS Department of Labor Shared Work Program

Many Council members are familiar with New York State’s Department of Labor’s Shared Work Program, having accessed it in the past.  Shared Work helps businesses manage business cycles and seasonal adjustments. Shared Work lets businesses keep trained staff and avoid layoffs. Employees can receive partial unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible.

More information can be found on this program here, including an example and step-by-step instructions:

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New York Small Businesses are Eligible for SBA Disaster Loans

Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private not-for-profits in all Mid-Hudson counties are now eligible to apply for SBA economic injury disaster loans (EIDL).

The SBA can provide up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred. Your loan amount will be based on your actual economic injury and your company’s financial needs. The interest rate on EIDLs will not exceed 4 percent per year. The term of these loans will not exceed 30 years. The repayment term will be determined by your ability to repay the loan.

More information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans can be found here:

Some key resources:

SBA Disaster Loan Application:

If you have questions, you can reach out directly to the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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COVID-19: Employee Benefits Consideration

Associate Member Bond Schoeneck and King (BSK) offer this benefits guide for employers

The swift impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in New York and across the country has forced employers to evaluate the impact of the virus on their workforces. This information memo addresses some of the more important employee benefit plan issues for employers to consider in connection with COVID-19.

Read More

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NAM Monday Economic Report for March 23, 2020

Weekly initial unemployment claims jumped from 211,000 to 281,000, the highest level since September 2017. This figure will spike dramatically this week, likely approaching 1 million, with more businesses being forced to close or reduce activity and both firms and consumers pulling back on spending outside of the home. The data released last week foreshadowed the economic damage that will likely emerge over the coming weeks.

NAM Monday Economic Report 2020-0323

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COVID 19 Update 7.1

Cuomo: “no business can have more than 50 percent of their workforce report to work” Does This Include Manufacturing? We want to know too.

Update:

Latest Guidance includes the following language “Exceptions Made for Essential Services — Including Shipping Industry, Warehouses, Grocery and Food Production, Pharmacies, Media, Banks and Related Financial Institutions, and Businesses Essential to Supply Chain”

Still seeking further clarification.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday a statewide mandate that no business can have more than 50 percent of their workforce report to work outside of their home.

During a news conference in Albany, Gov. Cuomo said some of the exemptions to this mandate will be food services and food delivery services, pharmacies, health care organizations, and shipping companies. A full list of essential services will be released soon. 

5:00 p.m. Still no update from the Governor’s office –

We are making the case that you are not only essential but that your facilities are already in keeping with the intent of the order by maintaining adequate space for workers to keep social distance.

While we continue to make the case for manufacturers to be exempt I suggest you begin planning to operate at 50% staffing.  Ideas to get there….

  • Expand the number of people working from home.
  • Multiple shifts (if your headcount is 100 and you can get 20 working from home and then do 2 shifts of 50 during the day you have met the requirements.

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New York State Passes New Emergency Paid Leave for COVID-19 and Paid Sick Leave

From The Business Council BCNYS.org

Yesterday the New York State Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a bill that adopts two separate and distinct sick leave programs: 1) A provision that provides paid time off for employees impacted by the COVID-19 virus and; 2) A new, permanent law requiring all employers to provide sick leave to their employees. You can find the bill in its entirety here. Details are provided below.

First, emergency paid sick leave for an employee under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the department of health, local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such an order due to COVID-19. These provisions would be effective immediately upon the Governor’s signature. In this case, employers of 99 or less will be obligated to:

  • Notify employees of the availability of leave as described below;
  • To provide job protected leave as described below;
  • Provide documents required for that employee to apply for Paid Family Leave (PFL) and New York State Short Term Disability (DBL);
  • Employers of 100 or more only need to provide paid sick leave as required.

Provisions of the bill include:

  • Employers of 10 or fewer as of January 1, 2020 must provide unpaid sick time during an employee’s period of ordered quarantine or isolation, except those employers with net income of more than $1 million, which must provide five days of paid sick leave;
  • Employers of 11 to 99 must provide five days of paid sick leave;
  • Employers of 100 or more must provide up to fourteen days of paid sick leave;
  • Public employers must provide at least fourteen days of paid sick leave;
  • Benefits would not be available to employees deemed asymptomatic or not yet diagnosed with any medical condition and is physically able to work, through remote access or other means.

This leave is job protected and employees are, interestingly, not eligible to use this leave if the employee is returning from personal travel to one of the destinations on the CDC travel advisory list. These employees would be able to use any available employer provided leave time or, absent that, unpaid sick leave for the duration of the quarantine.

For employers of 99 employees or less, should an employee’s period of quarantine or isolation extend beyond available sick time as described above, the employee would be able to apply for Paid Family Leave (PFL) and New York State Short Term Disability (DBL) concurrently – as you know this is not possible under current law. Benefit amounts would be a combination of payments from PFL and from DBL up to 100% of an employee’s average weekly wage for those employees earning up to $150,000 per year. For example:

  • An employee making $150,000 per year ($2,884.62 per week) may be eligible for:
    • $840.70 payment from PFL (60% of average weekly wage to the 2020 maximum benefit amount), and
    • $2,043.92 payment from DBL (a significant – temporary increase over the current maximum of $170/wk.)

Additionally, there is no waiting period for the commencement of DBL payments under these circumstances. PFL benefits may also be used to care for a dependent minor child under such a mandatory quarantine of isolation order; this provision does not apply in cases where the child’s school is closed and requires daycare.

The law also provides for the creation of a risk adjustment pool to help stabilize the DBL/PFL insurance carrier industry. Also, if federal COVID-19 benefits are approved, these state benefits would only apply if they would provide employee benefits in excess of what is available under federal law. Currently the US Congress is considering legislation that may expand the Family and Medical Leave Act and/or require paid sick days during the COVID-19 crisis.

The second component of this bill is a new, permanent employer mandate to provide job protected sick leave. This would take effect January 1, 2021. These provisions include:

  • Employees are to accrue sick leave at a rate of one hour per thirty hours worked;
  • Employers of less than five employees must provide up to forty hours of unpaid sick leave in a calendar year, except those with net income of more than $1 million, which must provide up to forty hours of paid sick leave;
  • Employers of 11 to 99 must provide forty hours of paid sick leave each calendar year;
  • Employers of 100 or more must provide fifty-six hours of paid sick leave each year;
  • Eligible uses are for care for the employee’s own mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition or of the employee’s “family member;” for diagnosis or care of medical issues; or for absences related to domestic violence, sexual offenses, stalking and/or human trafficking
  • “Family member” is defined as an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild or grandparent, and the child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner;
  • Sick time can be used “upon oral or written request of an employee.”
  • Employers can set reasonable minimum increments of use, no to exceed four hours;
  • Unused sick leave may be carried over into the following calendar year. Employers can limit the use of sick leave to forty hours (employers of less than one hundred) or fifty-six hours per year (employers of one hundred or more.);
  • Employers are prohibited from discriminating against or taking any retaliatory action against any employee exercising their rights under this law;
  • Employers with leave policies that encompass the amount of sick time required under this statute are not required to provide additional sick time as long as sick time may be used in the same way as proscribed in the statute;
  • Upon request, employers are required to provide employees with a summary of their sick leave accrued and used in the current and previous calendar;
  • The bill preempts all municipal sick leave ordinances other than New York City;
  • Employers must maintain six years of records on sick leave provided to all employers.

As you can see, there is plenty of activity on both the state and federal level aimed at protecting the income of employees impacted by the coronavirus. We will keep you informed of these and any other relevant changes as they occur. Be sure to register for our webinar (below) where we will be discussing this new state law and recent federal developments.

 

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COVID-19: Taking Action & Gaining Control in Times of Extreme Crisis

domino blocks
By Tony Fareed, Managing Partner of 360accel

Our sense of normalcy is out the window and our lives seem to be changing daily, if not hourly. During times like these, business leaders will rightly turn their focus toward the health and safety of their families, friends, employees, partners, and broader communities.

For those of us who regularly watch the financial news networks, we’ve seen a daily onslaught of increasingly bad news that is impacting nearly every industry and the global economy. Organizations of all types and sizes are scrambling to respond to these unprecedented conditions by implementing business continuity plans.

Senior management teams are doing their best to manage through the unknowns and take appropriate steps to stabilize their businesses. Strong relationships with key partners, customers, bankers, and advisors are proving to be invaluable for many businesses as they work through these tough times.

Unfortunately, none of us have a crystal ball that provides clarity on important questions:

·       How long will this crisis last?

·       What will the “new normal” be on the other side of the crisis?

·       What short, medium, and long-term impacts will this have on my business?

·       Will we have sufficient cash flow and access to capital to sustain the business during the crisis?

The good news is that, at some point, COVID-19 will eventually be under control and economic activity will begin to improve. Unfortunately, some businesses may not make it through the crisis, but others will stay afloat by effectively reacting to the changing economic conditions.

Given the environment, some business leaders may be lulled into a “wait-and-see” mode, finding it difficult to do anything beyond reacting to daily pressures. But even in these hectic times, there are certain actions that management teams can efficiently undertake to be better equipped to make tough decisions during the likely treacherous road ahead.

Take Action / Gain Control

As you work to keep your business functioning, allocating time and resources to plan for the journey to the “new normal” may not be on your radar screen. However, prioritizing such a plan can help define likely scenarios and identify new strategies and tactics to mitigate risks and pursue potential opportunities.

Here are five actions you can remotely take with your team to formulate flexible planning, which could help navigate challenges during the coming weeks and months. If you haven’t already subscribed to a video collaboration tool, such as GoToMeeting or Zoom, go sign up!

1.       Define Likely Scenarios (Possibilities, Not Predictions): Use a 4-quadrant scenario analysis technique to define four unique scenarios that can be independently analyzed. Plot a pair of the most relevant uncertainties (one included on a horizontal line, the other on an intersecting vertical line). For example, manufacturers may want to apply low and high ranges for each of these two uncertainties: (1) access to goods, resources, and supply chain and (2) demand for their product(s). Another pair might be (1) access to adequate cash flow and capital and (2) access to a healthy workforce. Try different uncertainties to find the most appropriate pair for your business’ current situation.

 

2.       Ecosystem Analysis: Drill down on how each of the four scenario quadrants might impact your business and key market participants within your business’ ecosystem, such as suppliers, distributors, end-customers, competitors, lenders, regulators, etc. In addition to identifying potential cash flow related issues, this analysis can highlight areas for bolstered risk mitigation, as well as potential opportunities (e.g., new strategic partnerships, M&A, divestment, new products/services, etc.).

 

3.       Self-Assess / Team Alignment:  Put together a short 360° business self-assessment (i.e., a list of the most relevant aspects related to your business). Have select team members rank each item using a 3-point scale (e.g., weak/stable/strong) and provide short comments. These assessments (and perhaps more importantly, the team discussions around the assessments) should strengthen team alignment and uncover gaps and ideas that you may not be considering.

 

4.       Cash Flow Analysis: No doubt you have already started this analysis – consider bolstering what you have already done. Organize and analyze your historical performance and financial data as a basis to build a dynamic financial model with a variety of key variables/drivers that can be changed. This type of modeling tool can be used on an ongoing basis to quickly understand potential quantitative impacts under different scenarios and help you make informed decisions.

 

5.       Phone Early / Phone Often: Keep in touch with your bankers, customers, partners, advisors, and yes, consider reaching out to your competitors and other market participants. Information and the ability to collaborate with others will be invaluable.

Time and resources are in short supply, so the analyses and planning don’t need to be overly complex – keep it simple and stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish. While this work won’t change the powerful forces that are out of your control, it should empower you with flexible planning and the ability to make quicker, better informed decisions.  Don’t lose time – leverage your team and start laying the groundwork to take action where you can.

360accel is a specialized consulting platform with deep capabilities to help organizations anticipate and address risks, build stronger businesses, create value, and prepare for executing transaction/exit processes. Please contact us at info@360accel.com.

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Wage and Benefit Survey 2019 Executive Summery

Twenty-three companies reported data to the 2019 Wage and Benefit Survey conducted by Marist College’s Bureau of Economic Research and School of Management, and, sponsored by the Council of Industry of Southeastern New York and Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions. Highlights of information collected include the following points:

  • In 2019, 12 companies reported wage increases that averaged 2.9% for the management group, 10 companies reported wage increases that averaged 3.0% for the professional group, 12 companies reported wage increases that averaged 3.1% for the administrative/clerical group, 11 reported wage increases that averaged 2.9% for the technical group, 14 companies reported increases averaging 3.1% for the manufacturing/production group, and 11 companies reported increases averaging 3.1% for the sales group. These were in line with the pay increases observed nationally which came in at 3.2%.
  • For 2020, companies reporting planned increases of 3.2% for the management group, 3.0% for the professional group, 2.9% for the administrative/clerical group, 2.9% for the technical group, and 3.1% for the manufacturing/production group and 3.1% for the sales group. Nationally, pay increases for 2018 are projected to be 3.2% to 3.3%.

Sixty-five percent of the participating companies report that they plan on adding employees in 2020 compared to seventy-two percent reporting planned increases in last year’s survey. No survey respondents indicated they had any plans of reducing their workforce in 2020.

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Educators Tour Westchester Manufacturers Magnetic Analysis Corp and Safe Flight

Educators visit MAC

Pictured above: Educators tour Magnetic Analysis Corporation in Elmsford, NY.

Last week the Council of Industry, as part of its ongoing efforts to develop a skilled workforce for Hudson Valley Manufacturers, organized a tour for educators of Westchester County manufacturers.  Partnering with The Workforce Development Institute, Westchester Community College, Southern Westchester BOCES, New York State Senator Shelley Mayer, and Westchester County, we chartered a Coach bus and brought 34 administrators, guidance counselors and teachers to see firsthand the careers and career pathways available to their students in manufacturing.

The tour began at Westchester Community College with a presentation covering both credit and non-credit programs available at the college that teach the skillsets for many of these career pathways. Dean Raymond Houston of Westchester Community College’s School of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering, and Tom Curanovic, Curriculum Chair of Mechanical & Civil Technology at WCC, led a tour of the advanced manufacturing center. This included a CAD lab, a CNC lab (with machines donated by Council of Industry member Fryer Machine,) and the electronics lab, along with a description of the training students receive in these classrooms. There was also some discussion from manufacturers taking part in the tour of the jobs and skills they are looking for when hiring and how the training provided by the college and through apprenticeship programs is beneficial.

After the WCC presentation and tour, the group boarded the bus and set off to their first stop, Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, right next to the Westchester County Airport in White Plains. Safe Flight is a leader in aviation safety and flight performance systems.  The company was founded in 1946 and pioneered the development of Stall Warning and Angle of Attack, Automatic Throttle Systems, Wind Shear Warning, and many other innovations in aircraft instrumentation, flight performance, and control systems for fixed and rotary winged aircraft. As part of the tour, the educators learned more about the company’s history and philosophy. We met with the head of Engineering and learned about the numerous patents the company holds as well as how they test their products right here in Westchester. The tour of the production floor was fascinating for the educators, as they were able to see the CNC machines and machine shop, quality assurance testing, and electronics assembly in action and learn more about the types of jobs that are available in this company and what training is necessary to get started here and the opportunities for growth within the company. Then it was back on the bus and off to our next manufacturer. During the drive, Justin Lukach, President of Mircomold Products in Yonkers, talked about his company, how he got into manufacturing, and some innovative ideas they are trying out at Micromold to increase employee engagement.

After a short ride over to Elmsford, the group disembarked on the tour’s next stop, Magnetic Analysis Corporation, where they manufacture instruments, systems and solutions for nondestructive testing to inspect flaws and defects in tube and pipe, bar, rod, wire, cable, billets, and parts. Their products and testing instruments are used in countless countries and territories, in plants and mills where wire, tubing, bars, and metal parts roll through automatic inspection systems without missing a beat. Here we learned about the history of MAC and why their testing equipment is so important and what skills and background they look for when hiring employees. Greg Gionta, MAC Plant Manager, was also a WCC alumna and a great source of information on the career opportunities available to young people interested in working with their hands.  On the tour, we were treated to a CNC demonstration and watched as parts were readied for assembly in a machine worth over $400,000 headed to the oil and gas industry. Then it was back on the bus and we were off to the next stop, a Con Edison station in Rye.

At our last stop, Con Edison, the group learned about the jobs available in the Energy field and the growth opportunities available depending on your education and training. We heard from several current Con Ed employees about their career paths and how they got where they are today. They emphasized the importance of safety in their field and at Con Edison.

The bus ride back to the Community College featured Evangelo Micas, Assistant Principal for Southern Westchester BOCES, who discussed the programs open to high school students to get started on the path to manufacturing and energy careers. The educators came on the tour hoping to find out more about options for students that may, or may not be, college-bound and they came away with new connections to schools, companies and organizations in their community that are eager to find those same kids and expose them to rewarding career pathways in industry. This event was made possible by funding from The Workforce Development Institute. The Council of Industry looks forward to building these relationships to help develop the manufacturing workforce of the future.

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Has Your Company Complied with the October 9, 2019 Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Deadline?

By: Joel J. Greenwald, Esq., Greenwald Doherty, LLP, Council of Industry Associate Member

A reminder to all employers in New York State, that in addition to updating sexual harassment prevention policies, New York law now (effective this past October 2018) requires all employees working any portion of their time in New York State to be trained on sexual harassment prevention on an annual basis. The first annual deadline is fast approaching on October 9, 2019.

  • The law mandates that the training contains certain specific elements and content.
  • The training must be “interactive.” The training can be (although is not required to be) live. It can also be administered online, but must involve more than simply watching a training video or reading a document without eliciting feedback or interaction.  To be deemed “interactive,” the training can include questions at the end of sections that the employee must answer correctly, can be conducted in-person or live with the presenter “interacting” with the employee by asking and/or answering questions, and/or provide an opportunity for employee feedback.
  • The training must contain a definition and explanation of “sexual harassment,” consistent with guidance provided by New York’s state agencies.
  • The training must provide examples of unlawful sexual harassment.
  • The training must include specific information concerning federal and New York statutes on sexual harassment, and the legal remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
  • The training must provide information concerning employees’ rights and all available forums (courts, agencies, etc.) for adjudicating complaints.
  • The training must contain information regarding responsibilities of supervisors and information on how to address conduct by supervisors.

 With less than a month left until the October 9th deadline, employers should contact counsel to discuss their options and firm up arrangements for their training if not yet already completed.

Joel J. Greenwald, Esq., is the managing partner of Greenwald Doherty, LLP, an employment and labor law firm, representing management exclusively, and can be reached at (845) 589-9300 or jg@greenwaldllp.com.

 DISCLAIMER:  The foregoing is a summary of the laws discussed above for the purpose of providing a general overview of these laws. These materials are not meant, nor should they be construed, to provide information that is specific to any law(s). The above is not legal advice and you should consult with counsel concerning the applicability of any law to your particular situation.

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