CLCA Responds To COVID-19
With advocacy, action on upcoming events and a Company/HR information portal, the California Landscape Contractors Association is taking action to help you survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Updated: 7 p.m., June 22, 2021
Webinar: California Re-opens. Employers Ask “Now What?”
How many crew members can legally ride in a company vehicle? Can employers require proof of employee vaccination? View this extremely timely CLCA Member Advantage webinar to get answers to these and other pressing COVID and the workplace questions. MORE>>
Updated: 3 p.m., June 10, 2021
To Mask, Or Not to Mask?
Masks? No masks? What about mandatory vaccinations? Social distancing? How many workers can travel together in a work vehicle?
When Gov. Newsom declares the state reopened on June 15, how exactly are employers suppose to answer these questions for their workers? And what can’t employers ask about or mandate?
The answer is, “It’s complicated.” And it’s probably going to change in the weeks to come. MORE>>
Updated: 3 p.m., May 13, 2021
Follow Stricter Cal/OSHA Mask Requirements
Even though state and federal public health officials have aligned their guidance regarding face coverings for people who are vaccinated, CLCA strongly encourages employers to continue to follow stricter Cal/OSHA standards.
Cal/OSHA’s standards state that employers do not have to exclude fully vaccinated employees from the workplace following exposure (so long as they are asymptomatic). However, testing requirements, masks, physical distancing and cleaning protocol remain in place. MORE>>
Updated: 2 p.m., May 1, 2021
COVID Tax Relief Granted
Good news for California small businesses. According to recently enacted legislation touted as a $6.2 billion tax cut for small businesses, the forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans that businesses received from the federal government during the pandemic will not be counted as California taxable income. In addition, these businesses can also deduct the costs of expenses that those loans paid for.
While signing AB 80 late last month, Gov. Newsom noted that “California’s small businesses have been hampered and hammered by this pandemic, and we are using every tool at our disposal to help them stay afloat.
“This small business tax relief is exactly what is needed to keep businesses open so they can continue paying their employees,” he said.
Updated: 5 p.m., April 9, 2021
Wait for Cal/OSHA Guidance for Vaccinated Employees
Until Cal/OSHA updates its regulations, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recently released recommendations relaxing COVID guidelines for fully vaccinated people are just that – recommendations, not policy.
Updated: 11 a.m., March 23, 2021
Additional COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Mandated
A full-time employee who works for a company with more than 25 employees is now entitled to 80 additional hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, according a new law that is retroactive to January 1, 2021.
The new law, which takes effect on March 29, 2021, mandates that the COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave is in addition to regular paid sick leave. Small businesses employing 25 or fewer workers are exempt from the legislation. MORE>>
Updated: 10 p.m., February 22, 2021
It’s Now Easier to Qualify for a Payroll Protection Program Forgivable Loan
The U.S. government has made it easier for small businesses to qualify for forgivable Payroll Protection Program loans.
The U.S. Small Business Administration established a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses with fewer than 20 employees. This application period, which runs from February 24 through March 9, will lenders and community partners more time to work with the smallest businesses to submit their applications, while also ensuring that larger PPP-eligible businesses will still have plenty of time to apply for and receive support before the overall program expires on March 31, 2021.
The new PPP guidelines:
- Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed individuals and others who file their taxes via Schedule C to receive more financial support
- Eliminate restrictions for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions
- Eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make student loan payments
- Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents
Updated: 7 a.m., January 2, 2021
No Vaccination, No Access to Workplace?
Employers can require workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine and bar them from the workplace if they refuse, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in recently-released guidelines.
If an employee cannot get vaccinated for COVID-19 because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief and there is no reasonable accommodation possible, then it would be lawful for the employer to exclude the employee from the workplace, the guidelines state. This does not mean the employer may automatically terminate the worker – employers should follow their existing reasonable accommodation process.
Mandated proof of vaccinations must be “job related and consistent with business necessity.”
Updated: 6 a.m., January 2, 2021
COVID Relief Grant Deadline Extended to January 13
The deadline for small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 to apply for a no-strings-attached grant from the state of California has been extended to January 13.
The money, which does not have to be re-paid, can be used for costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related health and safety restrictions, including:
- All employee expenses, including payroll costs, health care benefits, paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums
- Working capital, overhead (including rent, utilities, mortgage principal and interest payments (excluding mortgage prepayments)), debt payments (principal and interest) incurred before March 1, 2020
- Costs associated with re-opening business operations after being fully or partially closed due to state-mandated COVID-19 health and safety restrictions and business closures
Firms with annual gross revenue less than $2.5 million can receive a grant of up to $25,000.
For more information about the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program and an application, see careliefgrant.com.
Updated: 11 a.m., December 15, 2020
Your PPP Loan + Business Deductions = IRS Issues
Did your company receive a paycheck protection program loan? Did you apply for, or receive, loan forgiveness? When you prepare your 2020 tax return, do you plan on claiming a deduction for business expenses funded by the PPP loan? If you answered “yes” to these questions, CLCA – with exclusive guidance from Gilbert CPAs – encourages you to hold tight while a recent IRS ruling is clarified.
“The IRS’s position on the non-deductibility of expenses used for PPP loan forgiveness has been criticized by accounting organizations and some Congress members who have argued that the denial of the deduction for these expenses is inconsistent with legislative intent. Congress may pass new legislation directing the IRS to allow deductions for expenses paid with PPP loan proceeds,” Gilbert CPAs’ tax experts say. MORE >>
Updated: 4:30 p.m., December 2, 2020
New COVID Workplace Rules Unveiled
Cal/OSHA’s recently approved emergency regulations to protect workers from COVID-19 hazards means changes to your workplace. CAL/OSHA means business with these new regulations. How serious? For violations, inspectors can – and will – shut down an entire worksite.
“These are strong but achievable standards to protect workers. They also clarify what employers have to do to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19 and stop outbreaks,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker. MORE >>
Updated: 11 a.m., October 1, 2020
Why We’re Essential During COVID
CLCA member Bruce Dennis explains how the association was essential in helping green industry businesses remain open as COVID shut down the state earlier this year, and notes that now, more than ever, being a member of CLCA can be crucial to our success.
“Bottom line: CLCA was essential in helping us continue to work as the country began shutting down in March. With a record number of COVID-19 cases being reported, it raises more questions and doubts about our future. It is clear, now more than ever, that being a member of CLCA can be crucial to our success,” Bruce explains. MORE >>
Updated: 4 p.m., August 18, 2020
Labor Law Update: Court Ruling on Family Leave
A federal district judge ruled that the U.S. Department of Labor exceeded its authority with respect to certain paid-leave eligibility requirements when interpreting the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Although the decision was issued by a federal district court in New York, employers in California should follow its interpretation until or other courts weigh in on the issues.
- Employers must provide leave even when there is no work available
- Employers may only ban intermittent leave when it poses a higher risk of infection
- Employers may not impose documentary requirements as a precondition to leave
Updated: 3 p.m., July 1, 2020
CLCA Executive Director Sandra Giarde, CAE recently joined Warren Gorowitz of Hunter Industries and Chris Sabarrese of Corona Tools for a robust discussion of how COVID-19 has impacted how the industry connects, communicates and advocates.
The YouTube video takes an inside look at how CLCA was essential in helping landscape contractors to continue working as the country began shutting down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Giarde recounts how the association helped its members to interpret the regulations coming down from state and local governments while providing guidance on continuing to work safely. With a record number of COVID-19 cases being reported, it raises more questions and doubts about the future. In this discussion, it becomes clear that as a landscape business, it’s times like this when being a member of an organization like CLCA becomes so crucial. VIEW >>
Updated: 8:30 a.m., May 16, 2020
The U.S. Small Business Administration has provided updates on Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program. The SBA notes that “The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.”
- Apply Now! SBA is Still Funding Paycheck Protection Program Loans. (5/16) READ >>
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions (5/15) READ >>
- FAQ’s have been updated (5/13/20) READ >>
- A new interim final rule (5/13/20) relating to loan increases has been posted. READ >>
- Payroll Protection Program Interim Final Rules have been posted. READ >>
- The calculation of loan amounts has been better documented. READ >>
Updated: 7 p.m., May 15, 2020
To provide pandemic protection to contractors and their clients, CLCA has added force majeure clauses to four of its popular legal contracts. See clca.org/contracts.
Force majeure is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation in the case of “any act of God or … unavailability of supplies, epidemic, pandemic or other public health situation or resulting government action which restrains the ability of Contractor to commence, continue or complete performance of the Agreement.”
Updated: 11 a.m., May 13, 2020
Legal Form Targets COVID Delays, Costs
Delays and additional costs are just some of the headaches contractors and clients face when returning to work. CLCA has created an addendum to its popular residential home improvement contract that addresses:
- Additional costs, such as increased travel expenses because employees can’t carpool to job sites
- Project delays due to scarcity of materials or labor
- Project termination, including who pays for what
Updated: 1 p.m., May 8, 2020
Governor Offers Guidance
Seeking to safely reopen California. Gov. Newsom has released updated industry guidance with modifications that reduce risk and establish a safer environment for workers and customers.
“It’s critical that businesses and employers understand how they can reduce the risk of transmission and better protect their workers and customers. COVID-19 will be present in our communities until there is a vaccine or therapeutic, and it will be up to all of us to change our behavior and eliminate opportunities for the disease to spread,” Gov. Newsom said.
Updated: 2 p.m., April 29, 2020
Bay Area: Back to Work on May 4!
Back to work on May 4! That’s the message officials gave Bay Area landscape contractors in a just-released public health order.
The new public health orders covers the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara, as well as the City of Berkeley.
“Certain outdoor businesses can also begin operating again … This includes wholesale and retail nurseries, landscapers, gardeners, and other businesses that primarily provide outdoor services as set forth in the order,” the orders state.
Updated: 12:30 p.m., April 27, 2020
Webinar Helps You Grow Forward
The Choose to Grow Forward II webinar will give you insights into how companies are preparing and responding to employee concerns, customer responses and financial management in these challenging times.
Join five of the leading business coaches in the North American Green Profession as they offer insights that will help you Choose To Grow Forward!
This webinar brought to you by the California Landscape Contractors Association in partnership with Landscape Ontario and National Landscape Association Executives.
Updated: 3 p.m., April 25, 2020
New Unemployment Insurance Guidance
Our friends at the California Employers Association – the voice of CLCA’s member benefit HR Hotline – offer updated advice and guidance on unemployment insurance and federal relief, based on new input on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act from the U.S. Department of Labor.
CEA encourages employers to avoid advising employees about their eligibility for benefits. Employees with questions about their benefit eligibility or claims should direct those questions to the EDD — even if the EDD is slow to respond. MORE >>
Updated: 4 p.m., April 20, 2020
Are Your Workers Essential?
Are your workers essential? CLCA’s exclusive legal opinion suggests “Yes, for some Californians!” CLCA is continuing its efforts to help members and the entire California green industry navigate the challenges of the past month. A key assist came from CLCA’s legal counsel, who crafted a powerful opinion on how your work as landscape professionals fits the state’s definition of “essential.”
The exclusive legal opinion tailored to members of California’s green industry is posted to this members-only web page. It also contains a sample cover letter you can complete and use should any of your crew be approached about “why are you working?”
Updated: 3 p.m., April 15, 2020
Finding Inspiration During ‘The Pause’
Not motivated while sheltering in place? Scott Wentworth, President of Wentworth Landscapes, asks Jim Paluch, President of JP Horizons, where green industry professionals can find the inspiration and energy to take action on those great ideas we know we should be doing, and move past the obstacles that so often appear and hinder our follow through. The result is an inspirational and practical hour of exchanging ideas that will help us all establish the next steps we need to take during “The Pause” to do the things we know we should do.
This webinar brought to you by CLCA in partnership with Landscape Ontario and National Landscape Association Executives.
Updated: 3:30 p.m., April 8, 2020
CLCA Creates Coronavirus Guidance Summary
Looking for an easy-to-understand one-page Coronavirus Guidance summary? CLCA created just what you need! In addition to outlining key safety protocols, it describes best practices for interactions with customers and staff. Added bonus: Key resources from CLCA and various government programs. Even better, this PDF is a free download. VIEW >>
Updated: 4 p.m., April 7, 2020
Webinar: Choose To Grow Forward
Watch five leading green industry business coaches offer insights on dealing with COVID-19 that will help you choose to grow forward. Presented April 6, 2020. 68 minutes.
The Choose To Grow Forward webinar will show how successful companies are preparing and responding to employee concerns, customer responses, and financial management in these challenging times.
This webinar brought to you by CLCA in partnership with Landscape Ontario and National Landscape Association Executives. VIEW >>
Updated: 4 p.m., March 31, 2020
Apply Now For Business Financial Relief
Over the weekend, new Federal legislation was signed to enact the CARES Act. Business financial relief is a significant part of the CARES Act and provides critical help to businesses that may have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. CLCA recommends that applications be submitted as soon as possible. MORE >>
Support for Small Businesses
California Senator Dianne Feinstein has two informative documents outlining the CARES Act.
Updated: 3:30 p.m., March 27, 2020
Impact of $2 Trillion Stimulus Package
In partnership with the National Association of Landscape Professionals, CLCA is sharing a comprehensive summary of the $2 trillion stimulus package recently passed by the Senate. Created by the lobbying firm DCLRS, the summary highlights the measure’s tax relief provisions, corporate and small business loan programs and the taxpayer rebate program. READ (PDF) >>
CARES Act: Small Business Owner’s Guide
Acting to provide small business owners with “whatever needs they have right now,” a U.S. Senate Committee has released a focused guide on the programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. If you need capital to cover the cost of retaining employees, a quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash or just some quality, free business counseling, the guide provides solutions. READ (PDF) >>
Updated: 2:30 p.m., March 27, 2020
Additional Guidance: Emergency Leave
Today, the Department of Labor issued some additional guidance on the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which requires all employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family Medical Leave. MORE >>
Updated: 4:30 p.m., March 24, 2020
Webinar: Coronavirus and the Workplace
As the coronavirus crisis unfolds, employers have many questions regarding reducing risk, business impact, and managing employees. In this CLCA Member Advantage webinar, we’ll provide answers. Special thanks to CLCA Insurance Solutions for sponsoring this webinar. View at clca.org/webinars
Update: Statewide Stay-In-Place Order
CLCA is working on behalf of our green industry and in that regard, we offer the following guidance and update for what continues to be a fluid and developing situation.
- Coronavirus FAQ for Employers
- Layoffs, Furloughs and More Fact Sheet
- Remote Worker Factsheet and Checklist
- Sample Remote Worker Policy
- California EDD FAQ on Disability, Family Leave and Unemployment
- California EDD Rapid Response Services Fact Sheet
- California Dept. of Labor Benefits for Workers Impacted by COVID-19
- CDC Interim Guidance for Small Business and Employers
- CDC COVID-19 Print Resources and Posters
- Info on Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- OSHA Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- OSHA COVID-19 Health Standards
- SBA Small Business Loans for COVID-19
- Free Services for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus
- The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
- How to Properly Wash Your Hands