This is an email I received from Jay Timmons, President/CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), regarding COVID-19 updates. I want to share this with you because it has important information regarding OSHA requirements about reporting confirmed cases of Coronavirus with employees. Additionally, it provides an update on NAM’s efforts with Policymakers to create a Liability Action Plan.
The Department of Labor has responded to the NAM’s concerns and announced Friday that businesses will not have to consider confirmed cases of COVID-19 as recordable incidents for Occupational Safety and Health Administration recordkeeping purposes unless there is objective evidence available to them that the cases are work-related. OSHA noted that determining whether a worker contracted COVID-19 while performing work duties is difficult given ongoing community spread.
This announcement provides regulatory certainty to the manufacturing community and helps protect companies from unfounded liability claims while allowing businesses to focus on hygiene and safety procedures at their facilities. The NAM heard concerns from many members on this issue and worked to provide OSHA with information on why this new guidance was needed for manufacturers that continue to produce essential goods and services.
You can find the OSHA enforcement memo here, and you can contact NAM Director of Labor and Employment Drew Schneider with questions.
NAM Keeps Working with Policymakers on Liability Protections
Manufacturers of all kinds continue to operate as specially designated critical infrastructure, yet by doing your best to serve the public interest and operate during these uncertain times, you risk becoming targets in a wave of COVID-19-related lawsuits based on product liability, alleged workplace transmission, and even Good Samaritan actions. Our Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action has been working with members of the NAM’s Legal Advisory Council to better understand the growing threat and will soon release our Liability Action Plan to influence the debate on Capitol Hill and in the administration about the fairest and most responsible way to address this liability issue and block the trial bar from taking the keys to our economy. You can contact the MCLA’s Patrick Hedren and Erica Klenicki to share your ideas.
PBGC and IRS Delay Pension Filing and Payment Deadlines
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the IRS have announced extended deadlines for certain upcoming pension premium payments and pension filings. With the exception of certain time-sensitive reports, all PBGC due dates between April 1 and July 15 have been extended to July 15, as has the IRS’s deadline for Form 5500. You can learn the details from the PBGC and the IRS.
NAM Recommends Improvements to PPP
The NAM has provided the Small Business Administration with recommendations on how to best implement the Paycheck Protection Program and provide clarity on several challenges facing our members. We are also calling on Congress to approve additional funding for the PPP to expand the program’s reach. Read the NAM’s letter to the SBA here.
Webinars Available Wednesday, April 15th
Manufacturing Institute: Pre-K–Grade 12 Resources for Remote Learning
The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the NAM, will host a webinar with representatives from Scholastic Inc., EVERFI and Discovery Education who will share and guide participants through online resources designed to educate and excite students through at-home learning. Participants will also receive access to a living library of online resources designed for pre-K–grade 12 students. You can register for the webinar, which will take place on Wednesday, April 15, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. EDT, here.
Economics During COVID-19: Impact and Cash Flow Practices
NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray and experts from BKD will discuss the state of the manufacturing economy and the practical measures manufacturers should consider for weathering the challenging business environment. You can register for the webinar, which will take place on Wednesday, April 15, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT, here.
Finally, a recording of Friday’s NAM-hosted webinar with the IRS chief counsel and Plante Moran discussing tax provisions for manufacturers in the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is available here.
Please keep visiting the regularly updated nam.org/coronavirus site for the latest information, including state-specific resources, and email our Response Team at [email protected] with any questions or feedback.