Here at BNC Agency, we’re keeping our finger on the pulse of the issues impacting the New York construction industry. Here are some of the latest developments to watch.
White House Orders OSHA To Strengthen COVID Safety Rules
Like other industries, the construction industry has struggled to adapt to evolving COVID rules and regulations. The patchwork of state, local, and federal rules contractors must sort through has impacted productivity and cost them serious money. President Biden recently issued an executive order that should provide contractors with a more standardized playbook. The order directs OSHA to issue new COVID-19 guidance, while considering a national emergency temporary standard that could help standardize the reporting and tracking of employees exposed to the virus at jobsites. The order has won praise from industry and union officials. Read more here
Independent Contractors Could Become Employees Under The PRO Act
The Protecting The Right To Organize Act could jeopardize the independent contractor status of many construction site workers. The PRO Act would amend the National Labor Relations Act by classifying workers as employees unless certain criteria are met. The most troubling is the requirement that the service be performed “outside the usual course of the business of the employer.” The Associated Builders and Contractors and other industry organizations are speaking out against the Act, claiming it would increase construction employers’ costs by up to $12 billion annually. See more details here.
Carpenters Step Up To Expose Tax Fraud
Unfortunately, some contractors continue to skirt the law to avoid paying taxes. But members of the New York Carpenters Union Council are working to expose the practice, arguing that it costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year. Whether it’s intentionally paying workers under the table, forcing them to work extra hours with no overtime pay, or paying them in cash to avoid taxes, they’re cheating workers and the tax paying public. Workers are encouraged to reach out to their local unions and the Department of Labor to report fraud.
Skyrocketing Material Prices and Supply Chain Woes May Slow Construction Comeback
According to a March jobs report, 110,000 new construction jobs have come online. But at the same time, construction material prices have risen so sharply in 2021 that the Associated General Contractors of America recently issued a rare Construction Inflation Alert, citing a 12.8 percent jump of input costs for projects since the pandemic began. That, combined with ongoing delays in the global supply chain and extended delivery times, is making project owners and developers skittish. So the road to recovery may be tougher than some think. Read more here
Nearly One-Third Of New York Construction Firms To Add To Their Workforce in 2021
When the COVID pandemic hit, more than 40 percent of construction firms were forced to slash their workforce in 2020. But in some good news, The Bonadio Group’s 2021 survey of New York construction companies and contractors shows that 32 percent of construction firms plan to increase their workforce in 2021, and 75 percent plan to raise their employees’ salaries this year. See more survey data here.
Construction Industry Concerns About Safety And Liability Reach New Highs With NY Pot Law
On March 31, New York Governor Cuomo signed legislation making it legal for anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to 3 ounces of the drug for recreational use. That’s raising concerns for the state’s construction industry, which already operates under the absolute liability of the Scaffold Law. Insurers are also concerned and will likely be more reluctant to insure contractors who will essentially be responsible for impaired workers.
Need risk management advice for your construction company? Contact the construction insurance professionals at BNC Agency.