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Source: Congress.gov


H. R. 7079


To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax credit to ensure that businesses are properly cleaned and disinfected when “stay-at-home” restrictions are lifted and to help prevent further infections.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 1, 2020

Mr. LaHood (for himself and Mrs. Murphy of Florida) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means

A BILL

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax credit to ensure that businesses are properly cleaned and disinfected when “stay-at-home” restrictions are lifted and to help prevent further infections.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Clean Start: Back to Work Tax Credit Act”.

SEC. 2. CLEAN START BACK TO WORK TAX CREDIT.


(a) In General.—Subpart D of part IV of subchapter A of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

“SEC. 45U. CLEAN START BACK TO WORK CREDIT.

“(a) Allowance Of Credit.—For purposes of section 38, the clean start back to work credit determined under this section for the taxable year is an amount equal to 50 percent of the amount paid by the taxpayer— “(1) in carrying on any trade or business for qualified cleaning expenses during such year, or

“(2) with respect to owning or operating commercial real estate.

“(b) Maximum Credit.—The credit determined under this section for a taxpayer for a taxable year shall not exceed— “(1) $25,000 per location, and

“(2) $250,000 per entity.

“(c) Definition And Special Rules.—For purposes of this section— “(1) QUALIFIED CLEANING EXPENSES.—The term ‘qualified cleaning expenses’ includes amounts paid or incurred— “(A) for cleaning services, whether provided by a cleaning service provider that employs workers who have received training and certification in cleaning or by an employee of the taxpayer,


“(B) for cleaning products, tools, machinery, personal protective equipment, and other sanitary related equipment needed to help ensure a safe and sanitary environment, and“ (C) to obtain a certification in cleaning.“


(2) EXCEPTION.—The term ‘qualified cleaning expenses’ does not include the cost of manufacturing, producing, or importing of, or for the acquisition for purposes of resale of, any product, tool, machine or other sanitary-related equipment."

(3) TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION IN CLEANING.—The term ‘training and certification in cleaning’ means a training and certification program in custodial cleaning or cleaning management provided by an entity that has demonstrated expertise in the field of cleaning, such as a distributor of cleaning products, cleaning product manufacturer, cleaning service provider, accredited training institution, industry-recognized trade association, or other non-profit entity.


“(4) CERTIFICATION IN CLEANING.—The term ‘certification in cleaning’ means an industry-recognized certificate in custodial cleaning or cleaning management provided by an entity that has demonstrated expertise in the field of cleaning such as a distributor of cleaning products, cleaning product manufacturer, cleaning service provider, accredited training institution, industry-recognized trade association or other non-profit entity.


“(5) RELATED PERSONS.— “(A) IN GENERAL.—The taxpayer and all persons related to the taxpayer shall be treated as one person.

“(B) RELATIONSHIP TEST.—A person is related to the taxpayer if the person bears a relationship to the taxpayer specified in section 267(b) or 707(b)(1), or the person and the taxpayer are engaged in trades or businesses under common control (within the meaning of subsections (a) and (b) of section 52).

“(d) Denial Of Double Benefit.—No deduction shall be allowed under this chapter for any amount taken into account in determining the credit under this section.

“(e) Termination.—This section shall not apply to expenses paid or incurred after March 31, 2021.”.

(b) Credit Made Part Of General Business Credit.—Subsection (b) of section 38 of such Code is amended by striking “plus” at the end of paragraph (32), by striking the period at the end of paragraph (33) and inserting “, plus”, and by adding at the end the following new paragraph: “(34) the clean start back to work credit determined under section 45U.”.

(c) Clerical Amendment.—The table of sections for subpart D of part IV of subchapter A of chapter 1 is amended by adding at the end the following new item:


There are several important areas of information that should be requested in the RFI from prospective facility service providers. First, ask for a company’s mission statement and corporate environmental policy or sustainability statement. These will explain why the company exists and how it demonstrates environmentally responsible services while ensuring sustainable business practices from its suppliers and for its employees.

Reviewing a company’s mission statement provides a general perspective on its core values and how important sustainability is compared with other agendas. Facility executives will gain insight on what is guiding management and employees in making critical decisions. The sustainability policy or statement may include information on a company’s experience with LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance or other green building and green cleaning initiatives.


Facility executives should request information on the specific green components of their program and what makes their green cleaning program different from a traditional program. In addition, request information on specific green cleaning products including chemicals, janitorial paper (if supplied by the provider), powered equipment, etc., and the certification standards (i.e. Green Seal and Environmental Choice) or if the products are “self-certified.” Additional information should cover how they collect data on an ongoing basis to ensure that the company will be using these products over the life of the contract.


It is important to understand how companies are planning for the future and the path by which they will achieve their prescribed goals. The cleaning industry is comprised of more than 100,000 companies, many of which are small, family-owned or start-up ventures, so finding out how an organization plans for continuity and succession can help facility executives ensure that succession or continuity does not become a problem during the performance period.


Part of this is finding out about the company’s organization. An overall organizational chart for the facility service provider is an important tool for understanding the depth and breadth of the company. This chart demonstrates the flow of communication that supports site-specific requirements and whether the company will have adequate management supervision to ensure a consistently acceptable level of cleaning.


The organizational chart will also be an introduction to the company’s service delivery model. While green cleaning products are important, the real key to long-term success is the people. Thus the RFI should request details about the staffing components of the project including the proposed corporate management support, account management support and operational staffing for the specific building.


When asking for this information, facility executives should request brief background information on the employees who will be managing or supervising the project. It may also be important to determine if and how much experience the company has with day-time cleaning when the building is occupied. Day-cleaning can have significant energy savings (and environmental benefits) compared to cleaning at night when the building is otherwise unoccupied.


The RFI should also inquire about the company’s administrative systems, which can significantly affect the success of the ultimate cleaning operation. In the RFI, include questions that provide information on the supplier’s policies for recruiting, retaining and training the future staff of the account. Responses typically can separate facility service providers who are “flying by the seat of their pants” from ones who have an established and functioning program for addressing these critical personnel issues.


Quality control issues are also a critical part of the RFI. It is not uncommon for the quality control process (QCP) to vary greatly among facility service providers. When evaluating a supplier’s QCP consider the feasibility, the continuous manageability and the performance metrics outlined in the program. The QCP will determine whether the service requirements are being met and where there are opportunities for improvement. A comprehensive QCP should include a communication and training plan, as well as the measurement tools that will be used to determine the ongoing success of the operation.


The RFI should also request evidence of corporate compliance with all state, federal and country jurisdiction and regulatory requirements. These documents are readily available to the facility service providers and should be presented in their response to the RFI. Corporate compliance documents include documents that demonstrate proper insurance. These include but are not limited to worker’s compensation insurance, employer’s liability insurance, auto insurance, general liability insurance and possibly immigrations compliance. When requesting evidence of these documents, facility service providers should be informed that the winning provider will be required to name the facility and facility management as additionally insured on its various insurance policies.


References, Please

Finally, ask for references. References provide an important opportunity to evaluate whether the facility service provider has experience similar to the type of green cleaning project being proposed. When seeking references in the RFI, ask for specific names and phone numbers, as well as the square footage, staffing, length of service and performance metrics used. Placing a quick call can provide important insights that can help facility executives assess what they might expect at their building.

With companies desiring to increase the collaboration among their workers, open office plans have grown more and more popular. In December 2017, Forbes reported that 70 percent of all U.S. office space was open office.  

While the open office concept has been accepted by most employees that fall into the Gen Z and millennial classifications, this configuration has been a challenge for older colleagues who are used to working in individual offices or tall wall cubicles. Open workspaces can encourage a more flexible and cohesive environment for some, but can also be distracting for others if the design is not thoughtfully laid out. How do companies find that thin line between collaboration and distraction to ensure productivity remains high among all generations of its employees?


Noise Pollution

In an open office setting, noise is the one of the most common complaints from workers of all generations. But how can it be fixed? Addressing acoustics is one way to do this. For example, the addition of soundmasking to an open office setting can alleviate the distracting sounds of clicking keyboards, ticking clocks, and muddled conversations. It can also help increase productivity as typical office sounds can serve as a distraction for employees.

Adding acoustic materials into the design of the office can also help with noise issues. Many manufacturers are beginning to offer more design-related acoustical materials that can help with sound. This even includes new lighting products being developed that integrate noise-suppressing acoustical materials. Utilizing absorptive finish materials can also help alleviate some of the noise. During the design, how sound travels within a space and between spaces should always be considered. Adding a small element throughout the area, such as a panel, a wing, or more enclosure type items at the optimal heights should help with the acoustics in the space.

It is also essential to make sure adjacencies are correct. For example, avoid having louder collaborative areas next to individual workspaces because the sounds for the collaborative area will translate over. It is important to be cognizant of this while laying out the space. Consider having buffer spaces, such as closets and corridors, between noisy spaces. There should be flexibility throughout the office so employees can utilize the space to its utmost potential, but adding these elements has to be intentional and planned accordingly.

Providing flexibility in an open office space is always essential for productivity. Having tables with wheels or benching systems can alter the look and feel of any open space. Freestanding furniture can be transportable and help with the flexibility of the office. Offering different ergonomics to employees can increase productivity. Some people work more efficiently standing up, while others perform better while they are sitting down. Costs for the height adjustable workstations are coming down to allow more companies this opportunity.

Open spacing can help with the collaboration of workers, but it is also important to have quiet places where individual or small group work can get done. This includes private offices, conference rooms and even phone booths/huddle rooms. Having a variety of spaces where individuals can get away and work will be beneficial to not only them, but the quality of the work. Just make sure that these areas have acoustical separation from collaborative spaces.  


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