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Department of Labor Increases the SCA Health & Welfare Rate and Establishes Two Other Rates

On July 25, 2017, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor updated and increased the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (“SCA”) Health and Welfare (“H&W”) Fringe Benefit to $4.41 per hour (i.e., $176.40 per week or $764.40 per month). The increase will be effective as of August 1, 2017. This is an increase of 14 cents per hour, up from 2015-2016 rate of $4.27. The new update also included a rate for those employees who fall under Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors. A new reduced rate of $4.13 per hour (i.e., $165.20. Read More.

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FASB Reconfirms Lease Standard’s Effective Date

While some companies continue to struggle with the implementation of Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) has no plans to postpone the standard’s 2019 effective date for public businesses. On August 29, an FASB spokesperson said that the board would not consider a request to give companies more time to comply with the lease accounting standard. The spokesperson also remarked that there are no plans to delay the standard’s effective date. As mentioned in our August 11 blog , the American Petroleum Institute (“API”) asked the FASB to delay the standard by two years. The. Read More.

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FASB Finalizes Updated Hedge Accounting Guidance

Announced on Monday, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued an Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) that improves the guidance related to hedge accounting. ASU No. 2017-12, Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815): Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities, aligns the accounting provisions with an entity’s risk management activities, as well as reflects the economic impact of hedging in financial statements, and streamlines hedge accounting treatment. In addition, the new standard expands hedge accounting for financial and commodity risks. The requirements provide additional clarity regarding how economic results are disclosed in financial statements. ASU No. 2017-12 will be effective for public. Read More.

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Tropical Storm Harvey Causes Chemical Plant Shutdowns

The destruction caused by Tropical Storm Harvey over the past week has led to specialty chemical plant closures along the Texas Gulf Coast. According to analyst Tamar Essner, approximately 40 percent of the U.S. petrochemicals market is currently offline. This percentage is significant due to Southern Texas being the heart of the nation’s specialty chemicals and petrochemicals industry. More importantly, the country’s manufacturing sector relies on the region for raw materials to produce everyday items like water bottles. It is unknown when the plants will come back online, but the shutdowns are certain to disrupt supply chains across the U.S.. Read More.

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Financial Accounting Foundation Seeks New FASAC Members

New members are requested for the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (“FASB”) main advisory panel. The Financial Accounting Foundation is currently seeking candidates to join the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (“FASAC”), a 35-member group that offers feedback on the FASB’s standard-setting projects and its priorities. The Financial Accounting Foundation wants nominees from private and public companies with a background in the financial services, retail, manufacturing, transportation, health care, agriculture, or service sector. Investors, such as securities analysts and hedge fund or private equity managers, and investment bankers, are also encouraged. Selected members will serve four one-year terms with the FASAC.. Read More.

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FASB to Address Troubled Debt Restructurings for Credit Loss Standard

Happening early next month is a discussion on the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (“FASB”) new banking requirements for calculating losses on bad loans. The discussion on Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments — Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, is expected to clarify how banks and auditors should account for troubled debt restructurings. At the heart of ASU No. 2016-13, which is considered the FASB’s main response to the 2008 financial crisis, is estimating credit losses. One interpretation of the standard suggests troubled debt restructurings to be assessed on a portfolio basis, but. Read More.

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