FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Don't see the answer to your question? No worries. Click here and send us an email with your question. We will respond with an answer to your question as soon as we possibly can.
Which apprenticeship programs are needed and how to comply:
1What trades does the Alliance provide?
The Alliance is a US/NYSDOL approved Carpentry, Operating Engineer (heavy equipment) Skilled Craft Laborer, Ironworker and Cement Finisher/Cement Mason multi-employer apprenticeship program sponsor. Once approved by our Board, Alliance contractors are recognized as signatory to all five apprenticeship programs. In May 2019, NJ passed a new law that requires public work contractors to participate in USDOL approved apprenticeship programs for each trade in which they perform labor. Generally, your firm should participate in apprenticeship programs for any trade in which you self-perform work on public works projects.
2I need the trades provided by the Alliance, but I also need another specialty trade – can you help me?
You may want to consider running your own
program directly through the USDOL/NYSDOL. We work with some contractors to administer their own specialized trade apprenticeship programs (provide oversight, documentation to DOL, ERISA compliance, etc.) as individual employer sponsors. We also provide an ERISA fund for your firm to provide funding directly supporting the specialized program.
3Will/can you modify your cement mason program for NJ to cover the full scope of masonry and bricklayer?
No. Our Cement Finisher program, like all other trade programs, is based on the USDOL Dictionary of Occupational Titles. The DOL does not let a sponsor dilute/change trades or challenge the integrity of the trade.
4We are a construction manager and do not self-perform any work, can we still apply?
The foundation of an apprenticeship program is that direct supervision of apprentices directly employed to fulfill OJT requirements. Unless a firm can document that they self-perform in at least one trade, they are ineligible for consideration by the Board.
The Alliance Partnership Application:
1What is the cost of "membership" or affiliation?
Partner fees range from $7500 -$10,000 for year one. The fee covers access to all five programs and to available apprentices. There are no additional fees. After year 1, the annual partner fee is $6500 per year, invoiced July 1.
2Does the cost change if I only use one apprentice or one trade?
Your investment in the Alliance covers 5 trades and unlimited use of available apprentices in any trade provided.
3When do apprentices go to school and who pays for that?
The apprentices attend related instruction provided by the Alliance/MACTI. Most classes are scheduled October through March. The Alliance coordinates all apprentice training; we begin to advise our contractors of training schedules in early October. The Alliance, through the training benefit, pays for all training; contractors do not pay for training.
4Can our partner fee be paid through apprentice's "supplemental benefits"?
No. ERISA funds cannot be used to pay the partner fee. ERISA funds must be used to directly support apprentices. Supplemental benefit contributions are used to provide related instruction, health insurance, supplemental unemployment, pension and vacation benefits.
5Do I get some sort of certificate as proof that I have the apprenticeship program?
Yes, we provide our signatory contractors with the appropriate documents to provide to owners, government agencies etc.
6These are difficult times for contractors. If we decide to cancel or terminate our contract with the program, what is involved and what is the mechanism for doing that?
We are working with a number of firms who have suffered through the Covid crisis. We expect that firms will make a good faith effort to employ an apprentice understanding that this Covid environment has created unprecedented challenges. Your agreement would be valid through the current program year. We would then revisit your renewal options in July. Once a firm becomes unaffiliated, we notify the appropriate agencies, as required by law.
7I am not registered to do business in the State of New York nor do I have insurance coverage in the State of New York. I am registered and insured for the State of New Jersey. Should I complete the NYSDOL forms even if I am not registered in the State of New York?
Yes, the Alliance program is registered in NYS and requires that information on all signatories regardless of their company residence.
8What is an “External CPA”?
The Alliance requires submission of audited, compiled or reviewed financial documents prepared by a CPA who is an external professional consultant and not a direct employee of the company.
9If our firm is below $1 million in revenue, are we still able to move forward?
Yes, the Alliance makes its determination based on the quality of the contractor.
10We had a worker's comp claim recently that is about $50K. Does this exclude us from the program?
No, the Alliance makes its determination based on the company’s overall safety performance.
11Our EMR spiked above 1. 0 last year – does that exclude us from applying?
Alliance makes its determination based on the company’s overall safety performance, specifically your 3-year average EMR and losses. We understand that, unfortunately, accidents happen. We strive to work with companies who demonstrate a long-term commitment to safety.
12If we get accepted into the program, do I need to pay the benefit package on my current or new employees on private/public work even though they don’t belong to the program?
No. You are only obligated to pay the benefit when you employ an apprentice. If you employ an apprentice on private work, the minimum benefit rate is $16.50 per hour; wages range from $15-18 per hour (based on trade and term). The Alliance has no claim or interest in your current employees’ benefit administration.
About “Apprenticeship Requirements”:
1I’m working on a project with an apprentice requirement. How many apprentices must I hire?
The owner specifies if an apprentice must be employed on site. Most ‘apprenticeship requirements’ simply require you to participate in a program. We provide you evidence of your participation as a “signatory contractor”. The Alliance requires you to provide on-the job training (OJT) through employment of one or more apprentices in one or more trades, based on the size of your firm. You must ensure that any apprentice employed is supervised by a journey worker in the same trade in accordance with NYS public work ratio requirements.
2If I’m doing a public work project that requires an apprenticeship program and I’m doing a private job that doesn’t, can I use the apprentices on the private work project and not on public works project?
If the Public project requires that an apprentice be directly employed (for example, NYSDOT) then you must employ the apprentice based on the specification. If the public project simply requires that you have the “apprenticeship agreements”, then you are in compliance regardless as to if, where and when, you employ an apprentice. You can choose to employ an apprentice on private work, unless otherwise mandated by the owner.
3Do I only employ apprentices on public work?
No, you may employ an apprentice on a public or private project, in the yard, warehouse, etc. The work performed by the apprentice is identified in his/her blue book (Appendix A or on-the-job-training outline). If you employ an apprentice on private work, the minimum benefit rate is $16.50 per hour; wages range from $15-18 per hour (based on trade and term). Apprentices must be supervised per the NYS ratios.
Employment of apprentices:
1Where does the Alliance get their apprentices?
The Alliance participates in job and career fairs, supports local community-based organizations, reaches out to schools and relies on Craigslist, Facebook, Indeed and the NYSDOL to promote our apprentice vacancies. The Alliance conducts extensive evaluations, including background checks, pre-placement drug testing and personal interviews.
2Who pays the apprentices’ wages?
Your firm employs the apprentice directly and is listed on your payroll. Wages are paid directly to the apprentice; your firm will contribute his/her benefits to our Benefit Third Party Administrator (TPA) via ACH each week, or at the minimum every month.
3How do I know how much to pay the apprentice?
Upon assignment, the Alliance will provide you with the apprentice’s total hours worked to date. Those hours will correlate to the NYSDOL progression of wages for each apprenticeship term. The Alliance will advise you as to when the apprentice is due for a wage increase based on his/her total hours completed.
4Since we do prevailing wages, we pay the benefit required directly to our current employees, is that ok?
Yes, however, you may want to consider a benefit plan for your employees as the “cash in lieu of benefit payment” inflates your overall payroll burden.
5How many apprentices are we required to hire at one time? Are we contractually required to employ apprentices? What is the minimum or maximum?
Firms with sales above $3M (per the previous year financial statements) are obligated to provide at least 500 hours of on-the-job training (OJT) through employment of one or more apprentices in one or more trades. For example, you could employ 2 laborers in October, thereby providing 320 hours of OJT; then in March employ a carpenter for 6 weeks (240 hours); your total OJT is 560 hours. Given the downturn in the economy, let’s be less optimistic…. In October, you employ 2 laborers thereby providing 320 hours of OJT; but work is light in the spring and you can’t offer any other OJT till the summer. Our response is “thanks for doing what you did”, let’s stay in touch to meet the goal. Communication is key (even if its bad news); if a firm ignores its responsibilities, the firm is at risk of being terminated from the program.
6If I feel I only need one operator apprentice and one laborer apprentice, but the program feels I should take more, will the program let me still make my own decision as I see fit?
We are a partner in the process, and we make decisions jointly. The assignment of apprentices is based on a wide variety of factors and we work collaboratively with our firms to make sure our apprentices meet the NYSDOL requirements.
7What is the lead time required to get an apprentice assigned to our firm?
Generally, we request that a contractor provide us 2-3 weeks’ notice of a pending assignment. Assignments are no less than 10 workdays. Since apprentices are rotated, we aim to provide both the current assigned contractor and pending contractor ample opportunity to adjust their schedules.
8What is the lead time required to terminate an apprentice’s assignment?
Assignments are no less than 10 workdays (2 full weeks). If your assignment terminates prior to the agreed date, your firm may be liable for private wages and benefits for the balance of the assignment. Apprentices are not “day labor” and not available for daily assignments.
9What happens if we have to shut down a job due to weather or other emergencies?
The apprentice should be treated similar to your “regular” employees. Apprentices expect that construction projects may be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances.
10What training do the apprentices have?
All New York City, Nassau County and Northern NJ-based apprentices are required to complete the OSHA 30 and NYC 10-hr SST requirement; our remaining apprentices are equipped with OSHA 10; apprentices may have additional trainings (flagger, Hazwoper, lead awareness, etc.)
11What if we don’t like the apprentice?
The Alliance believes that all apprentices should be provided ample opportunity to succeed. We will work with the firm and apprentice to resolve any issues; however, if the situation cannot be remedied, we will reassign the apprentice.
12If we really like the apprentice, can we keep him/her?
Yes, however, the Alliance must confirm that the apprentice will be provided the full spectrum of training for that trade. The apprentice will then be identified as “dedicated” and not available for reassignment. The contractor commits to providing at least 1500 hours of OJT over 12 months to that specific apprentice.
13Can I propose a current employee to serve as a dedicated apprentice?
Yes! We are happy to dedicate an apprentice to your firm providing that your firm can deliver the full scope of work as outlined on Appendix A (on-the-job-training outline) for the specific apprenticeship trade. Your firm must commit to providing at least 1500 hours of on-the-job-training (OJT) per year. Additionally, your dedicated apprentice must be provided the same benefits as those defined by the Alliance. The Alliance will work with you to adjust the hourly benefit rate to ensure all benefits are appropriately funded in compliance with our standards.
1What if I wish to employ an apprentice on a combination of public and private work – how does that affect his/her benefit rate?
Regardless of the type of work, contractors must contribute, via ACH, at least $16.50 per hour to the Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) for all hours (prevailing and non-prevailing work) and all trades in which they performed work. If the contractor performs both public and private work, on Public Work projects the contractor should contribute to the EBT $16.50 per hour for all hours worked; the excess public work supplements (those amounts dictated by the applicable prevailing wage schedule in-excess of $16.50 per hour) may be provided to the apprentice as "cash in lieu of benefits". “Cash in lieu of benefits” payments must be made weekly to coincide with the weekly payroll due and are subject to payroll burden.
Record keeping and interacting with the Department of Labor:
1Do we have to have interview directly with DOL?
No. The program is managed by the Alliance; therefore, the Alliance meets with the DOL to review the apprentices’ progress.
2What kind of reports do we have to provide the Alliance?
The apprentice is responsible for completing his/her Bluebook daily tally of hours worked in each trade task. The contractor must provide a journey level supervisor who will initial the apprentice’s daily hours and provide a monthly evaluation and signature. The apprentice must submit those hours electronically to the Alliance by the 10th of each month. The Alliance maintains a master record of all hours worked by task.
WHAT OUR PARTNERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT US
“Our partnership with the Alliance has opened up many new opportunities allowing us to qualify for many projects we were unable to work on previously. The resin flooring industry has always been classified as a specialty trade. It was very difficult (if not impossible) to join and meet all the criteria for the available apprentice programs offered by New York State. Your unique program has allowed us to meet all the required criteria thus opening up various opportunities for projects. We look forward to working with the Alliance for many years to come.”
“Javen Construction is proud to have partnered with the Merit Apprenticeship Alliance from its inception. We are pleased to be able to offer training opportunities for the industry’s future workforce through the Alliance while enhancing our ability to contract with public agencies. The apprentices have proven to be responsible, eager to learn, and a productive part of our labor force. Javen looks forward to a long and successful relationship with the Alliance.”
“Meyer Contracting Corp, as a charter member of the Merit Apprenticeship Alliance, is firmly committed to promoting careers in construction through apprenticeship. The Alliance has provided us the opportunity to integrate apprenticeship into our corporate training plan, increase business development opportunities and meet owner bidding requirements. As the company looks to the future, we continue to focus on our short-term goals: to provide our customers with a positive construction experience and to continue to invest in customer relations and long range marketing.Our vision for the future includes the Merit Apprenticeship Alliance as a key partner in developing our skilled workforce. Meyer Contracting believes that its success is attributed to our highly skilled professionals’ unique ability to deliver quality projects on time and within budget.”
ALWAYS READY TO DELIVER
Good quality open-shop contractors should – and do – invest in registered apprenticeship training because the construction industry needs safe, skilled workers.
The Alliance proudly offers New York State and US Department of Labor approved apprenticeship training in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Alliance contractors provide high quality on-the-job training.