Policy Matters

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Doug Clark
Recalling employees could lead to conflicts

The owners of a furniture store in a Midwestern state furloughed most of their 15 employees after their governor issued stay-at-home orders several weeks ago. Now, ready to reopen, they’re calling them back. Some aren’t ready to come. One is caring for a child who’s out of school for the

Image shows a dresser
Doug Clark
CPSC announces more furniture recalls

The Consumer Products Safety Commission continues to issue recall notices. But it states, “Due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding COVID-19, some of the remedies identified in recall press releases may not be available at this time.” If not, the agency recommends that consumers stop using the identified products. Southern Motion

Robert Bell
HR experts answer members’ HR questions

HFA executive vice president Mark Schumacher spoke with HR experts Erick Becker of Cummins & White, LLP, and Eric Martin of ACG Consulting Services, Inc. on March 27 about pressing HR-related concerns HFA members are facing during the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers were invited to ask questions related to their businesses.

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Doug Clark
Tell Washington that businesses need cash-flow help

As furniture stores and other businesses begin to close their doors in some parts of the country, Congress and the administration are moving to help. Retailers should tell their representatives to include help with cash-flow disruptions. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act early on

photo shows people with the Capitol in the background
Doug Clark
HFA cancels Fly-in but steps up government relations work

The Washington Fly-in is off, but the Home Furnishings Association will step up its government relations work. The reason for both is the same – the spread of COVID-19. HFA’s Government Relations Action Team decided during a conference call March 11 to cancel the Washington Fly-in. The event, which had

Photo shows four people in a house
Doug Clark
Dramatic tip-over video and latest recalls demand attention

More bedroom chests sold by online retailers and in IKEA stores have been recalled because of “serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children,” the Consumer Products Safety Commission announced Feb. 26 and March 4. In a related development, KGET television in Bakersfield, Calif.,

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Doug Clark
GovRel Update: Retailers must plan for COVID-19 spread

Before anyone heard of the novel coronavirus that causes the disease now called COVID-19, Terri Johnson had a plan. Every business should, said Johnson, the director of occupational health and safety for WS Badcock Corp. in Mulberry, Fla. “Obviously, we should plan for the worst and hope for the best,”

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Doug Clark
New Senate bill would help furniture retailers

A new Senate bill would promote investment in retail furniture stores and other businesses. The Accelerate Long-term Investment Growth Now Act, or ALIGN Act, was introduced Feb. 13 by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Toomey was the original co-sponsor last year of S. 803, the Restoring Investment in Improvements Act.

photo shows a man in an office making a phone call
Doug Clark
HFA asks for clarity on rules for business calls

A law meant to protect the public from unwanted telephone calls could block furniture retailers from reminding customers about a delivery or some other service. It is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a nearly 30-year-old law that has been updated by the Federal Communications Commission. Unfortunately, the current definition of

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Doug Clark
Shifting sales-tax laws confuse many retailers

If you ask John Gebhardt whether he’s figured out all the sales-and-use-tax protocols for jurisdictions where customers of Sheffield Furniture & Interiors live, he’ll answer quickly. “No. The rules are changing, and it’s confusing.” Gebhardt handles accounting and human resources for Severegn Furniture Management, which owns Sheffield. The retailer, a

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