Making Your Voluntary Benefits Program a Success

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Both employers and employees have much to gain from a solid voluntary benefits program. For employees, being able to enroll in an insurance product through a workplace voluntary benefits program offers them the advantage of group pricing, the convenience of paying through payroll deduction, and perhaps access to insurance that would be difficult to get on an individual basis. For employers, offering a range of voluntary insurance products can help increase employee satisfaction – along with loyalty and morale – and make the business more competitive in attracting and retaining the best talent. These advantages alone, however, do not ensure…
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Legal Traps to Avoid When Dealing with FMLA Requests

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

If you are a business owner who is confused about navigating the various rules and timelines within the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, you certainly aren’t alone. The law has plenty of caveats and it’s important that you pay attention to all of the details and nuances of the law so you don’t go astray. Here’s a handy list of mistakes to avoid. Top FMLA Mistakes Firing It would be a bad idea to fire an employee if they’re unable to return to work following the end of FMLA leave that is due to their serious health condition. Better to…
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New Dual-Wage Threshold Workers’ Comp Changes Ahead

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California will recommend dual-wage threshold changes to several construction classifications for the 2020 workers’ compensation policy year. The Bureau will make the recommendations to the Department of Insurance during its annual rate filing in June. The recommendations for changes to these dual-wage classifications would have to be approved by the state insurance commissioner. While most workers’ comp classes have one rate, in some classes the difference in claims costs between high- and lower-wage workers is so great that a dual-wage classification is needed. In those cases, the workers above the threshold rate are…
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Employee Behavior, Habits Can Thwart Heat Illness Prevention

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Every summer thousands of American workers suffer from heat illness after working in hot conditions and not taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves. Often employers have not put in place safeguards and have failed to train their workers in heat illness prevention. But even the most well-intentioned employers need to take extra precautions to ensure their employees’ safety. The biggest challenge in implementing a heat illness prevention program is cutting through misconceptions about heat illness and workers not understanding how to identify the initial signs of such illness. You also have to make sure that your supervisors are all…
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Insurers Will Pay Record Amount of Rebates to Small Group Plans

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While most businesses health insurance premium rarely get rebate checks from their group health insurer, this year may be different as insurance companies are expected to pay back record excess premiums, as required by the Affordable Care Act. The landmark insurance law requires that insurers spend at least 80% of their premium income on medical care and medications, but expected payouts in 2018 came in way below expectations. That means they have to pay out rebates for the overcharge. Analysts expect that insurers will pay out $1.4 billion in rebates, $600 million of which would be paid to small and…
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Don’t Forget State-Mandated Anti-Harassment Training for Your Employees

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If you have not gotten started on your efforts to provide anti-harassment training to your California employees, you need to get working on it now. A new law passed last year puts the onus on most employers in the state to provide anti-sexual harassment training to their staff every two years. Starting this year, employers with five or more workers must provide: At least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees, and At least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all non-supervisory staff. To be compliant by Jan. 1, 2020, as per the law,…
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How to Prepare for Possible PG&E Power Outages

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PG&E has warned California residents and businesses that it may shut down the power grid for as long as five days for large portions of the state when there are high-wind conditions during the dry fire season. That’s because PG&E’s infrastructure was found to be the cause of several recent California wildfires. PG&E has sent letters to residents and business in the Central Valley, Bay Area, Sacramento area, Foothills, Northern counties and beyond informing them that “if extreme fire danger conditions threaten a portion of the electric system serving your community, it will be necessary for us to turn off…
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Off-the-clock Work Ban Can Save You From Troubles

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Wage and hour lawsuits are on the rise, usually with non-exempt employees claiming they weren’t paid either for overtime or for work they may have performed before or after their shift. But, if you have ironclad policies in place, you can greatly minimize both the chances of being sued and also losing the case. One California case illustrates how one employer, thanks to its policies on prohibiting work off the clock, was able to avoid a trial and payment of damages after an appeals court threw out a potential class-action suit by employees claiming they hadn’t been paid for overtime…
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Cost Containment Biggest Workers’ Comp Concern

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Cost containment will be the chief workers’ comp insurance concern for U.S. employers over the next 12 months, according to a survey. Zywave, an insurance software company, found that among the 3,500 companies polled, 59% were “very or somewhat concerned” about cost containment this year. Despite the results, there are a number of ways that employers can control those costs, including establishing a solid safety program and helping injured employees return to work. The survey results included the following: Respondents said the most effective workers’ comp cost control method was a safety-minded culture (65%). Although 59% said that a light-duty…
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What Workers Need to Know About Group Life Insurance

| posted in Blog

Voluntary group life insurance is offered to employees as an optional benefit, and often employers will pay the small premium as an employee retention tool and provide workers some peace of mind for their families. There are various avenues for funding these group plans and different underwriting criteria that can either reduce or increase the premium amounts. The employer may cover the premium directly, or employees may share in the premium burden through payroll deductions after tax. In most cases, life insurance face amounts will vary from policy to policy and will usually be based in part on each employee’s…
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