Don’t Forget Remote Workers in Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies

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If you have staff working from home as a result of changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, you still need to stay on top of your obligations to protect your staff from sexual harassment. Not being physically in the office doesn’t seem to have had an effect on employee sexual harassment as employers paid out more than $65 million in sexual harassment settlements and court awards in 2020, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While most workplace sexual harassment has historically taken place in person at the workplace, a good portion has migrated online in the form of harassment…
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Health Expenses a Major Source of Mental Health Issues for U.S. Workers

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A new study has found that more than one in four U.S. workers say expensive medical bills are having a major impact on their mental health. Mental health issues have come to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic, spurring employers to expect their group health plans to do more for their workers in this area. The report on the study by the health care consulting company Centivo urges employers to consider new ways to reduce the medical financial burden some of their employees may be experiencing. Mental health is already on the radar of employers: Large businesses reported that addressing…
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OSHA Proposes Changes to Injury, Illness Reporting Rules

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has revived a regulation that would change which employers have to file their injury and illness logs electronically, in particular increasing reporting requirements for companies in high-hazard industries. The proposed regulations are similar to ones that were implemented during the tail end of the Obama administration, and that were ultimately rescinded after Donald Trump took office in 2017. The proposed regs would require increased reporting for certain employers, but the biggest worry among employers is that injury and illness information would be made public online, which they say could in turn yield public relations…
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Think Like a Risk Manager to Reduce Your Insurance Costs

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All large corporations and national businesses have someone in charge of risk management, if not a whole department. But hiring a risk specialist or dedicating a number of employees to that kind of work is typically too expensive for most small and mid-sized companies. So, this risk mitigation typically is left to the business owner or the duties are spread among senior managers. Also, insurance companies like policyholders that try to manage their risks, and they reward them by reducing their premiums. You can reduce the cost of your insurance if you start thinking like a risk manager. You can…
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Small-Group Market Remains Stable under the ACA

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A new report has concluded that the Affordable Care Act, which took full effect in 2013, did not result in a significant change in the number of employers offering health insurance, although the rate at which small employers offered coverage declined slightly by 2.6 percentage points between 2013 and 2020. The study by the Urban Institute found that the small-group health insurance market remained relatively stable during those seven years, a period marked by employers continuing to shift more of the premium burden to their employees. As of 2020, about half of small employers (companies with fewer than 50 employees)…
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8 Tips to Shorten the Life of Workers’ Comp Claims

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One workers’ compensation claim can send your experience modifier spiraling out of control if the injured employee stays away from work for an extended period of time. The longer they are off work, the more costly the claim becomes since they will continue receiving temporary disability payments. That’s in addition to any medical expenses that are incurred. Long open claims can hurt your future insurance premiums as well, so it’s to your benefit to work with the doctor, the injured worker and the insurance company claims adjuster to get the claim closed as soon as is feasible and safe for…
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Non-Owned Auto Coverage Essential for Any Business

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Even businesses that own fleets of autos sometimes use vehicles that do not belong to them. Often, a company asks an employee to run an errand or visit a customer or vendor using that employee’s car. The business may be legally liable for anything an employee acting on its behalf does while behind the wheel. Lawsuits and accompanying legal costs may confront the business if they have an accident, putting the company’s assets at risk. Many business automobile insurance policies cover this situation, but they do not do so automatically. The standard Insurance Services Office business auto policy uses numbered…
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Employers Curtail Health Cost-Shifting to Workers

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One of the health insurance trends that went largely unnoticed in 2021 was that employers halted cost-shifting to their employees by reducing or holding steady workers’ deductibles and other cost-sharing. That’s according to a new study by consulting firm Mercer, which points out that concerns about health care affordability for lower-wage workers, coupled with a difficult hiring environment and the need to attract and retain talent, has prompted many firms to not pass on cost-sharing in the form of higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. Additionally, despite average group health premiums growing 6.3% in 2021, employers did not increase employee’s share…
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Hospital Indemnity Insurance a Key Voluntary Benefit

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Most employers offer major medical coverage to their full-time employees. But that still leaves workers and their families with significant exposure to financial hardship in the event of a serious medical emergency. For example, even with insurance, treating a broken leg or undergoing emergency appendicitis surgery can mean thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical costs. Meanwhile, most households can’t afford to cover a $1,000 emergency. Fortunately, employers can help by offering their workers voluntary hospital indemnity insurance that can provide peace of mind in case they have a serious medical episode.   Hospital indemnity insurance This coverage offers a cash…
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Stay on Top of These New Laws, Rules in 2022

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Every year starts with a flurry of new laws and regulations that California employers have to contend with. And 2022 is no different as the California legislature had a busy year and the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in more activity. The end result is another round of new laws that employers need to stay on top of so they don’t run afoul of them. With no further ado, here are the top regulations and laws affecting California businesses.   Big change to Cal/OSHA citations A new law adds two new Cal/OSHA violation categories that carry penalties of up…
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