Return to Work Not Just for Workers’ Compensation Claimants

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More employers are using return-to-work programs for injured workers even if they were not injured on the job, according to a study by Prudential Insurance Co. of America. Many employers have a return-to-work program for their injured employees because it cuts down on workers’ comp claims costs and lets the worker get back to feeling productive. But more employers have also started returning employees to work who have been off duty due to non-job-related ailments. The survey found that 49% of large employers have a return-to-work program for their disability programs, and another 22% of employers plan to add such…
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HDHPs Can Continue Covering Telehealth with No Cost-Sharing under New Law

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An expired provision that authorized high-deductible health plans to reimburse for telehealth and other remote health care services before the deductible has been met, has been revived. The provision was extended from April 1 through Dec. 31 after President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing emergency legislation, HDHPs had been required to cover telehealth services with no out-of-pocket costs for the health plan enrollee, but those rules expired at the end of 2021. The extension was included in the budget bill as telemedicine has grown in popularity because it’s convenient particularly…
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Emergency Escape Plans Save Employee Lives; Do You Have One?

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What would your employees do in an emergency? Are they prepared for the unexpected? Do they know what to do? Do they know whom to call for help? Are they qualified to help? If you answered yes to these questions, then great, but if you answered no, then you need to pay special attention. All businesses should have a written emergency plan, and you should provide all of your staff with a copy. It should include: An emergency escape plan, including procedures and escape route assignments. Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate. Procedures to…
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CalSavers Registration Deadline Looms for Small Employers

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The deadline is fast approaching for employers with 5 or more workers in California, and who do not already offer their employees a retirement plan, to register their staff for the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program. Only California employers that do not offer retirement plans are required to register for CalSavers and there are different registration deadlines depending on employer size, staggered over a few years as follows: Employers with 100 or more workers – The deadline for registration was June 30, 2020. Employers with 50 or more workers – The deadline for registration was June 30, 2021. Employers with five or…
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Big Changes to Construction Dual Classes in the Works

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There could be significant changes coming for a number of construction dual-classification codes that could see the threshold for the higher-wage workers jump by as much as $5 per hour. Currently, 16 of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau’s construction and erection class codes are divided into two separate classifications based on the hourly wage of the employees, and each of these classifications has a different advisory workers’ comp benchmark rate. Insurers use these benchmark rates as guideposts for setting their own rates. Because lower-wage workers in these classes have considerably more workplace injuries and more severe injuries, the pure…
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Transitioned to Remote Work? Don’t Fall Afoul of Wage and Hour Laws

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With many companies having decided to allow staff to work remotely permanently or split time between working at home and in the office, employers have to be especially careful about timekeeping and complying with wage and hour laws. That includes requiring staff to show they take meal and rest breaks and are compensated for overtime when they are asked to work extra hours. The lines between work and home life can often blur for remote workers and it’s not unusual for people to work at unusual times when working from home. But it’s important that you set rules for your…
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Law Revives COVID-Related Paid Leave in California

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Gov. Gavin Newsom Feb. 9 signed into law a measure that will extend paid COVID-19 leave benefits for workers in California. AB 84 requires organizations that have 26 or more workers to provide up to 40 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for employees who are unable to work on-site or remotely for one of a number of reasons. The law is retroactive to Jan. 1. Under the legislation anyone who was unable to work due to the COVID-related reasons below would qualify for paid leave: The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 under…
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Coverage Gap Concerns as Cyber Threat Grows

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Small and mid-sized businesses are increasingly being targeted for cyber attacks, as criminals consider them low-hanging fruits that often do not have the resources in place to mount a strong defense. A severe attack on a small company can incapacitate its ability to do business, and the expenses of getting operations back on track — coupled with loss of goodwill — can easily force many firms into bankruptcy. That’s why it’s important to not only have safeguards in place to avoid being compromised in the first place, but to also take out cyber insurance. If you are running a small…
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New Issues for 2022 Group Plan Open Enrollment

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Employers are entering the second year of open enrollment taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still having an outsized impact on the process and which has changed the face of health insurance. There are a number of issues that will have an effect on health plans, including regulations and laws affecting coverage that were born out of the pandemic. Mercer LLC recently published a list of compliance-related priorities that health plan administrators and sponsors have to consider, including: Legal and regulatory changes Health plan transparency in coverage rules takes effect on Jan. 1, 2022. Newly introduced regulations require…
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COVID-19 Drives Surge in Employment Practices Claims

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Employers are being hit with a wave of COVID-19-related employment lawsuits, which is starting to have an effect on employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) rates and coverages. A tally by the law firm of Fisher Phillips found that as of August 2021 there had been 2,950 COVID-19-related employment lawsuits filed in the U.S. Most of the complaints concern remote work arrangements, workplace safety and discrimination. Lawyers predict a new wave building as employers get pushback from some employees about their vaccine policies and continuing safety measures. The most common COVID-19-related complaints are: Remote work and leave issues (28% of total)…
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