Cal/OSHA Extends, Changes Temporary COVID Rules

| posted in Blog

CAL/OSHA’s new COVID-19 workplace safety rules took effect Jan. 14. They extend earlier temporary rules until April 20. Under the new rules, employees must get a test in a health care setting or clinic that is sent to a lab, or take a self-administered test in front of a supervisor or a health care representative. Tests that are self-administered and self-read (like those taken at home) are no longer acceptable under the new rules. Employers can still offer self-read, self-administered COVID-19 tests to workers, but those that need to take a test after an exposure must adhere to the new…
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Stay on Top of These New Laws, Rules in 2022

| posted in Newsletter

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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COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Claims Level Off

| posted in Newsletter

THE NUMBER of COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims in California continues to hold steady as we near the end of the year and the numbers pale in comparison to how many claims were being filed in December 2020, according to new data. To date, there have been 170,387 claims filed through the end of November, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. Additionally, there have been 1,217 workers’ compensation death claims. Here’s where we stand in a month-by-month comparison from May of this year until the end of the year in terms of number of COVID-19 claims by month of injury…
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California Launches Workplace COVID-19 Vaccination Program for Employers

| posted in Newsletter

The state of California has launched a new initiative aimed at helping employers set up on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinics for their employees. As vaccine uptake starts to slow down while more employees return to work, employers have been wrestling with how to get as many of their workers vaccinated as possible. Some companies are requiring staff to get vaccinated while others have been offering incentives like gift certificates to urge them to take the plunge. Due to the complexity of organizing an on-site vaccination clinic, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has created a straightforward “Employer Vaccination Toolkit,” where…
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Rating Bureau Aims to Require COVID-19 Claims Count Against X-Mods

| posted in Newsletter

California’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau has proposed plans to start requiring COVID-19 claims to be included when calculating employer X-Mods, according to a report by an industry trade publication. The proposal, which would have to be approved by the state insurance commissioner, would bring to an end current rules that exclude the impact of COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims on X-Mods, the Workers’ Comp Executive reports. The current measure was put in place after Gov. Gavin Newsom in April 2020 issued an order that any workers who were reporting physically to work and who contracted COVID-19 would automatically be presumed…
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Pandemic Spurs Supplemental Benefits Uptake Among Workers

| posted in Newsletter

A new study has found that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic nearly half of U.S. workers added one new supplemental health-related benefit on top of their group health coverage. The 2021 “Aflac WorkForces Report” found that 44% of employees bought one additional benefit, with life insurance policies seeing the biggest uptake. The fact that so many workers decided to boost their supplemental health benefits reflects the profound effect the pandemic has had on people and how it has opened their eyes to the fragility of life. “Anxieties over the past year brought questions about health coverage ― especially about…
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Compliance Issues for Firms Mulling Incentives, Penalties

| posted in Newsletter

Employers that plan to or have already introduced incentives or penalties to coax their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, have to prepare for likely paperwork and compliance challenges. The Biden administration has made it easier to require employees to get vaccinated after it ordered Fed-OSHA to write regulations mandating that all employers with 100 or more employees require their workers to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. But for firms considering incentives or penalties in the form of higher premium contributions for workers who don’t get vaccinated, there are three federal laws they will need to consider: The…
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COVID-19 Drives Surge in Employment Practices Claims

| posted in Uncategorized

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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COBRA Subsidies Ending; Employers Must Send Out Notices

| posted in Newsletter

The 100% COBRA health insurance subsidies for workers who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic are about to expire on Sept. 30, and that means employers who have former staff receiving those subsidies must notify them of their expiration. If you have former employees who are still on COBRA benefits and receiving the subsidy that was required by the American Rescue Plan Act, you will need to send them a timely notice that the 100% subsidy will end at the end of September and that they will have to start paying premiums if they wish to continue coverage after…
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EEOC Issues New Guidance on Vaccinating Employees

| posted in Newsletter

As more Americans get inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine, employers are wondering where they stand legally on requiring workers to get vaccinated, asking them whether they have been vaccinated and providing incentives for employees to get inoculated. On May 28, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its COVID-19 vaccination guidance to help employers navigate this risk-fraught territory. The following are the highlights: Employers may require vaccinations The EEOC restated its earlier guidance that employers can require staff who enter their worksites to be vaccinated, as long as they can provide reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities or who hold sincere religious beliefs…
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