This year has been unpredictable. None of us ever imagined experiencing what we have since March 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused you, as an employer, to seek and immediately implement creative solutions to keep your business going. Do you have employees working from home, delivery employees or paid furloughed employees? Have you reduced staff? If you have, we recommend you make an adjustment to your workers’ compensation insurance policy.
When the pandemic started, you did not have time to carefully consider and plan a change to your business model. You had to take immediate action to keep your employees safe, keep attracting customers and keep working. At first, you didn’t know if you were going to have to change for a week, a month or a year before resuming to business as normal. Now, you don’t know (none of us do!) if you will return to the old normal, or a new normal. The key to survival is caution and flexibility.
We applaud you for the flexible solutions you implemented to keep operating. We have seen specialty stores demonstrate and sell items online and then make them available for curbside pickup or shipping. Restaurants started curbside service and delivery. Contractors implemented new cleaning and distancing protocols. Office employees are working from home. Some businesses are rotating their staff, while others have furloughed some and kept others. Whatever actions you took, we know you took the actions you thought best to keep you and your employees going during a pandemic. We also have faith you will continue to do the best you can.
Part of doing your best is advising your workers’ compensation insurance agent of the changes you made. They may affect the coverage and the cost of your workers’ compensation insurance policy. The 3 major changes to be aware of are:
Class Code Changes:
We are in a very fluid time. If you have employees you placed in a temporary position change, you will need to document your payroll records when they started working with the new position/responsibilities and when they stop the new position/responsibilities. For example:
8871 - Clerical Telecommuter Employees
Document your payroll records when an employee started working from home and pay the lower rate for code 8871 from the date they started working at home to the date they return to your location. Please note that if they work part time at your location and part time at home, all their pay stays under their normal classification. This would only apply if they had a temporary job assignment change.
Please understand that you have a potential 24-hour work comp exposure when they work at home. To help limit that exposure, you may wish to limit them to only working within certain hours.
7380 - Drivers, Chauffeurs, Messengers and Their Helpers
If you have employees now performing deliveries, document your payroll records for the time when they are on deliveries.
Please remember to check their motor vehicle records and review driver safety requirements with them. Employees and other drivers are stressed and distracted during this unusual time. You want to help prevent an accident from occurring. We encourage you to have them review online driver safety training.
0012 - Paid Furloughed Employees
This is a new classification in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. You may have employees who are not working and are being paid. We understand that employees may be family or like family. You want to take care of them. That is commendable. If you have an employee who is not performing any work for you, there is no exposure to them being injured on the job. You shouldn’t have to pay premium when there is no exposure. And, you don’t have to.
If you document your payroll records when they are furloughed, you can record the pay to them under code 0012 and you will not be charged premium. This will also not be included in your experience rating.
If they are home performing work, you would not use 0012, you would use the 8871 Clerical Telecommuter Employees classification.
Do you have any employees that are working remotely? Do you know where they are located? If they have chosen to relocate to a different state during this pandemic, you may have an exposure problem. Recently, we had an employer call us and describe this exact situation to us. They had employees that were working remotely. Unbeknownst to them, the employee had decided to relocate with all their family to a vacation home in a rural area in another state. Suddenly, the insured had an exposure in a state that wasn’t endorsed on to their policy. Don’t get caught in this situation. Know where your employees are and if, they relocate to another state, contact your agent immediately.
You may also be experiencing payroll changes for your employees. We recommend that if your payroll changes are +/- 15%, then we encourage you to report those changes to your workers’ compensation insurance agent. This way, your policy can be updated to reflect your new information, and your premium can change accordingly.
For more information on workers compensation and Covid-19, please click here to the Work Comp Associates, Inc. website:
We also invite you to call us at (844) WCA-FLWC (922-3592). We are here to help Florida employers during this challenging time.