Insurance Commissioner Approves Critical COVID-19 Workers Compensation Rules

The California Insurance Commissioner has approved the industry supported special regulatory filing to make rule changes to the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP) and the California Workers’ Compensation Experience Rating Plan—1995 (ERP). The most significant rule change is the approval of the regulations that would exclude COVID-19 claims from a contractor’s experience modification rate (EMR).


In light of Executive Order N-62-20 which declared that COVID-19-related illness of an employee shall be presumed to have occurred at work (covered by workers’ compensation), these proposed regulations were of critical importance in protecting contractors from significant increases in their EMR related to COVID-19 incidents. Below is a summary of all aspects of the approved rules:


Exclude COVID-19 Claims from Experience Rating

Claims arising directly from a diagnosis of COVID-19 with an accident date on or after December 1, 2019, will be excluded from the experience rating calculations of individual employers.


Exclude Payments to Employees Who Continue to Be Paid While Not Working

Payments made to employees who were continue to be paid while not engaged in any work activities will be excluded from reportable payroll. This exclusion will apply during the time California’s statewide stay-at-home order is in place, and for up to 30 days thereafter, if the employee continues not to work.


Allow Assignment of Classification 8810 for Temporary Change in Duties

The temporary assignment of Classification 8810, Clerical Office Employees, will be allowed for employees whose job duties meet the definition of a Clerical Office Employee due to increased work from home. This provision applies while California’s statewide stay-at-home order is in place, and for up to 60 days thereafter, if the employee continues to meet the definition of a Clerical Office Employee. However, it does not apply to the payroll of employees whose payroll is otherwise assignable to a standard classification that specifically includes Clerical Office Employees.

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