New COVID Rules

“I’ve heard my workers’ compensation insurance is now going to be hit when employees get COVID. Will this make my rates go up?”

Your HR Survival Tip

We aren’t yet sure just how SB1159 will affect workers’ compensation insurance rates, if at all. Regardless, we have no choice but to implement the changes required by this new law. Originally, there was a short-term law in place from 7/6-9/17/2020, that presumed anyone working for you might have caught COVID while working and was eligible under your workers’ comp. The new law made this presumption official and extends the time period for more than 2 years…to January 1st, 2023.

If at any time between 9/18/2020 and 1/1/2023 you can answer yes to all the below questions, you must file certain paperwork:

  • Your company has 5 or more employees (including owners, etc.).
  • An employee tested positive for COVID within 14 days of working at your facility or job site.
  • The employee provided you a positive test result.

If you did (or do in the future) answer yes to the above, provide your employee with a DWC1 workers’ comp claim form. Then ask your employee for more details so you can complete Form 5020. Now you have 3 business days to submit Form 5020 and a written report to your workers’ comp claims administrator that includes the following:

  • Employee number (do not use the employee’s name but, instead, use the last 4 of their social security number or their employee number in payroll).
  • The date the employee submitted a specimen for COVID testing.
  • Address of the location(s) the employee worked during the 14-day period prior to a positive test result.
  • The highest number of employees who also worked at each of those locations during the 45-day period before the employee stopped working at each location.

The presumption that your company might be considered responsible for an “outbreak” only occurs when, within 14 days of a positive test, (1) 4 or more employees test positive at a specific location in companies with fewer than 100 employees; -OR- (2) 4% of the highest number of employees who reported to the same specific location test position in companies with 100 or more employees; -OR- (3) your company is ordered to close by the local or state health department due to a risk of infection from COVID.

If you are committed to your safety protocols and keeping your employees safe, you may not be affected by this law. However, remind employees that their behavior outside of work can affect their safety and they should be practicing social distancing and wearing a mask even when around friends and family who don’t live with them.

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