Workers Compensation COVID-19 FAQs

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many states have announced changes or proposed changes that may affect workers’ compensation insurance class codes. These vary, but most include the ability for businesses to temporarily reclassify for the purposes of workers’ compensation coverage employees who are being paid but not working, and some states allow businesses to reclassify employees temporarily reassigned to clerical roles.

Please refer to the regulations for each specific state for details. We’ve included states that have issued specific updates below, and links to additional state resources can be found here.

Businesses should reach out to their payroll specialist or contact the Oasis Workers’ Compensation department for information on their specific situation.

California

How has the COVID-19 pandemic and related regulations affected California workers’ compensation insurance premiums?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California has recently finalized amendments proposed in April that may affect workers’ compensation insurance class codes and premium payments:

Allow exclusion of payroll from the premium calculation any employees who are not working but still receiving pay.
  • For businesses that continue to pay employees while they are not working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (including, but not limited to sick or family leave payments), the affected employees’ payroll may be excluded from workers’ compensation premium charges based on the employees’ regular rate of pay. The class code for these employees will be temporarily changed to 0012. This change will stay in place until 30 days after the stay-at-home order has been lifted.
Allow assignment of classification 8810 for some temporary changes in duties.
  • For businesses that reassign employees to a clerical job, the employees’ payroll may be reclassified to the clerical class code of 8810. The payroll that is reclassified will be charged at the lower workers’ compensation rate the state has assigned to this class code. This does not apply to employees already in a class code that includes clerical work in the description. This is a one-time change and will remain in place until 60 days after the stay-at-home order has been lifted.
These changes are retroactive to the date when the stay-at-home order began (March 19, 2020), or when the business was first affected, whichever is later. For example, when employees ceased working, but continued to be paid wages, or when employees were reclassified to a new class code. Employers should work with their insurance representative to identify when their exposure began and keep separate, accurate and verifiable records to track this information.

Delaware

How have Delaware workers’ compensation insurance regulations changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau has announced changes that may affect workers’ compensation insurance class codes and premium payments:
  • Allow exclusion of payroll of employees who are not working but still receiving pay from the premium calculation. For businesses that continue to pay employees while they are not working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the payroll of affected employees may be excluded from workers’ compensation premium charges. The class code for these employees would be temporarily changed to 1212.
  • Allow assignment of classification 953 for a temporary change in duties. For businesses that reassign employees to a clerical job, the employees’ payroll may be reclassified to the class code of 953. This class code includes telecommuting. The change also allows for reclassification to other codes as appropriate due to temporary COVID-related job changes. The payroll that is reclassified will be charged at the lower workers’ compensation rate the state has assigned to this class code.
These changes are retroactive to April 1, 2020, or when the business was first affected, whichever is later. For example, when employees ceased working, but continued to be paid wages, or when employees were reclassified to a new class code. It will be important for businesses to keep separate, accurate, and verifiable records that track this information. These exceptions will remain in effect until December 31, 2020. This expiration date is subject to change as circumstances warrant. However, once normal business operations resume, appropriate class codes should be used. Businesses should reach out to their payroll specialist or contact the Oasis Workers’ Compensation department for information on their specific situation.

New Jersey

How have New Jersey workers’ compensation insurance regulations changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of New Jersey has announced changes that may affect workers’ compensation insurance class codes and premium payments:
  • Allow exclusion of payroll of employees who are not working but still receiving pay from the premium calculation. For businesses that continue to pay employees while they are not working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the affected employees’ payroll may be excluded from workers’ compensation premium charges. The class code for these employees would be temporarily changed to 0012.
  • Allow assignment of classification 8810 for a temporary change in duties. For businesses that reassign employees to a clerical job, the employees’ payroll may be reclassified to the clerical class code of 8810. The payroll that is reclassified will be charged at the lower workers’ compensation rate the state has assigned to this class code. This does not apply to employees already in a class code that includes clerical work in the description.
These changes are retroactive to March 21, 2020, or when the business was first affected, whichever is later. For example, when employees ceased working, but continued to be paid wages, or when employees were reclassified to a new class code. Clients should work with their insurance representative to identify when their exposure began. It will be important to keep separate, accurate, and verifiable records that track this information. The changes will remain in effect during the stay-at-home emergency order, and, if appropriate, for such limited time thereafter as is necessary for the employer to return to standard business operations, not to exceed 45 days after the emergency order has been lifted. Businesses should reach out to their payroll specialist or contact the Oasis Workers’ Compensation department for information on their specific situation.

New York

How have New York state workers’ compensation insurance regulations changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board issued a bulletin with changes effective May 1, 2020, for new and renewal policies, and effective March 16, 2020, for in-force policies, that will remain in effect for up to 30 days after the New York state stay-at-home order is lifted. The Board has established a new class code, 8873, Telecommuter Reassigned Employees, that can be applied to the payroll of workers who have been temporarily reassigned to clerical duties, as well as to those who continue to be paid while home not working. The rate of this new class code will mirror that of 8810, Clerical, which has the lowest associated premium rate. The order also clarifies that workers who are currently classified under 8871, Telecommuter Clerical Employees, are to remain there as the new code is designed to address temporary situations due to COVID-19 only. Businesses should reach out to their payroll specialist or contact the Oasis Workers’ Compensation department for information on their specific situation.

Pennsylvania

How have Pennsylvania workers’ compensation insurance regulations changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau announced changes that may affect workers’ compensation insurance class codes and premium payments:
  • Allow exclusion of payroll of employees who are not working but still receiving pay from the premium calculation. For businesses that continue to pay employees while they are not working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the payroll of affected employees may be excluded from workers’ compensation premium charges. The class code for these employees would be temporarily changed to 1212.
  • Allow assignment of classification 953 for a temporary change in duties. For businesses that reassign employees to a clerical job, the employees’ payroll may be reclassified to the class code of 953. This class code includes telecommuting. The change also allows for reclassification to other codes as appropriate due to temporary COVID-related job changes. The payroll that is reclassified will be charged at the lower workers’ compensation rate the state has assigned to this class code.
These changes are retroactive to April 1, 2020, or when the business was first affected, whichever is later. For example, when employees ceased working, but continued to be paid wages, or when employees were reclassified to a new class code. It will be important for businesses to keep separate, accurate, and verifiable records that track this information. These exceptions will remain in effect until December 31, 2020. This expiration date is subject to change as circumstances warrant. However, once normal business operations resume, appropriate class codes should be used. Businesses should reach out to their payroll specialist or contact the Oasis Workers’ Compensation department for information on their specific situation.

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