Subrogation (BWC presenters): Subrogation is when the BWC recovers some of the claim costs from a 3rd party (auto insurer or defective product manufacturer or owner of biting dog) that caused the injury. As an employer, notify the BWC if you hear that your employee is suing another party involved in an industrial accident. If the claimant doesn’t tell the BWC he/she has filed against the 3rd party, the BWC can recover ALL the claims costs. Otherwise, the BWC gets pennies on the dollar and the bulk of the claims costs continues to impact your premium rates.
Human Factors in Accident Investigation & Analysis (BWC presenter): Human perception is not accurate (this includes management!). Create checklists and require workers to go through the entire checklist every time. And then audit the checklists and the behavior. Otherwise, humans will choose to ignore the process. After all, if they haven’t been hurt before, they won’t be hurt this time, right?
ADA & FMLA (Employment attorney presenter): This is a chess game, and each party makes only one move at a time. Take one more step, give the employee one more chance than you need/want to, and the employer can win. The employer has a right to get the information it needs to make decisions. The employer must be flexible, and the employee can’t dictate exactly what he/she wants. Have the employee deal directly with HR; supervisors should not have access to medical information or act as go-betweens.
RTW Strategies (Employment attorney presenter): There are two well-known facts: it is completely counter-productive to keep soft tissue injuries off work, and the longer someone is off work, the less likely they are to return to work. Send a valid, specific job offer ASAP, and do not include “we can accommodate any restrictions” language. Keep a log of the details of each job offer and the response (if any). Hearing officers can terminate TT compensation back to the date of the valid job offer, when the employer has shown a good faith effort to get the claimant back to work.
Advantages & Pitfalls of Using the Internet (TPA presenter): HR can use social media to find out what the employee was doing before the claimed injury, or to find out what the claimant is doing while off work. And then, engage a professional to capture the evidence so it can be used at hearing or in court. Do not “friend” your employees.
Fraud (BWC presenters): Claimant fraud includes claiming an injury that did not occur at work and/or working while collecting TT compensation. The BWC will investigate even after the employee has returned to work. Employer fraud includes deliberately reporting payroll under the wrong manual classification or failing to pay premiums. Provider fraud includes deliberately billing the wrong codes or running a drug mill. There is a difference between fraud and abuse.
March 1-April 30
OCP application period
EM cap requirements to be completed
DFSP annual report due for July 1 program start
DFSP application due for July 1 program
OCP application due for July 1 program
ISSP application for July 1 program
Group retro application filed to the BWC (group will require earlier application)
Individual retro application due
Deductible program application due
Transitional work bonus application due for July 1 program
MCO open enrollment
Second 50/50 payment due
OCP education requirements deadline
Safety council deadline for FY 2013 rebate
OCP – One Claim Program
DFSP – Drug Free Safety Program
ISSP – Industry Specific Safety Program
MCO – Managed Care Organization
Ohio workers’ compensation premiums are due by the close of business on Friday, February 28, 2014.
If you report your payroll and pay your premiums on line at www.bwc.ohio.gov, the BWC will automatically calculate and deduct a 1% Go Green discount.
You will not get the discount if you pay your premiums through the Ohio Business Gateway. You will not get the discount if you only pay the minimum $50 in premium. You will not get the discount if you choose to pay only half the premiums that are due (50/50 payment option).
If you have elected coverage for yourself as a sole proprietor, partner in a partnership, or corporate officer incorporated as corporation, you must report at least a minimum of $419 per week ($10,894 for 6 months) as your payroll. The maximum you should report is $1,256 per week ($32,656 for 6 months). You must report the actual amount if it falls between the minimum and maximum.
Officers of a corporation are also subject to the minimum / maximum. Officers of Subchapter S corporations must report a reasonable amount of wages for the services they perform.
The compensation of all other employees must be reported as earned. If you are not sure which workers are employees and which are independent contractors, consult your employment law attorney and your TPA. You can also ask the BWC, but that could trigger an audit.
The second 50/50 premium payment is due Monday, December 2, 2013. December 1st is the usual due date but it falls on a Sunday this year, so the BWC has given you until the close of business on Monday to get your payment in.
You must make your payment online at www.ohiobwc.com. Enter your User ID and password. You will be taken to the My Policy page for your company. Click on the Make Payment button in the upper right corner of the page. Follow the instructions to make or schedule your payment.
Do not wait until December 2 to schedule or make your payment, in case there is a weather situation and the power is out. The worst thing you can do is lapse your coverage!
The close of business on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 is the deadline to report payroll for the first half of 2013. The usual deadline is August 30, but it’s the Saturday of Labor Day weekend so the next business day is Tuesday.
Log in at www.ohiobwc.com and click on Report and Pay on the home page. Enter your policy number. (Read or print the latest edition of Payroll News.) Choose 1/1/13-6/30/13 from the drop down list. Enter the 6 months of payroll for each manual classification. Elected officers in a corporation must report compensation of at least a minimum of $10,894 and up to a maximum of $32,656. If you are a sole proprietor or partner in a partnership and have elected coverage for yourself, be sure to report compensation between $10,894 and $32,656 for yourself in the manual classification that includes SN.
The next page is new and shows which payment options will give you a discount. Make your choice and click Next. The next page is a summary of your payroll and payment choices; click Previous if you want to make changes. Click Make Payment and read the payment choices. Enter your initials to show you have read the choices, and click Next. Click OK once you have entered your payment information. The next screen will provide an opportunity to charge additional premium to another bank account or credit card, in case you want to spread the payments over more than one credit card or bank account.
Read the Electronic Signature page, and enter your initials. Click I Agree.
PRINT the Payment Confirmation page as your receipt, using the Print button at the top of the page. Trust me; you want to have a copy showing when you paid.
PRINT your coverage certificate. Post it with all your other employment posters.
Now your business is protected and your employees are covered for 8 more months.
It’s been more than a month since the BWC audit, and my client just got a call saying their biggest manual classification will be changed from one with a base rate of 0.0995 to one with a base rate of 0.0314. The company will get a refund of about $15,000.
I recently blogged about attending the audit and I praised the auditor for spending more than 30 minutes searching for a lower rated manual classification. But he wouldn’t have looked if I hadn’t insisted he take a tour of the shop, where he saw that the risk of injury was much less than the base rate indicated.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: your accountant knows your numbers, but your TPA knows (or should know) your programs and your operation. TPAs should be at payroll audits, or at least invited.
I like to attend BWC audits with my clients. I can bring clarification for the auditor and minimize changes that are detrimental to my clients. Often I learn something. Here’s what I learned from the latest audit I attended.
The BWC is concerned about the financial health of its customers, so it schedules an audit to cover one year. If the audit results in a refund for the company, the BWC may audit a second year hoping to return more money to its customer. If the audit results in additional premiums due from the company, the BWC will not look at a second year.
I encouraged our auditor to take a tour of the workplace. Once he saw what work was performed, he spent more than 30 minutes looking for a less expensive manual classification, because the risk of injury at my client’s facility was obviously less than the risk at other companies in the same classification. He didn’t find a better classification, but he really tried.
Only partners in a partnership are bound by the minimum & maximum reporting requirements (assuming they have elected coverage). The President and Vice President in a partnership are titles, not elected officers as in a corporation, and so their compensation is reportable as employees.
There has been a BWC committee since 2006 to eliminate the minimum and maximum reporting requirements. The minimums discourage sole proprietors and partners from electing coverage for themselves. Nonprofits, like the Elks and the Eagles, have to report minimums & pay premiums to cover their officers, who are often unpaid volunteers.
What is the auditor looking for?
Are the payroll numbers reported to ODJFS (unemployment comp) and the IRS the same as the payroll numbers reported to the BWC?
Are the manuals assigned to the employer correct? Does the employer need additional classifications? Is each employee’s payroll reported under the correct classification?
Has the construction workers cap been applied correctly?
Are there additional payments or benefits provided to employees that should be included in the payroll reported to the BWC?
Are 1099 recipients independent contractors, or are they really employees?
Verification of the type of entity, such as corporation, LLC, partnership, etc. Are the payrolls for the officers/partners/sole proprietors reported correctly?
Has all casual labor payroll been reported?
What a BWC audit ISN’T
An inspection to find safety violations and notify OSHA or the Department of Labor.
An excuse to waste a lot of employer’s time.
A witch hunt.
Ohio workers’ compensation premiums are due by the close of business on Thursday, February 28, 2013.
If you report your payroll and pay your premiums online at www.ohiobwc.com, the BWC will automatically calculate and deduct a 1% Go Green discount. You will not get the discount if you pay your premiums through the Ohio Business Gateway. You also will not get the discount if you have to pay the minimum premium of $50.
If you have elected coverage for yourself as a sole proprietor, partner in a partnership, or corporate officer incorporated as corporation, you must report a minimum of $405 per week ($10,530 for 6 months) as your payroll. The maximum you may report is $1,214 per week ($31,564 for 6 months). You must report the actual amount if it falls between the minimum and maximum.
Officers of a corporation must also report at least the minimum. Officers of Subchapter S corporations must report a reasonable amount of wages for the services they perform.
The payroll of all other employees must be reported as earned, without regard to any minimums or maximums. If you are not sure which workers are employees and which are independent contractors, consult the BWC, your accountant, your employment law attorney, or your TPA.