By Jim Paretti on April 21, 2021  Littler law firm.

Marking the occasion of the 200 millionth COVID-19 vaccine shot administered, President Joe Biden called on employers to provide paid time off to employees to get vaccinated and touted the federal government’s tax credit for certain employers that do so.

The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) extended the availability of tax credits to employers with fewer than 500 employees that provide paid leave to their workers for a variety of COVID-related reasons.  ARPA also expanded the availability of tax credits for time spent obtaining a COVID vaccination.

The provision of paid leave, and availability of tax credits, is voluntary for employers (the requirement that employers offer these paid leave benefits expired on December 31, 2020).  The Internal Revenue Service has published guidance for employers on how they may claim these tax credits, how they are calculated, and what supporting documentation is needed.

As vaccinations are becoming more widely available to those who wish them, many employers are beginning to plan for post-pandemic return to work, including the role vaccinations may play in reopening and bringing employees back into the workplace.  Littler has published a suite of information for employers to assist them in doing so and will keep employers advised of relevant developments.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

WCIRB Recommends Increasing Advisory Pure Premium Rate to $1.50

For the second consecutive year, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau is recommending that the California insurance commissioner increase the advisory pure premium rate.

The WCIRB’s Governing Committee on Wednesday voted 8-4 to recommend that the commissioner increase the advisory pure premium rate to $1.50 per $100 of payroll for policies incepting on or after Sept. 1.

All eight insurer members on the committee voted to adopt methodologies that resulted in the indicated rate of $1.50. The four public members voted against the rate increase and supported reducing rates.

The indicated rate the WCIRB will recommend constitutes a 3.4% increase over the current rate of $1.45 for policies incepting on or after Jan. 1.
The WCIRB’s Actuarial Committee last week approved the staff-submitted methodologies that resulted in the indicated rate increase. The bureau said the methodologies are generally consistent with its Jan. 1, 2021, rate filing.

WCIRB staff essentially excluded accident-year 2020 experience from the latest projections, the bureau said. The COVID-19 pandemic “heavily impacted” wages, premium and loss experience last year, and that data generally will not be used for the Sept. 1 filing, according to a WCIRB staff report.

“In many cases, we’re kind of going from 2019 experience to Sept. 1, 2021, policy experience,” WCIRB Executive Vice President and Chief Actuary Dave Bellusci said during Wednesday’s meeting. “And for similar reasons, this filing, other than the COVID claims costs projections, excludes COVID.”

And while the pandemic is affecting the current policy period, most trends are beginning to stabilize and many areas are experiencing economic recoveries, Bellusci said.