Employees that regularly work in California are entitled to workers’ compensation even if they are injured while working out of state. Section 3600.5(a) of the California Labor Code allows employees to file for funds while injured. This issue came to the forefront when an employee for a California cranes and rigging firm was injured in Jamaica. A judge determined that the employee regularly worked in California, and that he was thus entitled to claim state workers’ compensation benefits.

I 9 Forms and Remote Workers

U.S. employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for each new hire. As part of the Form I-9 process, the employer must physically examine the documents presented by the employee for employment eligibility purposes.  Starting on March 20, 2022, however, DHS deferred the physical inspection requirements associated with the Form I-9 process only for those workers fully working remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This I-9 Requirement Flexibility has been extended by DHS until October 31, 2022.

  • DHS is proposing changes to the Form I-9 and its accompanying instructions that would allow employers to indicate that alternative procedures were used.
  • DHS is considering various document retention requirements, including requiring employers to retain copies of any documents presented remotely via video, fax, or email. DHS requests comments on any costs or increased burden for employers to retain such documentation, as well as comments on the benefits, costs, or any burdens for employees related to such document retention.
  • The Form I-9 changes would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), when conducting an audit, to know that the employer used alternative verification procedures.

DHS is considering adding a fraudulent document detection and an anti-discrimination training requirement for employers. For example, an employer using the alternative procedure may need to take a 30-60-minute online training on detecting fraudulent documents remotely and avoiding discrimination in the process.

Workers comp premiums to rise

  • Workers compensation premiums in CA are forecast to increase in 2022, according to the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California.
  • With declining premium rates, increasing claim frequency and an influx of COVID-19 claims, the 112% projected combined ratio for accident year 2021 is the highest in a decade.
  • Premium levels dropped in 2020 due to continued insurer rate decreases and the pandemic-related economic slowdown, while the premium level was relatively flat.
  • The frequency of non-COVID-19 indemnity claims rose sharply in 2021 and the share of indemnity claims involving cumulative trauma is also rising.