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News Notes: Workers’ Compensation Hike On The Way

The state Insurance Commissioner has recommended a 10.5% increase in the pure premium rates for workers’ compensation insurance as of Jan. 1, 2003. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau had requested a 13.4% increase, but the commissioner questioned some of the bureau’s future cost estimates.

News Notes: Employers Paying More For Absenteeism, Survey Says

A new absenteeism survey by Commerce Clearing House Inc. indicates that absenteeism costs climbed to an all-time high in 2002—even though absenteeism itself dropped slightly. Employers spent an annual average of $789 per employee for unscheduled days off, up from $755 in 2001. While workers listed illness as the most common reason for calling in […]

News Notes: New Guidelines For Federal Contractor “Separate Facility” Waivers

Employers of 50 or more workers with federal contracts totaling at least $50,000 per year must comply with affirmative action reporting requirements enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). But contractors can seek a “separate facility” waiver from these requirements for their facilities that aren’t connected to the government contract. Now the […]

News Notes: Benefits Plan Singling Out Workers On Medical Leave Violates ERISA

When Professional Risk Management acquired Applied Risk Management, the companies’ agreement provided for all active Applied employees to automatically be transferred to Professional without a break in health benefits coverage. But workers on medical, disability or other extended leave weren’t transferred until they returned to active duty, and they consequently lost health coverage until they […]

Bulletin Item: New Hourly Rates for Certain Exempt Professionals

As of Jan. 1, 2003, the new hourly rate that you must pay certain computer software professionals in order for them to qualify for overtime exemption will be $43.58. And the new hourly rate for exempt licensed physicians and surgeons paid on an hourly basis will be $56.21. The California Department of Industrial Relations adjusts […]

E-Alert Item: Bush Administration Proposes Rules on Converting to Cash-Balance Plans Without Violating Age-Bias Laws

When employers convert traditional retirement plans to cash balance plans, the conversion often results in less money for workers who are closer to retirement age. And, as a result, cash balance plans have come under fire in recent years as being unfair to older workers–and possibly illegal under federal age bias laws. But the Bush […]

E-Alert Item: High Court Won’t Review Vegan’s Case

In the November 2002 article, we reported on a California appeals court ruling that veganism–which is the refusal to eat and use any animal products–doesn’t qualify as a religion under state workplace discrimination laws. Now the California Supreme Court has refused the vegan’s plea to review the appellate court’s decision. As a result of the […]