California law requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which provides benefits to an employee who sustains a work-related injury and/or illness and covers payments for medical expenses and replacement income during the time when the employee is off work. As long as the business has at least one (1) employee, even a temporary employee, the employer must carry the insurance. There is a single exception: if the business is a sole proprietorship, workers’ compensation insurance is not required.
Workers Comp and Notice
California business owners should be aware that just paying for the coverage is not enough. Employers are required to notify and advise employees about their legal rights when they suffer a work-related injury/illness. Indeed, California law requires that employers post the “Notice to Employees” document in a conspicuous location at the worksite, such as a breakroom. This Notice to Employees provides information about workers’ compensation benefits and instructions for what they need to do to obtain these benefits.
My Employee Reported an Injury on the Job, What Do I Do?
The onus is on your employee to report their injury. However, once that happens, you must provide the employee with a workers’ compensation claim form within one (1) business day. Delaying can land you in serious legal hot water. After the employee returns the executed form, you must return a copy of the executed claim to the employee within one (1) day, send the claim along with your internal report of the injury to your insurance company’s claims administrator, and authorize up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in medical treatment. If you have any questions about this process, an attorney experienced in dealing with workers comp insurance can advise you.
Can I Require My Injured Employee to Continue Work During Recovery?
You might think that your employee is not injured enough to take time off work. This decision, however, is left up to the employee’s treating physician who will send a medical report to the claims administrator advising of any work restrictions or advising that the employee cannot return to work during recovery. If the physician reports that the employee cannot return to work, you may not force the employee to do so. Alternatively, the physician may allow the employee to return to work per certain work restrictions. It is important to note that it is up to the employer to provide transition work that meets this criteria or else the employee does not have to return to work.
There are two types of transition work: modified and alternative. For modified work, the employee will still be working in his old position but with changes to accommodate the restrictions. Alternative work is where the employee will be performing a new job. If you offer the employee modified or alternative work, your employee will have thirty (30) days to accept the offer. If you do not hear from the employee within that time, you may rescind the offer.
Dealing with the deadlines, requirements, and restrictions under workers compensation insurance can be a headache for many employers. If you have any questions about workers compensation, contact business attorney Drew E. Pomerance today.