California DWC Approves SB 863 Updates to CWCI New Hire Pamphlets & Posting Notices for 2013

California DWC Approves SB 863 Updates to CWCI New Hire Pamphlets & Posting Notices for 2013

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) has received state approval on revisions to the pamphlets and posting notices that employers and insurers use to meet workers’ comp employee notice requirements set by state law. Insured and self-insured employers are subject to the notice requirements, and failure to provide current information to employees can lead to civil penalties of up to $7,000 for each violation of the posting requirement [LC §6431] and the tolling of the statute of limitations for filing claims.

State law allows private entities to prepare and publish the posting notice or pamphlets if approved in advance by the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), and for many years, insurers, employers and others have depended on CWCI to produce these materials and keep them current. After SB 863 was signed by Governor Brown in September – with many provisions taking effect January 1, 2013 -- the Institute began revising its posting notice, “If A Work Injury Occurs” and its new hire pamphlet, “Facts About Workers’ Compensation.” Among the SB 863 updates are revised language on permanent disability, the supplementary job displacement benefit, physician predesignation, and new language on the Return-to-Work Fund. The updated materials, which CWCI has copyrighted, were approved by the DWC last week as meeting the posting notice and new hire notice requirements. The Institute has translated these notices into Spanish per LC §3551(b) and CCR §9883(e), and has begun typesetting and printing the revised pamphlets. CWCI is accepting pre-orders for the updated notices and will begin shipments later this month so that employers can have the current information available by January 1.

CWCI also has updated its injured worker pamphlet, “Facts For Injured Workers,” and will continue to offer it as part of its pamphlet series. Though there is no longer a statutory requirement that claims administrators include a pamphlet explaining a worker’s benefits and obligations with the first notice of payment or notice of delay, many companies continue to do so as a good claims practice to provide claimants with basic information early in the life of the claim. CWCI also will continue to stock the current notices and claim forms that should be used through December 31, 2012, and as a service to its customers, has reduced the minimum order requirement so anyone needing a limited supply of these materials to meet their interim needs can order smaller quantities.

Unlike the new hire pamphlet and posting notice, state law makes no provision for private entities to develop alternate versions of the DWC-1 claim form, and since that form is imbedded in regulation (CCR 10118.1), it will not be updated until the state amends the current regulation. In the meantime, CWCI will continue to offer the current DWC-1 claim form, produced as a 5-part form (with the NOPE as a tear-off cover sheet and the 4 required copies of the claim form printed on NCR paper to eliminate the need for photocopying). CWCI pamphlets, posting notices and claim forms can be ordered online from the Institute’s Store, www.cwci.org. All orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date on which orders with payment are received. For additional ordering information, call CWCI at 510-251-9470.