The California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) has begun shipping English and Spanish versions of its newly revised workers’ compensation posting notice (If A Work Injury Occurs…) and new hire pamphlet (Facts About Workers’ Compensation), which employers and claims administrators can use to comply with employee notice requirements.
State law allows private entities to publish the posting notice or pamphlets if approved by the DWC, so many insurers, employers and others rely on CWCI to produce the materials and keep them up to date. In September, Governor Brown signed SB 863, mandating a number of workers’ compensation reforms that begin to take effect January 1, 2013. Due to the short time frame for implementation, the community has had to gear up quickly, so as soon as the bill was signed, CWCI updated its pamphlets and posting notices to comply with the changes and obtained the necessary DWC approvals. After that, the Institute translated its updated pamphlet and posting notice into Spanish as required, then copyrighted, typeset and reprinted these notices so that they would be ready for distribution by January 1, when most of SB 863 takes effect. Employers should continue to use current versions of the new hire pamphlets and posting notices through December 31, after which they can replaced with the updated versions.
Among the 2013 updates to the notices are revised language on permanent disability, the supplemental job displacement benefit for injuries on or after January 1, 2013, and physician predesignation;, and new language on the Return-to-Work-Fund. Both insured and self-insured employers are subject to the posting notice and pamphlet requirements, and failure to provide employees with current information can lead to audit penalties, civil penalties of up to $7,000 for each violation of the posting requirement, and a tolling of the statute of limitations for filing claims. The Institute also has updated its injured worker pamphlet, “Facts For Injured Workers,” which is not a mandatory notice, but which many claims administrators provide to injured workers early in the life of their claim to inform them about the claim process, and their rights and obligations. The state plans to make changes to the DWC-1 claim form in 2013, but that form is imbedded in regulation, so until revised regulations are adopted, claims administrators and employers should continue to use the current DWC-1.
CWCI now has all of the materials in stock, and has begun shipping the new versions to those who pre-ordered. Anyone who still needs to obtain the updated materials prior to the January 1 effective date for SB 863, or anyone who needs more information can visit www.cwci.org or call CWCI at (510) 251-9470.