On January 1, 2021, a new workers compensation code, Classification 8871, Clerical Telecommuter Employees goes into effect in California.



Some background information...


There has been a growing trend towards telecommuting or having employees working from home. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the telecommuting trend has been a rapidly increasing.


In response to the pandemic-related Stay-at-Home order, many California employers adjusted some employee duties to clerical work that can be accomplished from employees' homes. There is every expectation that this trend will continue even when the pandemic is over.



About Classification 8871, Clerical Telecommuter Employees...


California has never had a telecommuting classification. Telecommuting employees whose duties met the definition of Clerical Office Employees have historically been assigned to Classification 8810, Clerical Office Employees.


At the April 14, 2020 meeting of the Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) Classification and Rating Committee, members noted that several other states maintain a specfic classification for telecommuters. Committee members recommended, therefore, that the WCIRB consider establishinga similar classification.


The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), as well as a number of other rating jurisdictions, use Classification 8871 Clerical Telecommuter Employees for employees that:


  • Spend more than 50% of their time performing clerical duties from a clerical work area located within their home or any other office space away from any location of their employer , and


  • Spend the remainder of their time engaged in clerical duties at the employer's place of business.



If 50% or more of an employee's time is spent performing clerical duties at the employer's place of business, then they are assigned to Classification 8810 Clerical Office Employees  (rather than Classification 8871).


In most, but not all, states that use Classification 8871, it is lower-rated than Classification 8810. To date, California has not used Classification 8871 and does not have loss and payroll data specific to telecommuter employees in California.


Effective January 1, 2021, Classification 8871 Clerical Telecommuter Employees will be included as a Standard Exception classification in California's 2021 rate filing.  This means that any Standard Classification that includes Clerical Office Employees or Clerical Telecommuting Employees, requires that employees shall be assigned to the standard classification regardless of whether the work is performed at the workplace or at a separate location (including working from home).


There are 41 Standard Exception classifications that specifically include Clerical Office Employees. All of these will be amended to include Clerical Telecommuting Employees in addition to Clerical Office Employees,



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