Employers - Reporting payroll under Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Governor DeWine's "stay at home" order
Q: Is emergency sick leave and expanded FMLA paid to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act reportable when submitting true-up payroll?
A: No. Emergency sick leave and expanded FMLA paid to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act are not reportable to BWC for premium purposes. While regular paid sick leave (including third-party sick pay) is reportable to BWC, emergency sick leave and expanded FMLA paid under this act are not reportable.
Effective April 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, wages companies pay under the act for sick leave related to COVID-19 are not reportable to BWC. Also, leave time to care for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable for COVID-19-related reasons is not reportable to BWC. Employers must follow the federal government’s eligibility and documentation guidelines to exclude these wages from their reportable payroll and premium calculation at true-up. Wages reported to BWC for premium calculation purposes are subject to verification by a premium audit.
Q: How will employers report wages at true-up for operational employees who are teleworking as a result of Governor Mike DeWine’s “stay at home” order while receiving wages from the employer?
A: To ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses, employers may report operational staff currently teleworking to class code 8871 – Clerical Telecommuter during a declared state of emergency.
- The employer must contact BWC to request the addition of classification code 8871 – Clerical Telecommuter to their policy. This will allow the employer to report wages to class code 8871 during the true-up period.
- The employer is responsible for recording, tracking, and documenting the wages associated with the operational employers now teleworking for premium audit purposes.
- If a worker continues to perform the same duties from home while teleworking, the employer will continue reporting that worker’s wages to the appropriate operational classification code, not to class code 8871.
- For example: the employer manufactures surgical masks. The employer has sent workers home with the equipment and materials to continue making masks. These workers are not 8871 Clerical Telecommuter employees. They would remain under classification 2501 – Cloth, canvas and related products manufacturing. The exposures for them do not change.
- This temporary revision to the class code assignment rule only applies during the time of Governor DeWine’s “stay at home” order, which he initiated March 15, 2020.
- The employer is to cease reporting operational employees’ wages to class code 8871 once the “stay at home” order has ended or if the operational employee(s) return to performing their previous job duties.
To request the addition of class code 8871- Clerical Telecommuter to your policy, please call 1-800-644-6292 or send an email
to RTSclass@ohiobwc.com. Remember to include your policy number in your email request.
Q: What is BWC doing to help employers during this unprecedented time?
A: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has asked the BWC board to send up to $1.6 billion to Ohio employers this spring to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Ohio’s economy and business community. This dividend equals approximately 100% of the premiums employers paid in policy year 2018. BWC will apply the dividend to an employer’s outstanding balances first, including the recent installment deferrals. Any amounts exceeding outstanding balances will be sent to the employer. For those employers, it means one less bill to worry about. As in previous years, the dividend is possible due to strong investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year, and prudent fiscal management. It’s also due to employers who work hard to improve workplace safety and reduce injury claims. Even with the downturn in the market, BWC is able to provide this important dividend to employers while maintaining funds to take care of injured workers for years to come.
Q: Has BWC modified its delivery of care for injured workers through telemedicine and telephone services?
A: Yes. BWC released three policy alerts to date to address the expanded use of telemedicine and
- Policy alert 2020-01 announces a more flexible use of telemedicine and expands the site of care delivery to the injured worker’s home, as well as relaxing the requirements for using a secure platform of communication. It also reduces some administrative burden to notify or request additional authorization from the managed care organization (MCO) to change the care-delivery method.
- Policy alert 2020-02 permits telephonic communication as a temporary substitute for some vocational rehabilitation services.
- Policy alert 2020-03 expands the service providers eligible to provide and bill for virtual check in and/or telephone services (audio only).
Update on employer program reporting/requirement deadlines
Q: Will BWC be extending program reporting/requirement completion deadlines?
A: BWC is waiving all safety education and training requirements for this policy year (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 for private employers) for participants in the following programs:
- Drug-Free Safety Program.
- EM Cap Program.
- Grow Ohio.
- Industry-Specific Safety Program.
- One Claim Program.
- Policy Activity Rebate Program.
Calendar year 2020 public employer program participant requirements will be reviewed in June.
Discounts offered through these programs will be applied automatically.
Additionally, the annual report deadline submission for Drug-Free Safety Program participants has been extended to June 1, 2020.
Update for professional employer organizations
Q: How does BWC’s deferral of premium installment payments apply to state fund employers that are Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs)?
A: PEO employers are required to report actual payroll and pay premiums on a monthly basis, but as state fund employers operating under the COVID-19 climate, they may defer reporting and payments for March and April until June 1st, 2020. As for the May payroll report and premium payment, it will be due as normally scheduled, on or before June 15, 2020. The deferral is automatic, there is no “opt in” requirement to take advantage of this option. Please note this scenario may change as the matter will be reconsidered for direction after June 1, 2020.
Q: How does this impact state fund clients of PEO employers?
A: A client of a PEO employer must maintain active workers’ compensation coverage throughout the duration of any type of PEO agreement. Client employers will be treated the same as all other state fund employers and will have the option to defer payments until June without a lapse in coverage.
We've prepared a Frequently Asked Questions document to provide information about the coronavirus' (COVID-19's) impact on BWC operations.
We're monitoring the situation closely and will provide updates as necessary.