Five Things You Need to Know: 10/19, Friday Edition

                               

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) -

1) IN to See Another Decline in Work Comp Costs for Next Year

“…The Indiana Department of Insurance announced Wednesday that it will decrease how much employers should pay in workers’ compensation by an average of 7.6 percent, beginning in January of 2019,” writes Patrick McGerr and Taylor Haggerty of WFYI.org. Rates also decreased this year, and the year before. “…The department estimates that the reduction will save the state’s businesses $62.7 million. It goes into effect Jan. 1.”

2) CA: Changes are Underway for Some WCIRB Regulatory Ratings/Filings

As of this week, “California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has approved a filing from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau’s (WCIRB) that makes amendments to uniform statistical reporting and experience rating,” according to the Insurance Journal. The WCIRB worked at these changes, along with a public hearing, this August. The filing includes amendments to certain Classifications (including 8868 and 9101), regulation and reporting changes to titles including the “California Workers’ Compensation Experience Rating Plan (1995).” Potential WCIRB changes to the “Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan, Miscellaneous Regulations and Experience Rating Plan,” are also underway. Also, “…The WCIRB is expected to begin calculating 2019 experience modifications within the next several days.”

3) Amazon Receives Some Negative Employee Feedback Regarding Benefit Changes Ahead of the Holiday Season

While Amazon received positive feedback for their minimum wage hike to $15 per hour just in time for holiday workers, there is another change that seems to be getting some feedback of the opposite sort, writes Julia Glum in the MONEY section of TIME. “…Starting Nov. 1, Amazon is ending variable compensation pay — a program many workers rely on to finance their holiday shopping,” per the article. “According to several warehouse employees who spoke to MONEY on the condition of anonymity because they’re afraid of repercussions, the company has suddenly made Christmas a lot harder to afford.” It looks like one of their stock programs for employees has been halted for the holiday season. But, “…Amazon spokeswoman Ashley Robinson tells MONEY that it’ll even out in the end. Employees who had double VCP (variable compensation pay) for October will still see it in their paychecks, as the changes don’t take place for a couple of weeks. She also says ‘all hourly Operations and Customer Service employees will see an increase in their total compensation.’” 100,000 holiday workers are expected to come on as a part of the Amazon team this year in the U.S., per the article. Some employees even quit at one unidentified Amazon warehouse after the changes came to light at the beginning of October, and some rumors are circulating involving potential Black Friday protests. 41 UK Amazon workers also emailed “…CEO Jeff Bezos asking him to reinstate the stock and incentive pay programs.”

4) LA: Temp Staffing Firm Settles to Pay More than $1M in Back Wages to Employees

A Baton Rouge temp staffing firm, Coastal Staffing Services LLC, has settled to pay back wages of more than $1 million to its employees, writes Marian Johns of Legal News Line. “…According to the DOL, Coastal Staffing Services LLC will pay $1,104,466 in back wages to 1,412 employees after an investigation found the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not paying employees one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for more than 40 hours worked,” per the article. “The investigation also found the company paid less than the federal minimum wage when payrolls were missed after the hurricane.” The workers helped homeowners, volunteers and community service staff.

5) PA: Plumber Alleges He Was Exposed to Multiple Dangers Chemicals While on the Job

Philadelphia plumber David Dignetti and wife Deirdre have filed a lawsuit against the University of Pennsylvania, alleging “…a pipe he was working on, which was connected to a campus laboratory, potentially exposed him to a host of blood-borne pathogenic diseases,” writes Nicholas Malfitano of the Pennsylvania Record. “…Unbeknownst to the plaintiff, the pipe was a waste line leading from a campus laboratory, one believed to have recently been in use to conduct experiments on monkeys, primates and other animals.” The couple has encountered a few legal roadblocks, including a potential cross-claim to be filed by the University of Pennsylvania, alleging Torcon, another company, might be to blame for the potential exposure. “’…The infectious waste/liquid which shot out of the laboratory waste line, upon information and belief, contained potential infectious diseases and or microbes of, including, but not limited to: Primate Herpes (Herpes Simian B) HIV1, HIV2, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Herpes, pathogenic Escherichia coli, staphylococcus aureus, salmonella, plasmodium falciparium, toxoplasma Gondi and blood-borne pathogens that are found in a biosafety level 2 laboratory,’” per the suit and article. The couple request damages at more than $50G, interest, trial-by-jury, and court costs.


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