Bieber and General Labor: What Do You Mean?
Staffing Workers' Compensation Class Codes
It’s not every day that pop culture is worked into insurance-related conversations, much less Justin Bieber. However, the title of his new song “What Do You Mean?” correlates well with class codes.
For instance, some staffing companies describe their employees’ job duties as “general labor” for class code requests. You’re probably wondering, “What’s so bad about that,” but the ambiguity of “general labor” leads to workers’ compensation headaches and leaves brokers asking one question: “What do you mean?”
Let me start by saying that I get it. Class codes are frustrating (much like Bieber), and it can be difficult to gather all the details from clients, but using “general labor” as a job duty description causes confusion and misinterpretation. “General labor” can refer to a multitude of tasks from employees sweeping floors in a warehouse to machine operation on a production line. By providing specific, descriptive job duties you can eliminate the misclassification of work, a potentially costly error.
Here’s why avoiding “general labor” job descriptions will go a long way in lowering your blood pressure and workers’ compensation costs:
Misclassification of work can lead to additional premiums on your workers’ compensation policies.
- Using “general labor” as a job description leaves your broker and carrier with minimal detail to properly classify work. It opens up the door for work to be reclassified at audit under a higher rated code. Running payroll under higher rated codes means you’re going to be paying an additional premium out of pocket after the policy has expired and after you’ve billed your client at a lower rate.
Carriers have excluded job duty lists, as well as excluded code lists.
- In addition to excluded code lists, many carriers issue “excluded job duties” guidelines which list out employee job duties they’re not willing to approve, even if the code is approved. Without providing specific detail of the job duties, your broker and carrier won’t be able to determine whether or not the work is acceptable.
- “General labor” is not a job duty that any carriers are willing to approve. It doesn’t illustrate why the work is unique and safe enough for an exception to be made or that the work is less hazardous than the code implies.
Specific details will expedite your request and eliminate lag time.
- Vague descriptions force brokers and carriers to ask more questions to determine approval status and ensure work is classified properly. By providing details upfront, you’ll see faster turnaround times on class code requests.
Still not sure how to combat the “general labor” job description within your agency? Try implementing a class code request form with your sales team that asks specific questions regarding the work they’re seeking approval for. Then, forward the completed form to your broker for review. A Florida staffing agency recently implemented a simple class code form and has seen significant improvements in their class code request process. Next time you’re looking for “general labor” to be classified stop and ask yourself, “What do I mean?”
- Workers' Compensation Video Series
- Know Your Digits: Workers' Comp Class Codes
- Top 7 Most Commonly Confused Codes
- Back to Basics: Class Codes
- Where to Look for Class Codes
- Four Quick Tips on Workers' Compensation Classifications
ABOUT THE AUTHOR