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This is the second of two parts on the top 10 laws that will be affecting your business.

  1. First aid rules reporting

New amendments to the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan require that even small, medical-only first aid claims be reported.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau has always required that these small claims be reported, but the requirement has never been codified.

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, insurance companies are required to report to the Rating Bureau the cost of all claims for which any medical care is provided and medical costs are incurred – including those involving first aid treatment – even if the insurer did not make the payment.

Because the rules require insurers to report these claims, they will likely pass that requirement on to you, the policyholder. That will likely include requiring you to submit all first aid bills to them for payment, rather than paying for treatment yourself.

 

  1. Marijuana is legal

Many businesses have become concerned about the legalization of marijuana in California, particularly how it affects their rights as employers to conduct pre-employment drug testing and dealing with employees who try to use pot on the job.

Fortunately, Proposition 64 included a number of safeguards for employers, allowing them to have anti-drug workplace rules in place. In fact, these safeguards were built into the initiative to the point that the California Chamber of Commerce took a neutral stance on the measure.

And despite California’s medical marijuana laws, courts have said that employers are not required to allow patients to imbibe prior to or while on the job. Also, because it is still illegal under federal law, you can also bar employees from keeping marijuana, transporting it or selling it at work.

Just as you have rules against working while intoxicated from alcohol, you should have similar rules for pot.

 

  1. New cellphone law

California already bars texting or talking on the phone without a hands-free device while driving, and now there’s a new law that takes into account the many new uses of smartphones.

If you have any employees that drive on the job, you need to update your employee manual to reflect Assembly Bill 1785, which prohibits motorists from driving “while holding and operating” a hand-held wireless telephone or a wireless electronic communication device.

Because people use their phones now for more than just texting and talking – think interacting with apps, using Facebook or surfing the Net – the law needed updating.

But it authorizes a driver to operate a smartphone mounted on a vehicle’s windshield like a GPS or on the dashboard or center console “in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road,” and if the driver can activate or deactivate a feature or function “with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the finger.”

 

  1. ACA document deadline change

The IRS extended the deadline for distributing Affordable Care Act health insurance reporting forms to their employees to March 2 from Jan. 31, to give employers more time to get their accounting systems in order.

This law only applies to applicable large employers as defined by the ACA (those with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent workers). The law requires those employers to distribute forms 1095-C (Employer-provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage) and 1095-B (Health Coverage) to employees.

The deadlines for filing other ACA-related forms with the IRS have not changed.

 

  1. Smoking in the workplace

There has been a loophole in the California law that prohibits smoking of tobacco products inside an enclosed place of employment, unless the only employee is the owner and operator of the business.

The new law expands the prohibition on smoking in all enclosed places of employment to all establsihments of any size, including a place of employment where the owner-operator is the only employee.

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