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  • Lifting of COVID Executive Orders – Some California Payroll Considerations

    Since the March 2020 beginning of the COVID crisis, California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued 58 COVID-related executive orders.  Of greatest significance, the bookending executive orders would be N-33-20, the March 19, 2020 COVID-19 statewide Stay-at-Home Order and June 11, 2021’s N-07-21, which rescinds N-33-20.  The full text of the executive order can be found here:  N-07-21

    Additional executive orders continue to be issued, and the governor’s June 11th statement confirmed that the state continues its “wind down of executive actions put in place since March 2020 to help facilitate a coordinated response to the pandemic…”  Some of the specific provisions, however, will remain in place.  The governor’s full statement can be found here: Governor Newsom – Lifting Pandemic Executive Orders

    The implications of the lifting of the executive order are far-reaching.  One of the important areas for CA HR professionals will be certain Coronavirus Disease 2019 Payroll Reporting Rules, which have now terminated or will soon be terminating.  For an overview of this component of the on-going changes, please continue to our blog.

    The Insurance Commissioner adopted the following rule, effective July 1, 2020, to address issues that arose as a result of the March 19, 2020 Stay-at-Home Order.

    1. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    2. Effective as of the date of a California statewide stay-at-home order and concluding sixty (60) days after the order is lifted, the payroll of an employee who meets the definition of a Clerical Office Employee, as detailed in Rule 4a, Classifications 8810, Clerical Office Employees, and 8871, Clerical Telecommuter Employees, and whose payroll for the balance of the policy period is not assignable to a standard classification that specifically includes Clerical Office Employees, shall be assigned to Classification 8810, Clerical Office Employees.

    A single employee’s payroll may be divided between Classification 8810 and another classification only once during this time period. Once the employee’s duties are no longer exclusively clerical in nature, Classification 8810 shall not be assigned.

    1. Effective as of the date of a California statewide stay-at-home order and concluding thirty (30) days after the order is lifted, payments made to an employee, including but not limited to sick or family leave payments, while the employee is performing no duties of any kind in service of the employer shall be excluded from remuneration; however, the excluded amounts shall be no greater than the employee’s regular rate of pay.
    2. Employers must maintain records that document the change in duties and that segregate such payments during the timeframes specified above.

    See Part 3 Standard Classification System, Section III, General Classification Procedures, Rule 7 of the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (emphasis added.)

    The WCIRB has confirmed with the Insurance Commissioner that the Governor’s Executive Order Number N-07-21 constitutes a lifting of the stay-at-home order as contemplated under the above referenced rule. Therefore, subsection a will sunset on August 10, 2021, and subsection b sunsetted on July 11, 2021.

    Resources

    WCIRB Bulletin 2021-12 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Payroll Reporting Rules

    WCIRB Bulletin 2020-25 Application of July 1, 2020 COVID-19 Rule Change – Excluded Remuneration

    WCIRB COVID-19 Resources Web Page