CSLB Scrutinizing Workers Comp Exemptions

CSLB Scrutinizing Workers Comp ExemptionsThe Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is turning their attention to contractors who they believe should be carrying workers compensation.

In the newsletter article below, the CSLB discusses their plan to look into whether or not a licensee who submitted a workers comp exempt form should actually be carrying a workers comp policy.

Right off the top, any licensee who has employees must and should have workers comp. It’s the law. It benefits the contractor and his employee’s and their families. If you know me, you know that I’m always on the side of the law. If, or course, it just and not abusive.

Regarding the CSLB plan… if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it’s a governmental agency abusing its power and authority…. Yet again!

What they’re saying is that if you hold the A-Gen Eng., C8 Concrete, C10 Electrical, C20 HVAC, C36 Plumbing, or the C46 Solar classification, you could be part of their “random” checks. I wonder why they didn’t include the B-Gen??

As with everything else the CSLB does randomly, what exactly is their process for choosing their random sample? Throw darts at a board, pull license numbers out of a hat?

The law states: “Pursuant to Section 7065, the registrar shall conduct a comprehensive investigation of no less than 3 percent of applications filed under this section to ensure that the applicants met the experience requirements of this section.” This is the go to section for a lot of what the CSLB licensing department does. They throw this thing out like it was a coup-fourre card in a Mille Borne game.CSLB Coup Forre

They must look at an app and decide there is something about it and…..BAM!! 7065 COUP FORRE! Unless of course your application is one of the critical classifications, then the minimum 3% rule turns into a mandatory 100% rule!

 

Anyway… back to the random workers comp sampling of the classifications listed above. I personally know plumbers, electricians, HVAC guys, and some B-Gen Bldg. guys who work alone. The fact that the cslb has selected those classifications to focus their attention shows they really have no clue what actually takes place outside of their doors.

A one man shop is going to get a call, letter, or visit from a CSLB enforcement rep and he’s going to have to stop everything he’s doing to prove that he doesn’t have employees. Just what every small business wants to deal with… the heavy hand of State Government. No thank you!

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Workers’ Comp Exemptions Will Get Extra Scrutiny From CSLB

CSLB will be taking a much closer look at licensees who file exemptions from having to purchase workers’ compensation (WC) insurance, particularly those working in trades likely to need a partner or employees.

At its December meeting, the Board agreed to a strategy to bring more contractors into compliance with California law on WC insurance. More than 50 percent of all licensees have filed WC exemptions with CSLB, a rate suspected to be too high considering the nature of the contracting work done.

Business and Professions Code section 7125 requires contractors to purchase a WC policy and submit proof to CSLB when an active license is issued, an inactive one reactivated, or at the time of renewal, unless the licensee does not employ anyone subject to California WC or files a certificate of self-insurance with CSLB. (All C-39 Roofing contractors, however, must carry WC insurance even if they work on their own.)

To identify contractors who may be improperly claiming a WC exemption, and encourage them to purchase WC policies for employees, CSLB’s Enforcement division will:

  • Perform an analysis and reach out to contractors registered with the state Department of Industrial Relations who bid on public works projects. CSLB staff will perform random checks of those contractors, and send letters to those claiming WC exemptions about the need to provide insurance if they employ workers.
  • Review a sampling of the overall consumer complaints that CSLB receives for contractor WC compliance.
  • Conduct random checks of licensees in classifications most likely to need employee labor, but who hold WC exemptions. Staff will look at those with C-46 SolarC-36 PlumbingC-20 Warm-Air Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning, C-10 ElectricalC-8 Concrete, and “A” General Engineering licensees who have declared they have no employees.
  • Review permit activity in partnering counties to determine if contractors pulling permits for large projects have WC insurance.
  • Coordinate with other state agencies to further identify WC violators. Representatives from CSLB, state Department of Insurance, and Division of Labor Standards will discuss ways to raise WC compliance among contractors.

Contractors who falsely claim WC exemptions are taking a great risk to save a little money. WC violators not only face CSLB disciplinary action, but they expose themselves and their clients to liability if uninsured workers get hurt on the job.

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