01 August 2017 By

Nursing and other patient care occupations are among the most difficult career paths. Not only are nurses called upon to provide a high standard of patient care insofar as treatments and medications are concerned, but they often face demanding physical requirements too. Nurses, nursing assistants and orderlies are commonly called upon to lift, support and maneuver patients regularly – even more so as the population ages and many patients live well into their eighties and nineties. And with over two-thirds of the adult population in the U.S. classified as overweight, these physical requirements are more extreme than ever before.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that the nursing shortage will reach 1.2 million positions between 2014 and 2022 – despite the growing popularity of nursing as a profession. And according to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 500,000 nurses are expected to retire or leave the workforce in the next five years. This confluence of factors will make nursing caseloads and physical demands even greater, further increasing the risk of work-related injuries. When injuries do occur, they are often severe and long-lasting, frequently requiring risky back surgeries and long periods of recuperation. Unless these professional have access to mechanical devices to assist them, it may not be feasible for them to return to work performing the same functions.

30 July 2017 By

On Wednesday, July 19th, the New York State Workers Compensation Board posted Final Regulations in regards to New York Paid Family Leave (effective on January 1, 2018). Paid Family Leave coverage will typically be added to an employer’s existing disability insurance policy.

The 2018 community rate is 0.126% of the employee’s gross salary, capped at New York’s current average weekly wage of $1,305. Keep in mind, this coverage is 100% employee paid and only applies if you have a location in New York and they are on NY payroll. You could begin pre-funding via payroll deduction as early as July 1, 2017, but billing will not begin until 2018. Contact your payroll provider if you are unsure of your NYPFL deduction status.

26 July 2017 By

From eavesdropping dolls to faulty kitchen appliances, from combustible smartphones to defective airbags, the world is a dangerous place and product recalls are a fact of life. The public needs protection from unsound products and manufacturers need protection from product recalls.

It is a common misconception that product recalls are covered under a general or product liability policy. Those coverages do a good job of covering bodily injury and property damage, but they generally exclude product contamination and product recall events. This limitation on coverage is referred to as the sistership liability exclusion. Adding a product contamination or product recall policy protects a company’s bottom line by covering the direct costs of recall, but transferring the risk in this way is only one part of closing the recall exposure gap.

Every company with a product on the market, regardless of size, should establish solid product risk management policies and procedures for handling a recall or contamination event.

18 July 2017 By

The US Department of Labor has been conducting frequent ERISA compliance audits and, in many cases, imposing significant penalties for noncompliance. This should spur employers to make sure that they are in compliance with that law’s plan documentation, disclosure, and annual reporting requirements for all applicable plans.

Unfortunately, most employers are not in compliance with the Summary Plan Description (SPD) requirements. Why? Many companies mistakenly assume that insurance contracts, certificates of insurance, SBCs, and benefits summaries fulfill the ERISA requirements for an SPD. Those documents do not include the required or recommended provisions that protect the plan, the employer, and plan fiduciaries.

All group health plans subject to ERISA (and all size groups) are required to provide participants with an SPD. An SPD must be written in a manner calculated to be understood by the average plan participant and must be sufficiently comprehensive to explain the following: the plan’s benefits, its claims review procedures, and the participant’s rights and obligations under the plan.

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