8810 Clerical Classification Code – Pitfalls and problems associated with assigning employees to the clerical code

8810 – Clerical Office is one of the four standard exception codes used to classify employees for workers compensation rating. And these days 8810 has a target on it’s back! Lets find out why.

As one of the lowest premium rate class codes, clerical is one of the most abused, misused, misunderstood workers compensation codes around. Clerical operations found in most businesses are so common that this class code is idendified as one of the four standard exception codes. Almost every employer will want his entire workforce placed into clerical. Some actually belong there but many do not. It’s a natural thing for an employer to want the lowest cost workers comp policy available. But using improper classification codes to achieve this goal is not acceptable. Classification codes and proper classification of a business, and sometimes individual employee duties, is one of the basic foundations of workers compensation. After all, all statistically developed information is keyed to class codes. In other words, rates, loss costs, expected loss rates, discount factors, just to mention a few, are developed as code specific so the use of improper codes skews the reliability of the rating system. Get the point? Codes are important and using the right code is of paramount importance!

Ok, so back to the clerical code. Lets use some common sense. Take a minute and think about a worker who may qualify for the clerical code. Remember that qualification has a great deal to do with exposure to work hazards. Who would typically fit into clerical?

  • A worker in an office environment – probably. However there may be a more descriptive code that could apply. What if they meet and greet clients? What if they take a client out to lunch or go to that client’s place of business? Will they still qualify as clerical? Should they?
  • What about a worker in a Human Resource Department – maybe, probably. But what if the worker spends time in a manufacturing environment? How does that fit?
  • A bookkeeper – maybe, probably, depends. For example if you operate an auto repair garage and have a bookkeeper who schedules appointments and acts as a cashier you may run into a problem having them classed as clerical. You would need to refer to the actual code description for guidance.

Exposure to a higher hazard work process plays an important role. Keep these points in mind. Clerical workers:

  • should have a physical separation from higher hazard exposures. Think walls and doors. The code title is actually “Clerical Office Employees NOC.” If your bookkeeper works in an office is separated from the shop area and has no direct customer contact then there will usually be no problem using the clerical class.
  • should not have direct contact, supervision, or involve physical labor of the employers operation.
  • should be separated from work or service areas of the business including areas where inventory of the business is stored, even product sales displays!
  • may include employees who work with financial records, employee records, correspondence, telephone duties, technical drafting and the use of computers to accomplish these tasks.
  • may include certain duties found outside the clerical office area which are directly related to the performance duties inside the office such as making bank deposits, delivering and picking up mail, handing out paychecks, and even making trips to the local office supply store.

Don’t be confused! When an office employee, normally classed in the Clerical Office code, performs any other duties related to the employers normal business operations their entire rating payroll will be assigned to the highest rated classification representing those other duties!

The Clerical Office Employee NOC classification is broad and surprisingly encompasses many different work environments but pay attention to the separation of exposure to other work hazards. Many employers have fallen into this pitfall of incorrectly assigning payroll to the clerical code only to find at audit time what they did was not allowed resulting in a large additional premium bill.

If you have questions about how your business is classed make sure you contact your insurance agent, advisory organization or rating bureau for your state. And if you still have a problem be sure to contact an independent workers compensation consultant for help.

Hope this helps out and thanks for reading!

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