MARCH 2019: In the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP), several rules include a requirement for time cards or time book entries. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) often receives questions regarding these documentation requirements.
If an employee’s payroll is to be divided between two or more classifications, the applicable time card record keeping requirements for most industries are listed at Part 3, Standard Classification System, Section V, Payroll – Remuneration, Rule 3. Division of Single Employee’s Payroll. This rule states, in part:
… the remuneration of any one employee may be divided between two or more classifications, provided the employer has maintained complete and accurate records supported by original time cards or time book entries which show separately, both by individual employee and in summary by operations performed, the remuneration earned by such employee …
The rule does not require any standard format for the records, but requires that they be original, i.e., contemporaneous records, and that they be summarized, meaning totaled by operation. The accuracy of the summaries must be verifiable by reviewing the original employee records. Some employers use smartphone apps to record the required information contemporaneously, and in some cases, information for multiple employees is recorded by a supervisor rather than by the individual employees.
Rule 3 also addresses those instances in which complete and accurate records are not maintained. Rule 3 states:
If the employer fails to keep complete and accurate records as provided in this rule, the entire remuneration of the employee shall be assigned to the highest rated classification applicable to any part of the work performed by the employee. Payroll may not be divided by means of percentages, averages, estimates, or any basis other than specific time records.
Similar requirements for dividing payroll between Construction or Erection classifications are contained in Section IV, Special Industry Classification Procedures, Rule 2, Construction or Erection Work. This rule states, in part:
… Division of payroll shall be made for each separate and distinct type of construction or erection operation that is specifically described by a classification, provided separate records of payroll are maintained and provided the use of any such classification in connection with a separate job or location is not restricted by classification phraseology or footnotes. When the operations at a job or location are classified on a divided payroll basis, the remuneration of any one employee may be divided between two or more classifications provided the employer has maintained complete and accurate records supported by original time cards or time book entries which show separately, both by individual employee and in summary by operations performed, the remuneration earned by such employee. Operations for which separate records of payroll are not maintained shall be assigned to the highest rated classification applicable to the job or location if payrolls are kept separately by job within the policy period; otherwise, the highest rated classification shall be assigned based on the entire policy period …
As with Rule 3 discussed previously, Rule 2 requires summaries that can be reconciled to original, contemporaneous records when dividing an employee’s payroll between two or more classifications.
Some Construction or Erection classifications are dual wage classifications that require verification that the employee’s regular hourly wage equals or exceeds a specified amount. These classifications are subject to additional record keeping requirements that are provided at Section IV, Rule 2a(1), Records of Payroll. This rule states, in part:
For all employees, other than salaried employees, determination of the regular hourly wage must be supported by one of the following sources:
(a) Original time cards or time book entries for each employee. Original records must include the operations performed, the total hours worked each day and the times the employee started and ended each work period throughout the workday. At job locations where all of the employer’s operations cease for a uniform unpaid meal period, recording the start and stop times of the uniform break period is not required.
(b) A valid collective bargaining agreement that shows the regular hourly wage rate by job classification of worker. If using a collective bargaining agreement, the records must include an employee roster by job classification that permits the reconciliation of individual employees to the job classifications set forth in the collective bargaining agreement.
For all employees, other than salaried employees, the payroll for which an hourly wage determination cannot be reconciled to time cards or time book entries or collective bargaining agreements as specified above shall not be assigned to a classification that requires the regular hourly wage to equal or exceed a specified amount.
Note that Rule 2a for dual wage classifications is the only rule that includes a requirement for recording the times the employee started and ended each work period throughout the workday.
Each of these rules requires that certain data elements be contemporaneously recorded and summarized, but the rules do not require that a standard form or format be used. This allows employers the flexibility to use a variety of methods and technologies to record the required information.
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Information Source: WCIRB California
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