The 2004 – 2005 Season is slowly moving along…….. from a storm damaged start, to a fluctuating market and uncertain labor pool, we are all doing the best we can with what we have!

The U.S. DOL has issued the final rule on USERRA……..the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act.  This act was first administered in 1994 but has now been updated to include an employer responsibility to notify all employees who voluntarily or involuntarily undertake military service or are past members of the uniformed services about their rights in connection with their service.  The rule states you can inform your employees by any method – and created a poster to meet the requirement (see the enclosed form).  You can also find the form at www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/poster.pdf or by calling us here at CHAPP (See 29 CFR Part 1002 or the Federal Register Vol 70, #46 for Thursday March 10, 2005).

The D.B.P.R. and U.S. DOL enforcement officials are out and about…….. with their focus on housing, transportation, and field sanitation.   Transportation issues are being enforced to the exact letter of the law and each contractor/harvesting company/farm needs to make sure their documentation is current and available to anyone who requests it.  Overloading (too many passengers) can be grounds for immediate revocation of all the Farm Labor Contractor licenses related to the infraction.  The enforcement personnel are following all leads on housing – from tax rolls to employee interviews to see who owns the housing, to who made the arrangements, and who is paying  the rental bill.  The new canker decontamination requirements have put an additional stress on keeping field sanitation facilities clean and pumped.  Please be aware of these problems and keep your records properly documented as to your requests for service of your facilities!

Florida Statute 440.381(4) requires all employers to provide a copy of their quarterly earnings report that is submitted for Unemployment Tax to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.  This statute requires copies of the complete form filed – including the employee list.  Thanks for your help!

Injury Reporting is the most important part of every claim!   We know you get tired of hearing about the importance of timely and proper claims reporting but it still is our main problem here at CHAPP.  It is very important that you advise your employees to notify you immediately of any injury, and if you have written work rules we would appreciate you adding a company policy of reporting all injuries within 24 hours to their supervisor.  Training then must follow for all your supervisors/crew leaders and office staff to understand the importance of timely reporting injuries.   Reporting a claim late can result in fines and penalties that are assessed by the State of Florida against you, the employer, and are paid directly to the injured employee by the employer – not paid by your insurance carrier.  And with the state looking for new sources of revenue, they have become very proficient at issuing fines!  A claim is troubling enough without finding out weeks later that a supervisor or crew leader knew about the accident but “forgot to tell you…” –  Florida now says you must pay the injured employee extra monies for this error in performance.  We would also appreciate you having all the claim information ready when you call in an accident – we must have the name, date of birth, date of injury, what is injured, and social security number to properly authorize a clinic or doctor to treat an employee.   Please call our claims staff with any questions!

We wish to again extend our thanks for having the confidence in us to allow CHAPP to handle your insurance needs – please feel free to call us with any questions you may have!  We can be reached at (800)242-7898 or e-mail us at info@chappinc.com .  Remember: don’t be caught dead sitting on your seat belt!