What You Need to Know About Classification 8871, Clerical Telecommuter Employees

Telecommuter Employee

In recognition of the growth of remote work, Classification 8871, Clerical Telecommuter Employees – N.O.C, was established effective January 1, 2021 as a new Standard Exception classification that applies to clerical employees who work more than 50 percent of the time at their home or other office space away from their employer's location.

This newsletter contains guidelines to help ensure the appropriate application and reporting of Classification 8871, Clerical Telecommuter Employees.

The rules for applying Classification 8871 are the same as those for applying Classification 8810, Clerical Office Employees – N.O.C, with the additional stipulation that the majority of the employee’s work is done remotely away from any location of their employer.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when determining the applicability of Classification 8871:
What does the employee do?Do the employee’s duties meet the California Workers' Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan—1995 (USRP) definition of a Standard Exception? If any of their regular duties expose them to the operative hazards of the business or to any outside sales work, they cannot be assigned to Classification 8810 or 8871. When a clerical telecommuter employee is working at the employer’s location, they must work exclusively in areas that are separated from all other workspaces of the employer by buildings, floors, partitions, railings or counters. 
Where do they spend their workdays?Does the clerical employee spend more than 50 percent of their time conducting clerical activities at their home or other office space away from any location of their employer? If so, they may qualify for Classification 8871.
What’s the business of the employer?  The applicability of Classification 8871 also depends on how the same operations would be classified if not done remotely. If the business is assigned to a classification that specifically includes clerical office and clerical telecommuter employees, then just as on-site clerical employees are not assignable to Classification 8810, neither are the remote clerical employees.
What kind of documentation is needed to verify assignment?The USRP does not contain specific requirements for documenting the relative portion of time an employee spends working remotely. Before assigning Classification 8871, the auditor should verify (1) the employee’s duties are strictly clerical in nature; and (2) more than 50 percent of the employee’s time during the policy period was spent working remotely.

The following are some of the areas the WCIRB explores when conducting test audits:

  • Written work-from-home policies or contracts that indicate the amount of time employees are permitted to work remotely
  • Whether employees have an assigned, dedicated workstation at the business location versus a hoteling or other desk-sharing model
  • The duties of any employees for which a claim was filed during the policy period

As a Standard Exception classification, the entire payroll of a qualifying clerical employee must be assigned to either Classification 8810 or 8871. If more than 50 percent of their time is remote, then their entire payroll is assignable to Classification 8871. Conversely, if 50 percent or more is on-site at the employer’s location, then their entire payroll is assignable to Classification 8810. It is not permissible to divide a single employee’s payroll, within a single policy period, between a Standard Exception classification and any other classification, including another Standard Exception classification, with the exception of a single permanent job reassignment. 

The following sample shows how the assignment of Classification 8871 appears on a WCIRB Classification Inspection Report in the table of assigned classifications as well as the Clerical Analysis section.