California employees now work from home at a rate that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. While COVID-19 started that trend, it’s likely to continue. In recognition of this, on January 1, 2021 NCCI code 8871 (telecommuting clerical workers) was added to the list of workers comp codes in California.

What Does 8871 Mean for Employers?

Before the adoption of 8871, clerical employees who worked from home were usually classified under the general code for clerical workers, 8810. Classification 8871 will be treated almost exactly the same as 8810.

  • 8871 applies to employees who spend more than 50% of their time doing clerical work off-site and the rest of their time doing clerical work on-site.
  • 8871 is a Standard Exception, just like 8810. This means that if your Standard Classification includes clerical work, you’re not eligible to use 8871, just as you haven’t been eligible to use 8810.
  • If your Standard Classification doesn’t include clerical work, then you can categorize employees who meet the criteria for 8871 using that code and not your normal industry classification.
  • If you can switch employees from 8810 to 8871, you might save money, though insurers are still collecting claims data on the new code. In many states, 8871 is a less expensive classification.

The primary effect of adding 8871, at least for now, is to clarify the rules around remote clerical workers. In time, the new code might give employers an opportunity to reduce their premiums. That would be a small silver lining for a tumultuous time.

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