May 5, 2004

Christine Baker

CHSWC issues guidebook on workers' compensation 'carve-outs'

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) unanimously voted at its public meeting on May 5, 2004 in San Francisco to approve and issue a guide on alternative workers' compensation systems known as "carve-outs".

Carve-Outs: A Guidebook for Unions and Employers in Workers' Compensation" was developed to

Carve-outs provide an alternative to the dispute resolution procedures in the state workers' compensation system. Carve-outs were developed to provide the opportunity to establish an improved benefit-delivery system for injured workers and to encourage labor and management to collaborate toward this end.

The guide presents an overview of the role of carve-outs in the California workers' compensation system, including the history of carve-outs and the legislative mandates providing for carve-outs. In addition, the guide provides an outline of the process for establishing a carve-out and describes the roles and responsibilities of each participant in a carve-out.

The guidebook includes the newest provisions of SB 899, which was approved by the governor and became effective April 19, 2004. SB 899 permits the employer and union in a carve-out agreement to negotiate any aspect of benefit delivery if employees are eligible for group health benefits and nonoccupational disability benefits through the employer.

CHSWC, created by the workers' compensation reform legislation of 1993, is charged with overseeing the health and safety and workers' compensation systems in California and recommending administrative or legislative modifications to improve their operation. The commission was established to conduct a continuing examination of the workers' compensation system and of the state's activities to prevent industrial injuries and occupational diseases and to examine those programs in other states.

Since its inception in 1994, CHSWC has held meetings, conducted fact-finding hearings, and directed several studies to determine how these crucial programs are serving California employees and employers. These studies, conducted by independent research organizations under contract with the commission, and other activities were aided by the involvement of state agency personnel and interested members of the workers' compensation community. This cooperative public-private partnership continues to work together to identify, describe, measure and propose solutions to problems and difficulties in the current health and safety and workers' compensation systems.

Further information about CHSWC and its activities may be obtained by writing to Christine Baker, executive officer, Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, 10th Floor, San Francisco, California 94102, by calling (415) 703-4220, or by faxing a request to (415) 703-4234. CHSWC information and publications are also available at