A quick look at a few business-related topics this month.
The first of the year brought an increase in Ohio’s minimum wage rate. For most dairy businesses this will mean an increase for employees that were working at the previous rate of $7 per hour.
Ohio employers need to adjust wages for hourly employees earning the minimum wage rate to $7.30 per hour.
While the federal minimum wage rate is $6.55, only employers who gross under $267,000 can legally pay, and must pay, at least the federal rate.
The federal rate is scheduled to increase to $7.25 per hour July 24.
New wage rate posters can be downloaded free of charge at http://www.com.ohio.gov/laws/docs/laws_minimumwageposter2009.pdf for Ohio and http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/posters/minwagebwp. pdf for federal.
While both posters also indicate employers must pay 1.5 times the employee’s hourly wage for hours worked over 40 hours per week, agriculture is exempted from this requirement.
If an employer would like the option of paying for medical-only (less than seven days of lost time) claims themselves, they should consider the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation $15,000 Medical-Only Program.
By handling claims this way, they do not become part of the farms’ claims experience.
The program applies to the claims of less than $15,000. If a claim costs more than $15,000, the remainder is covered by the bureau if the employer originally chose to handle that claim through the program.
The employer has 14 days from learning a claim has been filed to notify the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation if they do not wish to pay for the claim under the program.
Worker’s Compensation premiums can be a huge expense for Ohio employers.
Managing safety on the farm and managing claims that must be made are critical for both ensuring safety on the farm and controlling costs.
By covering small, no lost-time claims themselves, employers can prevent potentially large increases in premiums and ineligibility for the most favorable group-rating programs.
Participation in the program does not change how your employees will be cared for if a claim occurs.
Employers can study the program to determine if it is a good option for their business at the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation’s Web site at www.ohiobwc.com.
Type “15K program” into the search engine for detailed information about opting into or out of the program and options for the employer when a claim is made.
For monthly updates on farm management topics, visit the Ohio Ag Manager Web site and subscribe to the Ohio Ag Manager monthly e-newsletter at http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu/.
The newsletter is designed for today’s managers to quickly scan brief summaries of the current topics, with links to complete articles when additional information is desired