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Class Codes Workers Comp

Avoid Expensive & Common Mistakes with Your Workers Compensation Insurance

Sad but true, many California Contractors get a ‘Surprise Bill’ at their end-of-year audits and find out they have misclassified their employees and they end up owing money to the Workers Compensation Insurance Carrier for not correctly classifying their employees.

As an employer, it’s important to understand dual wage classifications. But what, exactly, is the dual wage classification system? What do you, as an employer, need to understand about it? And what are the separate classifications for different types of construction workers with different compensation rates?

What Are Dual Wage Classifications?

For Workers Compensation Class Codes, there are different types of jobs that have different classifications for workers’ compensation purposes; the classifications help insurers determine how much an employer should pay in workers’ compensation premiums for their employees. But in construction, many of those classifications are broken down into two wage classes based on the employee’s wage rates. low wage and high wage. These separate classifications are what’s known as dual wage classifications.

How Are Wage Classes Determined?

Each construction class has a certain wage threshold, set by the California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB), for determining whether an employee should be categorized as low wage or high wage; if the employee’s regular hourly rate falls above that threshold, they’re considered high wage. If it falls below the threshold? They’re categorized as low-wage.

Generally, higher wage employees have lower workers’ comp premiums, even when they’re doing the same kind of work; this is because workers that demand a higher wage generally have more experience than their lower wage counterparts—and, as such, are less likely to get injured or have to file a workers’ comp claim.

But in the case of a workers’ compensation audit, in order to classify a worker under the high wage classification (and qualify for lower premiums), you need to be able to verify their total number of hours worked through payroll records and time cards.   (that not only shows the total hours worked, but also start times, end times, and any meal times or breaks). If you don’t have the documentation to back up your employee’s total number of hours worked  (and can prove that their hourly wage falls above the threshold), they’ll automatically be classified as low wage—and you may find yourself facing a hefty bill from your workers’ comp insurance services provider.

Bottom line? If you want to secure the best workers’ compensation premiums, make sure to classify your employees correctly—and keep impeccable records that back up your classifications.

What Are the Construction Classifications With Dual Wage Thresholds For 2021?

Now that you know what dual wage classification is, let’s cover the current construction classifications, class codes, and hourly wage thresholds for the construction industry in California.

Below are the Dual Wage Classifications and Example Rates as of Sept. 1, 2021.


Automatic Sprinkler Installation 5185 Less than $29 $11.67
5186 More than $29 $3.72
Carpentry 5403 Less than $35 $24.52
5432 More than $35 $9.24
Concrete or Cement Work 5201 Less than $28 $16.34
5205 More than $28 $8.90
Electrical Wiring 5190 Less than $32 $8.69
5140 More than $32 $4.11
Excavation NOC 6218(1) Less than $34 $11.24
6220(1) More than $34 $7.57
Gas Mains or Connections Construction 6315(2) Less than $34 $11.72
6316(2) More than $34 $8.24
Glaziers 5467 Less than $33 $16.10
5470 More than $33 $6.86
Grading Land NOC 6218(2) Less than $34 $11.24
6220(2) More than $34 $7.57
Heating and/or Air Conditioning Ductwork 5538(2) Less than $27 $11.48
5542(2) More than $27 $6.75
Heating and/or Air Conditioning Equipment 5183(3) Less than $28 $10.61
5187(3) More than $28 $6.92
Land Leveling 6218(3) Less than $34 $11.24
6220(3) More than $34 $7.57
Masonry 5027 Less than $28 $23.84
5028 More than $28 $10.80
Painting 5474 Less than $28 $16.81
5482 More than $28 $8.71
Plastering and/or Stucco Work 5484 Less than $32 $23.86
5485 More than $32 $12.83
Plumbing 5183(1) Less than $28 $10.61
5187(1) More than $28 $6.92
Refrigeration Equipment 5183(2) Less than $28 $10.61
5187(2) More than $28 $6.92
Roofing 5552 Less than $27 $43.53
5553 More than $27 $23.26
Sewer Construction 6307 Less than $34 $16.97
6308 More than $34 $10.47
Sheet Metal Work 5538(1) Less than $27 $11.48
5542(1) More than $27 $6.75
Steel Framing 5632 Less than $35 $24.52
5633 More than $35 $9.24
Wallboard Application/Installation 5446 Less than $36 $12.96
5447 More than $36 $6.73
Water Mains or Connections Construction 6315(1) Less than $34 $11.72
6316(1) More than $34 $8.24
Waterproofing 5474(2) Less than $28 $16.81
5482(2) More than $28 $8.71

If you have any questions about Worker’s Compensation Class Codes and or would like a Free Quote & Consultation on how to ensure you do not overpay, contact: Kevin at: 530.320.3617 or [email protected]  Or, simply CLICK HERE

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