By Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane
QUESTION: I sent a staff member to the bank to make a deposit. On the way she backed into another car and caused considerable damage. She had let her auto insurance lapse, and now I am stuck having to pay for the damage. What should I have done to prevent this costly surprise?
ANSWER: Staff members are often sent to run errands, travel from one office to another, drive to attend a seminar, and more. While doing so, they are on "company business" and often use their own cars. There is certainly the possibility than an accident can happen, and if there is no insurance coverage, the employer could be held liable.
Employers have two options to protect themselves against such liability. First, as a part of the general business insurance coverage, employers can include "non-ownership automobile liability insurance" coverage. While the cost of covering employees who rarely use their own cars on practice business is nominal, the employer gains insurance protection against bodily injury and property damage claims, as well as investigation and court costs that arise from work-related accidents. The second option is for the doctor to request that all employees provide evidence of having adequate insurance coverage for their personal cars. This protection would apply to all liabilities incurred by or through employees while they are operating personal vehicles on practice business.
If you choose the second option, employees must provide you with a copy of their paid insurance invoice, and do so every time their insurance is renewed. Because it is a hassle to keep this information updated, the first option may represent a simpler solution.
QUESTION: The I-9 form that I’m using states it expired on 08/31/12. Is there a new form I should be using?
ANSWER: Yes,the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released an updated version, which is now available on the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf. The revised form is dated March 8, 2013 and will expire on March 31, 2016. This form is to be used on all new hires or reverifications. Employers do not need to complete new forms for existing employees for whom a previously issued I-9 form has been properly completed. The new form requires that all documents presented during the verification process be unexpired. As a reminder, employers cannot choose which documents are presented in the verification process.
Human Resources Tips for Dental Practices is provided by Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane of Bent Ericksen & Associates. Tim Twigg is president and Rebecca Crane is a human resource compliance consultant with Bent Ericksen & Associates. For 30 years, the company has been a leading authority in human resource and personnel issues, helping dentists deal successfully with the ever-changing and complex labor laws. To receive a complimentary copy of the company’s quarterly newsletter or to learn more about its services, call (800) 679-2760 or visit www.bentericksen.com.