The average amount that employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance in Washington would drop 2.5% in 2018 under a proposal from the state Department of Labor & Industries.
According to L&I, the proposed decrease would result in Washington employers, as a group, paying $67 million less in premiums. The lower rate would mean employers would pay an average of about $34 less a year per employee for workers’ compensation coverage.
L&I tells KXRO that the proposed decrease to due to several factors, including employers and workers focusing on safety, and L&I initiatives that are helping injured workers recover sooner and reducing workers’ compensation costs.
“Efforts to help injured workers heal and return to work are paying off. It’s good for them, it helps employers, and it keeps workers’ compensation costs down,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “I want to thank businesses and workers for doing their part to improve workplace safety, and L&I for its work to improve the workers’ compensation system. Both are helping create a positive business climate in Washington.”
In recent years, L&I says that they have adjusted how they handle cases, including providing vocational support and assistance earlier in claims and using their Stay at Work Program, which provided employers more than $58 million to help keep more than 25,000 workers on light duty while they heal.
“We’ve made some very positive steps with our initiatives to help people who are hurt on the job recover and start working again,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks. “These and other workplace safety and health improvements have allowed us to build our reserves, while at the same time propose a cut to the average premium rate employers and workers pay. It’s a win‑win.”
Each fall, L&I determines the proposed rate for the following year.
Public hearings have been planned for October and November across the state . No local meetings are scheduled.
The hearings are scheduled for:
- Everett, Oct. 24, 10 a.m., Everett Community College Corporate & Continuing Education Center
- Spokane Valley, Oct. 25, 9 a.m., Spokane CenterPlace
- Richland, Oct. 26, 9 a.m., Richland Community Center
- Vancouver, WA, Oct. 27, 10 a.m., Vancouver NW Regional Training Room
- Tumwater, Oct. 30, 10 a.m., Dept. of Labor & Industries Headquarters
- Tukwila, Nov. 1, 10 a.m., Dept. of Labor & Industries Tukwila Office
People can also comment in writing to Jo Anne Attwood, administrative regulations analyst, P. O. Box 41448, Olympia, WA 98504-4148; or email joanne.attwood@Lni.wa.gov. All comments must be received by 5 p.m. Nov. 1, 2017.
More information about the proposal is available at www.Lni.wa.gov/Rates. Final rates will be adopted by early December and go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.