The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries recently disclosed its proposal to reduce workers’ comp rates by 2.5 percent next year, according to The Seattle Times. This rate drop would save employers $67 million in premiums, meaning that an individual employee’s coverage would cost $34 less each year for employers, as reported by Business Insurance. Although the decrease is not set in stone, the Labor and Industries Department’s recommendation is being applauded as progress within the Washington business community.
According to the department, the rate reduction is a result of an increased attention to safety in the workplace, coupled with successful department programs that are accelerating injured employees’ recovery time and, in turn, decreasing costs. For example, the Department of Labor and Industries’ Stay at Work Program aims to put 25,000 Washington workers on “light duty” while they recover from injuries, and extends $58 million to employers to help their employees do so.
Many business groups have criticized the state’s workers’ compensation system as being overwhelmingly complicated and costly. But the department claims that improvements to the system over the previous four years has yielded over $1.7 billion in long-term savings.
In 2016, Washington had the 15th highest workers’ comp premiums, at 176 percent of the media rates, according to the Oregon’s Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary.