Governor DeWine requested the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors to send up to $1.5 billion in dividend payments to Ohio employers this fall. This dividend equals approximately 100% of the premiums paid in policy year 2019. Dividends like this, as well as previous ones, are possible because of strong investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year, prudent fiscal management, and employers who work hard to improve workplace safety and reduce injury claims.
“Once again, this is great news for Ohio’s businesses because it will provide some immediate financial relief for employers amid this ongoing pandemic,” said Governor DeWine.
Approved by the Ohio BWC Board at its virtual meeting on September 25, this will be the second dividend of $1 billion or more since April and the third dividend since 2019. BWC anticipated providing a dividend next year, but with Board approval, they will issue one now to provide some immediate economic relief to employers amid the ongoing pandemic. Checks would be distributed by BWC in late October.
“Our robust investment earnings indicated a dividend was feasible next year, but providing it now supports Governor DeWine’s efforts to provide businesses relief during this pandemic,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “This means, in all likelihood, we will not issue a dividend in 2021.”
“The announcement today that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has approved Governor DeWine’s request to return an additional $1.5 billion back to Ohio private employers will provide a helpful cash infusion to small business owners. As the state fund being comprised almost entirely of small businesses, these dollars will be important as the pandemic continues and they see sales suffering,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.
In a recent survey of NFIB members in Ohio, a staggering 78 percent of Ohio small businesses are seeing significant revenue losses, with many reporting a hit of 50 percent or greater.
“As family-owned businesses continue to navigate their way through the coronavirus crisis, the state of Ohio can play a vital role in helping them hold on to their employees and keep the doors open. We appreciate Governor DeWine and Administrator McCloud for putting critical dollars back in the hands of small business owners during these uncertain times,” Geiger concluded.
Additionally, Governor DeWine asked BWC’s Board of Directors to approve of a second distribution of face coverings to Ohio employers and their workforce as part of BWC’s Protecting Ohio’s Workforce- We’ve Got You Covered program. This second round will consist of approximately 23 million masks to employers and are meant to replace any masks that have exhausted their effective use. Governor DeWine has also asked that BWC work to purchase as many masks as possible made in Ohio.
In the first distribution of face coverings, BWC shipped 20.6 million masks to 197,000 employers and their workforce.