The Washington Department of Labor & Industries is proposing an increase in the average price employers and workers pay for workers’ compensation insurance next year.
If the proposal is adopted, it would be the first time in five years that workers’ comp rates would go up in Washington.
The proposed 3.1% overall average rate increase is driven by cost-of-living adjustments for pensions, which were triggered by an increase in the state’s average wage, according to L&I.
Washington charges for workers’ comp coverage based on hours worked. When looking at rates as a percentage of payroll, rates in Washington have gone down from 2012 to 2021, according to L&I.
In 2021, L&I by tapped its contingency reserves to avoid an increase in premiums to help employers and workers reeling from the pandemic. Under the current proposal, L&I will use contingency reserves to cover any gap between premiums and ultimate costs rather than proposing to raise rates even more.
If the proposed rate increase is adopted, the average net rate per $100 of payroll in 2022 will be $1.53, a 1.4 percent increase over 2021. Workers will continue to pay on average about a quarter of the premium, a similar percentage to that paid in 2021.
A public hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Oct. 26 to take input on the rate proposal. Final rates will be adopted by Nov. 30 and go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.
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