Columbus, OH – Ohio public employers applauded an average 9.1 percent reduction in workers’ compensation rates for local governments that was recently approved by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors. The new rates covering 3,800 cities, counties, townships, villages, schools and special districts will be effective Jan. 1, 2015. This rate reduction, combined with decreases implemented in each of the past four years, will result in a total decrease to local government rates of nearly 20 percent since 2011.
“This cut means Ohio local governments will pay $19 million less in annual premium in 2015,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “The savings through rate reductions, combined with more than $250 million in rebates over the last two years, are sending dollars back to public employers that can be invested into communities across the state.”
The decrease represents a reduction to the average of the collectible rates for public employer taxing districts covered by the BWC. Actual premium changes for individual public entities will differ based on several factors including their manual classification (the exact type of public entity), as well as their own recent claims history and program participation.
Reductions are expected for all 13 classifications associated with public employer taxing districts. The base rate for cities will decrease by an overall 13.9 percent while the county base rate will decrease by an overall 9.7 percent. The largest overall decrease is in the Volunteer/EMS classification at 22.4 percent. The board will vote on the reductions in each category in November.
“We are pleased to see the partnership between CCAO, counties, and the BWC has helped lower rates for public employers through our collective focus on workplace safety and getting injured workers back to work quickly,” said Suzanne Dulaney, Executive Director of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio. The reduction in public employer rates will allow counties to invest even more in these preventative and rehabilitative efforts.”
Separately, public employers are receiving a total of $126 million in rebates this month through BWC’s Another Billion Back program that is returning $1 billion to eligible Ohio businesses and public employers. That brings public employer rebates to a two-year total of more than $250 million.
“We appreciate the Ohio BWC’s stewardship,” said David Varda, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials. “Both the 12.5 percent proposed rate reduction for schools and the “Another Billion Back” initiative offer Ohio’s School Business Officials the opportunity to direct funds to the classroom to create more educational opportunities for Ohio’s students.”
More information on BWC’s Another Billion Back plan, which also includes investments in the safety, health and wellness of Ohio’s workforce, is available here (PDF).
The next meeting of the BWC Board of Directors is scheduled for Friday, November 21, 2014.