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Discounted Assessment Rates Address Workers’ Compensation Surplus

St. John’s, NL – Effective January 1, 2019, WorkplaceNL is applying a $0.21 discount to its average assessment rate, to reduce the rate from $1.90 to $1.69 per $100 of payroll for employers in Newfoundland and Labrador. This is the lowest average assessment rate paid by employers in over thirty-five years.

This temporary discount is to reduce the Injury Fund’s surplus over a number of years, and return it to the targeted 110 per cent funded ratio. Approximately $16 million of the surplus will be used annually to pay for a portion of workplace injuries rather than collect that amount directly from employers. This is in accordance with the stakeholder-agreed funding policy.

Assessment rates are premiums paid by employers to cover expected costs of workplace injuries, return-to-work programs, prevention initiatives and the cost of administering the workers’ compensation system.

As well, the Maximum Compensable and Assessable Earnings (MCAE) will increase by 1.9 per cent to $65,600, the highest in Atlantic Canada. This reflects the annual Consumer Price Index adjustment. Wage-loss benefits for injured workers submitting a new claim whose pre-injury earnings are at or above $65,600 will be calculated using this new limit starting January 1, 2019.

“As a responsible steward of the Injury Fund, WorkplaceNL continues to work with employers, workers, labour, safety associations and other safety partners to help prevent workplace injury and illness, and improve services for injured workers and their employers should an incident occur,” said Dennis Hogan, CEO, WorkplaceNL. “I look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with all of our partners to ensure that we maintain a financially sustainable workers’ compensation system.”

The complete Classification of Industries and Assessment Rates – 2019 is available via workplacenl.ca.

Notices of assessment rates for employers will be online this week. WorkplaceNL is moving to mandatory online services for employers as of December 31, 2019. Employers who have not yet done so are encouraged to register for a connect (online service) account.

More information is available in the Backgrounder below.

About WorkplaceNL

Serving approximately 13,000 injured workers and 18,500 employers, WorkplaceNL administers an employer-funded, no fault insurance system that promotes safe and healthy workplaces, provides return-to-work programs and offers fair compensation to injured workers and their dependents.

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Background

Discounted Assessment Rate

  • This temporary $0.21 discount is in place to reduce the surplus in the Injury Fund.
  • The rate reduction is due solely to the discount, the combined costs of workplace injury and administration is expected to remain at $1.90 per $100 of payroll.
  • With the $0.21 discount, the average assessment rate will be $1.69 for 2019.
  • All costs of the workers’ compensation system have been included, such as the recent increase to the income replacement rate from 80 to 85 per cent of an injured worker’s pre-injury net (before) tax income, proposed improvements to injured workers’ retirement benefits and proposed presumptive coverage for work-related PTSD caused by traumatic events.
  • The Injury Fund was 131.6 per cent funded as of December 31, 2017, due in part to prudent management, positive investment returns and lower workplace injury costs.

Statistics

  • In 2019, approximately 94.7 per cent of employers will see their assessment rate decrease or stay the same, while 5.3 per cent will see a rate increase.
  • The average assessment rates in all industries will be lower.
  • Lost-time injuries continue to be at an all-time low at 1.5 per 100 workers.
  • The positive trend in safety performance contributed to the 31 per cent reduction in assessment rates over five years (2015-2019).

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