DeWine Asks BWC to Send $1.6B in Dividends to Employers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — On Wednesday, Gov. Mike DeWine asked the board of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to consider sending up to $1.6 billion in dividends back to employers to assist them during the coronavirus pandemic.

The dividend equals about 100% of the premiums employers paid in policy year 2018, DeWine said during his daily briefing yesterday. BWC would apply the dividend to employers’ outstanding balances first, including recent installment deferrals, he said. Any amounts exceeding outstanding balances would be sent to employers.

“We know that this will help,” DeWine said. “For those employers, it means one less bill to worry about.”

The dividend is possible because of “strong investment returns on employers’ premiums,” DeWine said, as well as a declining number of annual claims and fiscal management.

“It is also due to employers who work hard to improve workplace safety and reduce injury claims,” DeWine said. “And to the employees who do that as well.”

If approved by the BWC board, about $1.4 billion will be distributed to private employers and $200 million will go to local government taxing districts. The checks would start being distributed later this month.

In late March, the BWC waived several requirements for employers participating in programs that lower their premiums. The initiative was a reward for creating safer workplaces and doing BWC business online and on time, according to a BWC press release.

“This is one more way we can answer Governor Mike DeWine’s call for state agencies to help Ohioans and the business community through this difficult time,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud at the time. “We’re looking at everything we do, and I’m sure more action will follow in the coming days and weeks.”

BWC waived all safety education and training requirements for this policy year – July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, for private employers; calendar year 2019 for public employers – for participants in the following programs:

  • Drug Free Safety Program
  • EM Cap Program
  • Grow Ohio
  • Industry Specific Safety Program
  • One Claim Program
  • Policy Activity Rebate Program

Discounts offered through these programs are applied automatically. Additionally, the annual report deadline submission for Drug Free Safety Program participants was extended to June 1.

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