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Published on Monday, December 12, 2016

Employers seek workers’ compensation reforms

Citing a number of concerns, a coalition of employer representatives is advocating for reforms to the state’s workers’ compensation system. The employers argue that Washington continues to pay the highest benefits per covered worker and has climbed to the 15th highest premiums in the nation. In addition, employers are concerned that the average days off work for injured employees in Washington is twice the national average.

As a result, employer representatives have identified five priorities for the 2017 legislative session:

  1. Occupational disease reform: Ensure allowed claims arise out of and in the course of work.
  2. Structured settlement reform: Expand who is allowed to settle their non-medical claims.
  3. Benefit accuracy & simplification: Make benefits fair to all workers and not a disincentive to work.
  4. Third-party claims: Prioritize reimbursement to L&I or self-insured employers for costs advanced on those claims.
  5. Self-insured claims: Allow greater claims management authority for self-insured employers.

AWC has been monitoring workers’ compensation reform discussions closely. We have also expressed concerns to L&I about double-digit rate increases for fire-fighters in recent years, asked for more information about how the rates are set, and requested that L&I partner with cities to minimize future rate increases.

Categories: Personnel