Effective January 1, 2022, WorkplaceNL will hold the average assessment rate paid by employers at $1.69 per $100 of payroll, including a temporary $0.21 average discount.
Seventy-three percent of employers will have no change or a lower annual assessment rate and 27 per cent of employers will have a higher rate in 2022. This compares to 43 per cent having no change or a lower rate and 57 per cent having a higher rate in 2021.
The industries with the largest decrease in assessment rates are logging and forestry (15 per cent) and agriculture (14 per cent). The industries with the highest increases are educational services (eight per cent), and finance and insurance (five per cent).
Employers pay assessments to cover expected costs of work-related injury and illness, return-to-work programs, prevention initiatives and administration. The undiscounted combined cost will remain at $1.90 per $100 of registered employer payroll.
The temporary discount, first applied in 2019, is to reduce the surplus in the employer-funded Injury Fund – which was 125.5 per cent funded at December 31, 2020, over its target of 110 per cent.
“The surplus in the Injury Fund is primarily due to positive investment returns, so we are able to continue to offer a discount,” said Dennis Hogan, CEO, WorkplaceNL. “However, claim duration and costs have been increasing. This pressure on the Injury Fund, along with market fluctuations, may mean the discount is removed earlier than expected.”
Wage-loss and health care benefits payments have been increasing over the past five years, from $135.4 million in 2016 to $166.6 million in 2020. Payments related to short-term claims increased 24 per cent in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic indirectly impacted how long someone stays on claim and the costs primarily due to interruptions or restrictions, including interruptions in injured workers’ access to health care services. The trend in increasing claim duration and costs started prior to the pandemic.
“The best way to reduce the impact that a workplace injury has on workers, families, employers and communities, and the resulting costs and claims duration, is to prevent workplace injury and illness in the first place,” added Hogan. “However, should an incident happen, we help workers and their employers find options so the worker can recover at work and prevent longer-term disability while getting medical treatment.”
The Maximum Compensable and Assessable Earnings (MCAE) used to calculate assessments paid by employers will increase by 1.5 per cent, from $67,985 to $69,005 for 2022, which 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 $69,005 will be calculated using this new limit.
Notices of assessment rates for employers will be online in early November. Employers who have not yet done so are encouraged to register for a connect (online services) account.
connect online services
Serving approximately 215,000 workers and 17,500 employers, WorkplaceNL administers an employer-funded, no-fault workers’ compensation system that promotes safe and healthy workplaces, provides return-to-work programs and offers compensation to injured workers and their dependents.
Carla Riggs, Director of Communications
709.778.1590 or email@example.com