Fewer workplace accidents, lower claims costs and a reduction in administration costs have resulted in a reduced assessment rate for 2021, WorkSafeNB announced today.
WorkSafeNB’s 2021 provincial average assessment rate has been set at $2.17 per $100 of assessable payroll, a reduction of 9.6% from $2.40 in 2020.
“Our primary objective is to ensure that New Brunswick workplaces are healthy and safe,” said Doug Jones, WorkSafeNB’s president & CEO. “While we still have work to do to achieve ‘zero harm’, we are very pleased to see improved workplace safety performance across all the major sectors, including construction, retail trade and health care.”
Workplace accident frequency in New Brunswick declined by 12% in 2019 compared to the previous year, as the province recorded the lowest lost-time injury frequency in the past 10 years. As well, significant improvements were made in the time it takes to rehabilitate workers who suffered a workplace accident, with 79% of injured workers safely returning to work six months after an injury, compared to 73% in 2018.
While investments in safety are made to protect workers and their families, improved safety results have the added benefit of reducing costs, which provides the opportunity to reduce rates and consider benefit improvements.
The assessment rate reduction is driven by a 9.5% decline in new accident costs and a 15.5% reduction in administration costs, as we have achieved funding levels for transformation projects currently underway.
The funding level for the Accident Fund at year-end 2019 improved to 105% of liabilities compared to a target of 115%, as net income rose to $313 million. The 2019 financial results represent an increase in net income of $580 million compared to the previous year and mark the first year since 2014 when a positive net income was last reported.
“The rate reduction is good news not only for employers, but for all New Brunswickers,” Jones said. “That’s because assessment rates reflect the safety and return-to-work outcomes of our province’s workforce. We’re seeing fewer accidents and workers are safely returning to work more quickly after being injured.
The components of the rate and the change are outlined below.
|Projected cost of new injuries||$1.47||$1.33||9.5%|
|Funding level adjustment for previous years’ claims||$0.35||$0.35||—|
|Average Assessment Rate||$2.40||$2.17||9.6%|
“While the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on WorkSafeNB’s operational and financial performance, and that of New Brunswick’s economy in general, cannot be predicted as the pandemic continues to take its toll around the world, one thing is sure–WorkSafeNB will continue to work closely with our stakeholders to continue to reduce workplace injuries as well as their severity and get workers back to work as quickly and as safely as possible,” he said.
“In 2021 we look forward to exploring benefit improvements for workers, through consultation, and completing the elimination of the unpaid three-day wait.”
Individual assessment rate notices will be available online at MyServices in November. Individual employer rates are calculated based on the risk and performance of the industry in which an employer is grouped, as well as an employer’s own accident experience. While many industries will receive a rate reduction in 2021 due to their improved safety performance, some employers may pay higher rates in 2021 as a result of increased accident frequency or injury severity at their workplaces.
WorkSafeNB also announced a reduction in the 2021 assessments paid by municipalities, rural communities and local service districts to fund the Firefighters’ Compensation Act’s disability fund. Assessments, effective January 1, 2021 will decrease by 3.2% to $450 in 2021 per firefighter from $465 in 2020.
For more information on how rates are calculated, watch our short video.
Acting Executive Director, Corporate Communications