The Washington Department of Labor & Industries proposed an 4.8% increase in workers’ compensation insurance payments in 2023.
All employers in Washington must purchase workers’ compensation coverage through L&I or be self-insured. Workers’ compensation covers medical care, wage and disability benefits for injured workers.
If approved, insurance will increase by an average of 4.8% across all occupations and industries in Washington. Of the $61 average increase per employee per year, employers will pay $49 and workers will pay about $12, on average, according to a news release.
L&I said the increase is due to inflation and increasing medical costs.
The 4.8% increase in insurance is an average across all industries in Washington. Individual industries or occupations may see greater or smaller changes in insurance rates based on their recent claims history, according to L&I’s website.
Agricultural businesses will, on average, see a 6% increase in insurance rates. Each worker will pay $23 more annually, while employers will pay $101 more. Workers at orchards, vineyards and hand harvest vegetable or berry and nut farms have some of the higher rate increases. Hop farms will see rates decrease slightly — workers will pay $10 less over the course of the year.
This is the first time in three years L&I has instituted a larger increase in workers’ compensation insurance rates, according to a press release. During the pandemic, L&I sought to minimize rate increases by using a contingency fund. That has continued this year, though to a lesser degree.
In 2022, workers’ compensation insurance rates increased by 3.1% on average. In Washington, rates are charged as an amount per hours worked.
Virtual public hearings on the proposed change are planned at 10 a.m. on Oct. 26 and 27. The changes would take effect on Jan. 1.
Jasper Kenzo Sundeen’s reporting for the Yakima Herald-Republic is possible with support from Report for America and community members through the Yakima Valley Community Fund. For information on republishing, email news