Employers face 15% hike in workers’ compensation rates – New Brunswick

New Brunswick employers will face a 15 per cent hike in workers’ compensation rates next year, and future increases are anticipated without legislative changes, WorkSafeNB announced Monday.

Employers are “very concerned” about the second increase in premiums in a row, which could force layoffs, and about the long-term viability of the workers’ compensation system, said Joel Richardson, chair of the Coalition of New Brunswick Employers.

Meanwhile, a task force struck by the provincial government in response to last year’s 33 per cent rate hike is expected to file a report with recommendations before the end of the year.

The 2018 assessment rate will be $1.70 per $100 of payroll, up from $1.48, said WorkSafe, citing rising claim costs.

The board of directors estimates the cost to manage the workers’ compensation system will actually be $1.93 per $100 of payroll, which could have resulted in a 28 per cent jump.

But the board has instead revised its target of having 110 per cent of what it has to pay out in its fund to 100 per cent, and found a 16 per cent savings in administrative costs, acting president and CEO Tim Petersen said in a release.

Still, board chairperson Dorine Pirie said those measures “won’t resolve the challenges facing the system in the long-term.”

“To balance our goal of long-term sustainability while ensuring the security of benefits for injured workers and their families, the board expects that future rate increases will be needed under current legislation.”

Joel Richardson, chair of the Coalition of New Brunswick Employers, contends WorkSafeNB’s decision to draw the benefit fund down to 100 per cent funding puts the workers’ compensation system at risk. (CBC)

Richardson said employers are “very frustrated with WorkSafeNB and its ability to sustainably manage the system.”

“Given the importance of the workers compensation system, it is financially prudent and necessary for us to take the time over the coming days…

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