17,000 Ohio Employers Get a Break on Comp Payment Deadline

The board of directors of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation has approved a rule change for the 50/50 payment program, which allows 17,000 Ohio businesses that pay online to split their yearly premiums into two payments. The change allows businesses to pay half of their premium costs by Feb. 28 and the remaining half by June 1. Second payments were previously due by May 1.

The board's actions also will allow employers conducting business outside the state to reduce their workers' compensation insurance premiums. "We know that countless Ohio employers are under tremendous pressure to meet all of their financial obligations," said BWC Administrator Marsha Ryan. "Increased flexibility for employers in meeting their workers' compensation obligations will provide immediate relief."

Senate Bill 334, which went into effect in September, allows businesses to avoid premium payment to BWC for work done in other states and covered by another state's policy. Generally, the law also requires out-of-state employers with employees working in Ohio to provide comp coverage when their workers come into Ohio to perform their duties. As a result of the rule changes, Ohio employers must report to BWC the payroll reported to the other state's insurer, but they won't have to pay BWC premium on the other state's payroll. BWC will also now recognize the coverage of an out-of-state employer working in Ohio to the extent that state will honor the BWC coverage for Ohio employers temporarily working in their state. Out-of state coverage will be honored for a period of up to 90 days.

The board also received a report that showed improved returns on BWC's investment portfolio. Unaudited figures for all BWC invested funds showed a gain of 8.2 percent for the first four weeks of December. Unaudited performance for the full year 2008 showed a decline of about 2 percent. "BWC's investment portfolio remains stable due to our conservative approach to managing recent turmoil in the markets," said Ryan. "Our board of directors has worked closely with BWC investment staff to maintain a strategy to hold investments for the long term and stay on course to protect our assets. Most importantly, we have maintained uninterrupted service to Ohio employers and injured workers throughout this market volatility."

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