Each fall, L&I announces its proposed rates for the upcoming year. The average rates for 2020 are down slightly with a decrease of 0.8%.

It’s good news, but it’s important to understand what that really means; overall, it’s only about $15 per employee during the next year.  The better news is that some industries are seeing even bigger drops.

Construction rates will drop 4.7% next year, with work such as painting and drywall seeing double-digit drops of 10-17%. For our transportation, manufacturing, food processing, and retail clients, your rates generally won’t change more than 1% this year, in line with the average across all industries. An exception is metal manufacturing, with a relatively large increase of 3% for 2020.

Reductions like this are only possible because employers state-wide are implementing safer work practices, which brings down the injury rates and lowers the cost of claims.

The best news is that you have a lot of control over the actual rates paid by your company.  A general rule is that your rates cannot increase or decrease by more than 25% per year.

The actual rates your company pays are decided by two key factors:

  1. Type of work performed by your employees (risk classes).
  2. Cost of your workers’ comp claims in recent years (Experience Modification Rate or EMR).

At Approach, our focus is helping you keep your EMR as low as possible, because average rates get multiplied by this number to set the premium rate for your company.

Each employer should have a notification from L&I regarding the 2020 rates. Contact your Approach retro coordinator if you have questions about your rates or how to read the notification.