Nova Scotia’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved changes to policies it uses to set employers’ assessment rates.
The changes will apply with 2013 assessment rates. The board has revised its Experience Rating — Maximum Merit or Demerit Surcharge policy. It will no longer send notices warning of surcharges to employers who previously had to pay surcharges and who have only been out of that position for less than three years. The WCB can apply surcharges to an employer’s assessments if the employer’s injury claim costs are significantly and consistently higher than the average of its industry group.
The WCB also amended the policies Claim Costs Which are Excluded from Experience Rating and Costs Used for Fatal Claims for Experience Rating to make it less likely an employer would receive an experience rating merit if an employee was killed on the job.
The board approved a new policy that will set out the criteria employers must meet if they want to receive a refund on surcharges. The policy will allow employers who have paid surcharges to receive a refund if they have spent money to improve safety at their workplace. The policy, Conditional Surcharge Refund Program, will apply beginning with 2013 assessment rates.
The WCB is in the process of finalizing its proposed Practice Incentive Rebate Program, which will reward employers who set up an effective health and safety management system. Under the proposed program, the board will give employers a rebate on a percentage of their assessment premium if their health and safety management system meets the requirements of a WCB-approved health and safety system accreditation program. The board is currently testing the program in the construction and trucking industries.