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The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries on Monday announced that there will be no increase in the average workers compensation premium rate in 2021.
The department also said it is not including losses from claims for COVID-19 exposure when calculating an employer’s premium rates, yet it will be creating a new job classification for those working in fulfillment centers.
Last year, there was a 0.8% decrease in the average amount employers paid for the coverage. The department cut rates by 5% in 2019 and 2.5% in 2018.
As part of the 2021 rate process, the department considered creating new risk classes, such as that approved for fulfillment centers, which include businesses that sell products online and provide third-party sellers with an automated platform to fill customers’ orders. Currently, these facilities — including those run by Amazon Inc. — are grouped in with warehouses for determining their workers compensation rates.
Concerns from other businesses in the warehouse classification prompted the department to review the classification, “determining that fulfillment centers have higher hazard operations compared to the rest of the industry class,” according to a statement. As a result, the department decided to place fulfillment centers under their own classification, separate from general warehouses, starting on Jan. 1, 2021, according to a statement.