Employment Policy

Workers’ comp benefit costs are highest in Washington, for the eighth year running

Last week the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) released its annual report on workers’ compensation benefits, coverage, and costs across states. For 2015 (there’s a two-year lag), Washington’s benefit costs were $788.62 per covered worker. This was the highest in the country, followed by California ($751.70) and Alaska ($719.93).

Workers’ comp rates could decrease next year

The Department of Labor and Industries is proposing that average workers’ compensation rates decrease by 2.5 percent in 2018. If the proposal is adopted in December, it will be the first average rate reduction since 2007. (Rates increased by an average of 0.7 percent in 2017 and 2 percent in 2016.)

Taking vetoes into account, the budget doesn’t balance over four years (plus, a note on minimum wage disemployment effects)

The Legislature passed a 2017–19 operating budget that balanced over four years; an outlook prepared for the compromise indicated unrestricted ending fund balances of $985 million in 2017–19 and $42 million in 2019–21.

Paid sick leave rulemaking is ongoing

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) released draft proposed rules for I-1433.

Policy issues on the Seattle horizon

Earlier this week the Seattle City Council approved its 2017 work program (via Seattle City Council Insight). Although details are scant, the program provides some idea of the issues councilmembers want to work on this year. Much of the program is carried over from last year, but there are several new items of interest.

Washington’s union membership increase driven by public sector

Union membership in Washington increased in 2016, as Opportunity Washington noted a few weeks ago. Professors Barry Hirsch of Georgia State University and David Macpherson of Trinity University have since updated their data, which includes a break out of public sector and private sector unionization rates by state.

Roundup of Seattle business climate issues

Several policies impacting Seattle’s business climate have been in the news recently.

Side-by-side comparison of paid family leave bills

Two paid family leave bills have been introduced so far this session: SB 5032 (and the identical HB 1116) and SB 5149. Lens has a good story on the issue.

Roundup of year-end agency news

A number of agency announcements have made my inbox over the last month:

Results from the federally-funded research on paid family leave in WA

Last week Gov. Inslee’s office released some research on paid family leave.

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