WAPAKONETA ‚?? Public and private employers in Ohio are receiving rebate checks from the Bureau of Workers‚?? Compensation thanks to a better-than-expected return on investment funds.
The BWC is returning $1 billion to employers, agency administrator and CEO Steve Buehrer said Monday during an event at Miller‚??s Textile Services to highlight the rebates. The total includes $30 million in Allen, Auglaize, Hancock, Hardin, Putnam and Van Wert counties.
The rebates are a chance to give employers some of their money back, Buehrer said.
‚??In the coming days, we‚??ll be mailing almost 200,000 checks out of Columbus that will be coming back to local employers, Buehrer said. ‚??This will be a significant boost to businesses in this area.‚?Ě
The money is not restricted, but Miller will use the check for employee development and safety training, company President Robert Hager said.
Buehrer is holding multiple events around the state to educate employers. The last time the bureau provided rebates, some companies didn‚??t cash the checks because people didn‚??t realize what it was or thought it was a scam.
The bureau assumed investment income of 4 percent, but the last three years the funds have averaged 11 percent annually, Buehrer said. The fund has accumulated beyond the range established by the BWC board.
The rebate is one of three things the bureau is doing to bring it within net asset guidelines established by the BWC board.
Eligible employers will get 56 percent of their 2011 premium amount back. Miller pays about $200,000 a year on workers‚?? compensation premiums. The company participates in all savings programs for which it is eligible.
The bureau is also tripling the amount of money available, from $5 million to $15 million, for its Safety Grant Program. BWC will also now match every employer dollar with $3 and has established a policy to allow businesses to get additional awards over their lifetime.
Also, the bureau is modernizing its premium collection by moving toward what is called a prospective payment system, instead of the current system that bills for up to 18 months after coverage.
The changes total $2 billion in changes by the state in favor of employers, Buehrer said.
Miller supplies linens, uniforms and janitorial supplies for a wide range of businesses in Ohio, Indiana and surrounding states. It has 175 employees and locations in Wapakoneta, Defiance, Springfield, Cleveland and Marion, Ind. The company has improved its safety record over the years, especially with repetitive motion injuries.
Miller had used the BWC safety grants to help purchase equipment to reduce those injuries, Hager said. However, the company had long ago reached a lifetime max it could receive from the bureau because the grants were capped. As part of the changes Buehrer announced, companies will now be able to apply again for the grants.