By the end of the April, many Ohio employers with state funded workers’ compensation coverage will receive a dividend from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). This dividend of up to $1.6 billion was approved by the BWC Board in response to a request from Governor Mike DeWine to state agencies to take action to ease the economic impact brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic. This dividend equals approximately 100% of the premiums state fund employers paid in policy year 2018.

The dividend will be distributed amongst state fund employers who paid premiums to the BWC for workers’ compensation coverage between July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. The dividend distribution to eligible employers will first be applied to any outstanding balance on the employer’s account, and the remaining amount will be mailed directly to the employer. Self-insured employers are not eligible to receive a dividend.

Though BWC dividends like this are not unprecedented, they are also not guaranteed. Rather, they occur if and when Ohio’s monopolistic state system is strong as a result of investment returns, declining injuries and decreasing reserves.

This dividend is the most recent action taken by the BWC to support employers during economic strain caused by COVID-19. Previous actions include the option to defer premium payments for March, April and May until June 1, 2020. Additionally, the BWC earlier waived or postponed certain requirements and deadlines for employer cost-saving programs.

For more information, see the BWC’s FAQs found here and/or feel free to reach out with any legal assistance needed.