Rules Under Development

General reporting rules, classifications, audit and recordkeeping, rates and rating system for Washington workers' compensation insurance

Chapter 296-17, WAC

All updates for this rule:

2015 Rates (Chapters 296-17, Chapter 296-17B WAC)

Labor and Industries is required by law to establish and maintain a workers’ compensation classification plan, and to set premium rates that are: 1) the lowest necessary to maintain actuarial solvency of the accident and medical aid funds; and 2) designed to attempt to limit fluctuations in premium rates. The plan must be consistent with recognized principles of insurance. Labor and Industries is also required by law to offer retrospective rating plans to employers as a further incentive to encourage workplace safety and prevent employee injury.709.

10/30/2014

Public Hearing

10/28/2014

Public Hearing

10/27/2014

Public Hearing

10/24/2014

Public Hearing

10/23/2014

Public Hearing

10/22/2014

Public Hearing

9/16/2014

PDF: Proposed Rulemaking (CR 102)

PDF: Proposed Rule Language

6/17/2014

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

2015 Classifications Updates (Chapters 296-17, WAC 296-17A WAC)

The Department is considering amending rules in four specific areas:

  • Rules applicable to the classification and reporting of professional sports teams (WAC 296-17-35203(1), 296-17A-6706, 296-17A-6707, 296-17A-6809, and 296-17A-7102);
  • Rules applicable to the classification of employers operating spas (WAC 296-17A-6109, 296-17A-6204, and 296-17A-6501);
  • Rules applicable to the classification of reforestation employment (WAC 296-17A-1007, 296-17A-5004, and 296-17A-5006); and
  • Rules applicable to the classification of farming operations (WAC 296-17A-4802 through 296-17A-4813).
703.

9/12/2014

Public Hearing

9/12/2014

Comments Due

7/22/2014

PDF: Proposed Rulemaking (CR 102)

PDF: Proposed Rule Language

5/6/2014

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

Misc. Classification and Reporting Changes (Chapters 296-17, Chapter 296-17A)

WAC chapters 296-17 and 296-17A establish how employers are required to report and pay industrial insurance premiums. The Department intends to review these chapters and make revisions to:

  • Correct typographical and other errors (such as invalid telephone numbers and out-of-date references),
  • Revise wording and formatting to make the rules easier to understand and apply, and
  • Incorporate and formalize existing agency practices (such as expressly including in a risk classification employment that the Department currently includes by interpretation or analogy).
The purpose of this rulemaking is not to make substantive changes to how the Department classifies employment, but to review and revise its classification plan to ensure it is clear and understandable. These changes will not change the way we calculate employer rates, our reporting requirements, or how we classify businesses. As part of this rulemaking, the Department also intends to review these chapters as required by SSB 5679 (Chapter 30, 2013 Laws 2nd Special Session) to make changes where possible to reduce the regulatory burden on employers insured with the State Fund.700.

8/19/2014

PDF: Adoption (Rule-Making Order CR-103)

PDF: Adopted Rule Language

7/22/2014

Public Hearing

6/17/2014

PDF: Proposed Rulemaking (CR 102)

PDF: Proposed Rule Language

4/22/2014

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

Housekeeping - withdrawn (Chapters 296-17, 296-17A WAC)

The Department of Labor and Industries is required by law (RCW 51.16.035) to establish and maintain a workers' compensation classification plan. This plan classifies all occupations or industries within the state and sets basic rates of premium that are distributed fairly for these classifications. Department staff determined that a number of rules are in need of revision to ensure the plan is clear and accurate. In an ongoing effort to ease administrative burden for customers and make it easier to do business with the Department, the Department proposes to reformat and simplify language for multiple rules to make them easier to understand and apply. For example, the standard exception classification restrictions are presently addressed specifically in the general reporting rules. Customers must look in two places in the rules to learn what the restrictions are. The Department proposes rewriting each of the standard exception classifications to incorporate the parameters of the reporting requirements into the language of the classification. These changes will not change employer rates or reporting requirements, or classifications. The Department is also reviewing these rules as part of its rules review process under SSB 5679 (Chapter 30, 2013 Laws 2nd Special Session).697.

1/21/2014

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

PDF: Withdrawn Rulemaking (CR 101)

Multiple Classifiations (Chapter 96-17 WAC)

The purpose of this rulemaking clarifies that an employer may have more than one classification assigned and the same employees may perform work in multiple classifications. Staff identified inconsistencies in the rules as to when a company may qualify for multiple classifications. WAC 296-17-31017 currently states that in order to qualify for multiple basic classifications, an employer “must keep detailed records of the actual time spent by each employee in each classification.” This guidance is repeated in WAC 296-17-310171. However, WAC 296-17-31017 later states criteria that “different employees must work in each business.” This is contradictory and confusing to staff and customers. Auditors and account managers were unclear as to when the multiple classifications rule applied. The agency will propose repealing WAC 296-17-310171, as well as the criteria that “different employees must work in each business,” and consolidating all guidance for businesses and staff on this topic into WAC 296-17-31017 to streamline direction and remove inconsistencies.687.

5/30/2014

PDF: Adoption (Rule-Making Order CR-103)

PDF: Adopted Rule Language

3/4/2014

Public Hearing

1/21/2014

PDF: Proposed Rulemaking (CR 102)

PDF: Proposed Rule Language

9/3/2013

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

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