News and Analysis
As the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) issues its latest round of dividend payments this month, it needs to update its files to ensure a current W-9 tax form is on file for all businesses. Dividends may be taxable. (Consult your tax advisor.)
The BWC needs your W-9 to us by Dec. 31, as required by the IRS. You must include your BWC-issued policy number in Line 7, which asks for your account number. Learn more. 12/10/2020
Gov. Mike DeWine has recorded a brief message specifically for OMA members, thanking them for their workplace safety efforts during COVID-19 and urging them to again ask employees to take precautions to stop the spread of the virus — at work and home. Watch the video. 12/10/2020
The OMA testified this week in support of Senate Bill 384, legislation to create an alternative method to using the state’s workers’ compensation system to provide benefits to first responders with PTSD (but who have experienced no workplace injury or illness).
Ohio’s workers’ compensation system is designed to benefit workers who experience physical injuries or illnesses. The OMA has opposed expanding coverage to treat PTSD when there is no physical injury because of the precedent-setting nature of such an expansion.
SB 384 would create a special state-administered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Coverage Fund, overseen by the director of public safety. The fund would provide PTSD-only compensation and benefits to first responders. Coverage under this proposed system is intended to be comparable to coverage in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation system. The bill offers a financially prudent way to provide benefits while protecting the fundamental principles of the workers’ compensation system. 12/10/2020
The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center will host a free webinar at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16 to help employers prepare for vaccine distribution and deployment. The webinar will feature a panel of experts to provide the latest information on safety, testing, vaccines and COVID-19 therapies being utilized during this pandemic. Register here. 12/8/2020
Beginning Jan. 20, President-Elect Joe Biden can begin taking actions that will immediately impact employers. Biden has already indicated that workplace safety will be a major focus of his administration.
On Jan. 12 at 2 p.m., OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips will conduct a webinar to discuss what safety and OSHA developments employers can expect. Cost is $49 per person. 12/9/2020
The OMA offers monthly safety webinars to support members’ safety programs. Our subject matter expert is OMA Connections Partner Safex, and the topics are based on votes of the membership.
Employers that are seeking COVID-19 testing services can visit the Ohio COVID-19 Testing Database, which provides information on labs that are performing tests. The list also includes information regarding each lab’s capacity, capabilities, and contact information. To be on the list, a lab must be registered with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). For questions regarding COVID-19 testing in Ohio, email the Ohio Testing Taskforce.
Also, ODH maintains this updated map of COVID-19 testing sites throughout Ohio. 12/2/2020
This week, the CDC offered two alternatives to shorten the quarantine period for those deemed to have been in “close contact” with someone infected with COVID-19. Those without symptoms may end quarantine after seven days if they have had a negative test result, or after 10 days without a negative test result. See more in this update from OMA Connections Partner Benesch. 12/3/2020
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Interim Administrator/CEO John Logue told the BWC board last week that BWC staff is preparing to distribute $5 billion in dividends to employers next month. Checks are expected to be mailed beginning Dec. 10. About $4.3 billion will go to private employers, with $687 million for public employers.
See this FAQs document for more information on the latest round of dividend payments.
Gongwer News Service reports that the BWC’s net position at the end of October was $10.9 billion, down $1.1 billion from its position in October 2019. That doesn’t take into account the $5 billion dividend, which will cut it nearly in half. However, the bureau will still hold a net position of $5.9 billion. 11/24/2020
OMA Connections Partner Frantz Ward will host a free webinar at noon Wednesday, Dec. 2 to address developments in Ohio workers’ compensation law and practice. The webinar will provide insight into what is arguably the most significant change this year — the codification of the “voluntary abandonment” defense to the payment of benefits. 11/24/202