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:

Chapter 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  • Correct typographical and other errors (such as invalid telephone numbers and out-of-date references),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.

4/22/2014

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

General reporting rules.

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 Classifications

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.

3/4/2014

Public Hearing

1/21/2014

PDF: Proposed Rulemaking (CR 102)

PDF: Proposed Rule Language

9/3/2013

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

2014 Workers' Compensation Premium Rates

This rule adoption will amend the tables of classification base premium rates, experience rating plan parameters, experience modification factor calculation limitations and retrospective rating plan size groupings for the workers' compensation insurance program for calendar year 2014. Classification base rates were amended for updated loss and payroll experience. The department proposes a 2.7 percent overall average premium rate increase. The department has added a new section describing the logger safety initiative supported by Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5744 passed by the 2013 Legislature and signed by the Governor. This legislation directs the department to consider incentives, such as a rate reduction, for those in the logging industry who meet specific safety criteria. The law requires the department to report to the legislature on the development and implementation of the logger safety initiative by December 21, 2013.683.

11/30/2013

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

PDF: Adopted Rule Language

11/1/2013

Comments Due

10/29/2013

Public Hearing

10/28/2013

Public Hearing

10/25/2013

Public Hearing

10/24/2013

Public Hearing

10/23/2013

Public Hearing

10/22/2013

Public Hearing

9/17/2013

PDF: Proposed Rulemaking (CR 102)

PDF: Proposed Rule Language

6/18/2013

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

Product Demonstrators

A department study identified the need for a single classification that appropriately rates product demonstrator services according to the industry’s level of hazard. The proposed subclassification is a special exception available to product demonstrator services, manufacturers, and wholesalers if hiring product demonstrators with no other exposure to their business’ operations. At today’s rates, the base rate for product demonstrators would be about 9 cents per hour higher for firms currently reporting product demonstrators in Classification 6303 (outside sales) and 28 cents per hour lower for any firm currently reporting product demonstrators in Classification 7106-01 (temporary staffing services, retail or wholesale store operations). The changes were adopted 4/1/2013 and became effective on 1/1/2014.667.

1/1/2014

Rule Changes Effective

4/1/2013

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

PDF: Adopted Rule Language

1/23/2013

Comments Due

1/22/2013

Public Hearing

11/6/2012

PDF: Proposed Rulemaking (CR 102)

PDF: Proposed Rule Language

9/4/2012

PDF: Preproposal (CR-101)

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