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June 17, 1996

Hearing set July 23 on discount for drug-free workplaces

TUMWATER - Legislation that permits private employers a 5 percent discount on their workers' compensation premiums for drug-free workplaces is the topic of a public hearing July 23.

The departments of Social and Health Services and Labor & Industries will hold the joint hearing at 10 a.m. July 23 at OB-2 Auditorium, 1115 Washington St. S.E. in Olympia.

Legislation approved this year allows private employers to qualify for a 5 percent discount on workers' compensation premiums if they enact policies for a drug-free workplace.

The law specifies that total discounts for all employers may not exceed $5 million during a fiscal year. Once this limit is reached, discounts will be suspended and a waiting list established.

Certified employers will be eligible for the discount on a first-come, first-served basis.

Other key points of the discount program:

  • An employer may not receive more than one premium discount from among multiple discount program enrollments.
  • When an employer's program for a drug-free workplace is certified by the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) the discount will take effect the following quarter.
  • DSHS is in charge of determining if an employer's program meets certification for the discount.
  • The Department of Labor & Industries ensures a qualified employer receives the discount.
  • The discount remains in effect as long as the employer is certified, but there is a three-year limit and the discount will not extend past Dec. 31, 2000. Annual re-certification is necessary.
  • An employer must pay to DSHS a $50 to $150 certification fee, based on the number of employees. There also is an annual re-certification fee of $100.
  • Employers participating in L&I's retrospective rating program are eligible for the discount.
  • The discount is not available for employers that are self-insured.
Written comments about DSHS rules may be sent to: 

Henry Govert
Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, DSHS
PO Box 45330
Olympia, WA 98504-5330
Telephone: 360-438-8092

Written comments about L&I rules may be sent to:

Kathy Kimbel
Employer Services
PO Box 44140
Olympia, WA 98504-4140
Telephone: 360-902-4739

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