Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was joined by Lt. Governor Jon Husted to request the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) send up to $5 billion in dividends to Ohio employers to ease the continued financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘This pandemic is unprecedented, and continues to financially impact Ohio employers and businesses,” said Governor DeWine. “Issuing these dividends is important. This is about keeping businesses open and people employed.”
If approved by BWC’s Board of Directors, it would bring the total dividend dollars for employers this year to nearly $8 billion.
“As Ohio businesses confront the economic challenges of a COVID world, this kind of financial relief can be the difference between closing and staying open,” Lt. Governor Husted said. “We don’t want Ohio businesses and the jobs they create to be a casualty of the pandemic.”
The $5 billion dividend would be BWC’s third dividend of more than $1 billion this year, and the largest one-time dividend ever issued by the BWC. BWC distributed $1.54 billion in April and $1.34 billion in October. At $5 billion, this dividend is approximately four times the total premiums BWC collected from its employer members in policy year 2019.
“We’ve never issued three dividends in the same year, let alone any for this much, but unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “Even so, the State Insurance Fund is well positioned to cover our injured workers for years to come.”
Despite the pandemic, BWC remains in a strong fiscal position from healthy investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year, and prudent fiscal management.
Private and public employers in Franklin County would receive approximately $559 million, followed by Cuyahoga County at $528 million. The employer in line for the single largest dividend check in the state is the city of Columbus at nearly $64 million.
“Ohio small business owners cannot thank the DeWine Administration and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) enough for returning an additional five billion dollars back to Ohio employers as they continue to be weighed down by this pandemic. This administration has pulled out all the stops to keep Ohio’s economic engine, small business, afloat. This goes a long way to assisting them retaining employees, paying utilities and rent, and keeping the doors open,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.
“The family-owned businesses across Ohio are still battling this coronavirus crisis. They are working overtime to keep employees and customers safe and continue to serve their communities. Over 50 percent of NFIB members say they are experiencing losses in annual revenue this year of 20 percent or more and a significant number are seeing a dip of greater than 50 percent,” he continued.
“Ohio entrepreneurs are running out of options as 90 percent who took Paycheck Protection Loans have told us they have exhausted those funds. We appreciate Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and Administrator McCloud for their strong leadership in putting dollars back in the hands of small business owners that are critical to their very survival during these continued uncertain times,” Geiger concluded.
BWC’s Board of Directors is tentatively scheduled to vote on the request during a special meeting on Monday, November 2, 2020. Please check bwc.ohio.gov to confirm Board details.
Funded by employer premiums, BWC provides workers’ compensation insurance to approximately 245,000 private employers, and 4,000 public employers, such as cities, counties, and schools.