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L&I raises workers’ compensation rate despite objections by BIAW and others

December 2, 2022

Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) recently announced an increase in the average workers’ compensation premium rate despite objections by BIAW and others.

4.8% increase in the average workers’ compensation rate

L&I attributes the 4.8 percent increase to wage inflation and rising medical costs. Employers and workers will jointly pay an average of $61 more a year for each full-time employee, starting Jan. 1, 2023.

The agency reports it “has built up a contingency reserve over the years by carefully managing rate increases and keeping program costs down… Those strategic decisions cushioned what could have been a larger rate increase.”

Objections by BIAW and others

At a public hearing in late October, BIAW lobbyist Tom Kwieciak told L&I increased labor costs will further exacerbate Washington’s housing crisis, making homes even more unaffordable than they already are. Like the farmers Kwieciak also represents, builders and contractors may see double and triple the average increase because of their risk classifications.

“When combined with other labor costs and current economic conditions, even the 4.8% average rate increase is not welcome news for employers,” Kwieciak told L&I.

He also expressed concern about L&I’s plan to tap its contingency reserves to keep the rate increases lower than they might otherwise be. Instead, he urged them to develop longer-term plans for rising costs.

More information about 2023 workers’ compensation rates:

ROII helps reduce the pain of workers’ compensation payments

As a participant in an L&I-approved retro safety incentive program, businesses can earn a partial refund of their workers’ compensation premiums by reducing workplace injuries and lowering associated claim costs. BIAW’s ROII is Washington’s largest, longest-operating Retro (Retrospective Rating) safety incentive program. It’s offered exclusively to BIAW members.

ROII distributed over $33 million to companies across the state in 2022. The top-performing companies enrolled in the 2018-19 plan year received a total of 56% refunds on their L&I premium. Over half of the ROII participants enrolled this year got a 56% refund.

If you’re not an ROII participant, find out how to get rewarded for safety and receive refunds on your workers’ compensation premiums by visiting

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