Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was joined by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted Wednesday to request the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation 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 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,” 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 it has ever issued. 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.
Benefit to agriculture
Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp joined the governor for the announcement of these possible dividends and shared how these funds will benefit the agricultural community.
“It is no secret that with the pandemic, global disruptions and uncertainty, and an untold number of other challenges, our agricultural community has seen some serious negative economic impacts,” Sharp said during the news conference. “The potential to return billions of dollars to our communities is vitally important as it will give businesses across the state the needed resources and cash to remain competitive and reinvest in their workforces and their safety.
According to DeWine, Ohio farms should expect to see a dividend of $9,500, on average.
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.
BWC’s board of directors is tentatively scheduled to vote on the request during a special meeting Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 and checks could be delivered as early as the first week of December. Visit 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.