Workers’ compensation coverage protects workers and employers from the impacts of workplace injuries and illnesses. The funds needed to cover the cost of WCB benefits and services are collected from registered employers in the form of premiums. Like other insurance premiums, WCB premiums are based on a combination of the risk of incurring claims costs and the value of what is insured.
We define risk as the potential cost of future workplace injuries (based on the costs of past claims) and determine value using the assessable payroll of your workforce. Your risk is expressed in your WCB rate, which is multiplied by every $100 of your payroll to determine your premium.
We assess your risk and determine your rate through a mechanism we call the rate model. The rate model is how we make sure every employer pays their fair share of costs. Employers share the cost of the workers compensation system, while also paying higher or lower rates based on their own claims experience and the experience of the classification they share with other employers.
Below are the factors that go into measuring risk and calculating WCB rates.
Average Risk, Average Rate
The average assessment rate, or average rate, is what you would pay if every employer paid the same WCB rate. The total expected costs for the coming year (claims costs in the current year, potential future costs of current claims, and administrative costs) are divided among all covered employers in Manitoba. The average rate is a baseline – we use it to set rates for each classification group.
When the total cost of injuries for all covered employers in Manitoba decreases, the average rate decreases, and this decreases the baseline rate for all employers. If the average rate increases, the baseline rate for all employers increases.
Classification Group Risk and Rates
All employers are placed in an industry classification when they register with the WCB.
An industry classification is a group of employers who operate in a similar industry with a similar level of risk. Each industry classification is assigned a risk category that describes their level of risk (cost of injuries) compared to the system average. There are currently nine risk categories.
Classifications and their risk categories are based on years of historical data that tell us how likely employers are – in comparison to the average of all employers – to have claims and claims-related costs. Risk categories are expressed as a percentage of that likelihood in relation to the base rate.
For example, a classification group that has injury costs that are only 25 per cent of the average of all employers, is put into the 25 per cent risk category. A classification in the 200 per cent risk category is expected to have twice the claims costs as the average of all employers. When an employer registers with the WCB, they are assigned the classification base rate of their risk category. Over time, their rate will be adjusted up or down within an established range of rates for that risk category depending on their actual claims costs.
Employer Size and Rate Range
Within each classification, employers pay more or less than the classification base rate based on their past claims costs. The range – how much more or less than the classification base rate it is possible to pay – is based on employer size. Small and medium employers have a narrower rate range than large employers. Small and medium employers tend to have bigger changes in claims costs from year to year than larger employers (for instance, a small or medium employer could have several years claims-free followed by a year with a single high-cost claim). A narrower rate range protects small and medium employers against sharp changes in their rate caused by sharp changes in their claims costs.
Generally, an employer who invests in safety and prevention and makes every effort to return injured workers back to health and meaningful work will have lower claim costs and pay a lower rate.
The Impact of Claims Costs – Your Risk and Rate
Unfortunately, a workplace injury can happen to anyone, even in the safest of workplaces. Many employers work hard to prevent workplace injuries but sometimes, workers still get hurt.
When this happens, employers have two responsibilities: reporting the injury to the WCB and helping workers return to health and meaningful work as soon as safely possible.
The cost of injuries at your workplace directly affects your risk. Those who have more costs typically pay a higher premium.
As part of the rate calculation, we compare your injury costs to an average employer of similar size and risk. If your costs are higher, you'll likely see an increase to your rate and premium. If your costs are lower, you'll likely see a decrease in what you pay.
If you're a new employer in Manitoba, you don't have any previous claims cost experience with the WCB to establish your rate. Your premium will be determined by a new employer rate assigned to your classification.
Industry-Based Safety Programs
Manitoba has many industry-based safety programs designed to help keep workers safe on the job, in partnership with SAFE Work Manitoba.
Through safety programs, employers can work together to reduce their individual and classification-wide injuries and resulting costs.
These programs are funded by all employers within the corresponding classification. The WCB collects and distributes these program fees (called a safety levy) through employers' premiums as a percentage of their rate.
Employers who are represented by an industry-based safety program and embrace workplace injury prevention can reduce the number and cost of injuries in their workplace and as a result benefit from lower rates.
Rate Increase/Decrease Limits
There is a limit set to rate increases and decreases to protect you from sharp changes in a single year and ensure everyone is still paying a fair share of costs. Your rate can't go below the lower or above the upper end of your classification rate range over a 12-month period. Your rate also cannot generally move up or down more than 15 per cent from year to year.
Because there are many factors involved when we calculate premiums, it can be difficult to ensure revenue raised by premiums matches the revenue we require to cover workplace injuries and illnesses. Once rates have been determined, we apply a balancing adjustment evenly to all employers to ensure we are able to break even.