SAINT JOHN – Workers and employers both benefit from today’s proclamation of new legislation impacting New Brunswick’s workers’ compensation system.
Over 25 years ago, an unpaid waiting period was introduced whereby an employee who suffered a work-related injury was not eligible for compensation for the first three days of the claim. New legislation repeals that provision in stages, with the initial elimination of one unpaid day effective July 1, 2019 and the complete elimination of the unpaid waiting period by July 1, 2021.
“Eliminating the unpaid waiting period will provide wage loss benefits to all workers from the day following an accident,” said Haley Flaro, acting board chairperson. “This benefit improvement will directly impact New Brunswick’s most vulnerable injured workers who might not have access to sick leave benefits during this time frame.”
The legislative changes will also have an immediate impact on the rates that employers pay as the 2019 average assessment rate, previously announced as $2.92 per $100 of payroll, is being reduced to $2.65. WorkSafeNB’s actuaries have reviewed the impact of the new legislation and, in accordance with current policies, have determined that a $94 million reduction in certain liabilities will be realized immediately, resulting in the lower rate for 2019.
“These legislative changes will help stabilize the rapid increases in costs that have been passed on to New Brunswick employers in recent years, allowing for a more predictable cost environment,” said Flaro.
In July 2018, a Ministerial Task Force, comprised of equal representation of both workers and employers released a total of 28 recommendations designed to strike the right balance among compensation for injured workers, the employers’ financial interest and the long-term sustainability of the system. Today’s new legislative amendments address seven of the proposed 12 recommendations requiring legislative change.
“On behalf of WorkSafeNB’s board of directors, I want to thank our minister, the Honourable Trevor Holder, and the Government of New Brunswick, for acting swiftly to introduce and enact these amendments,” said Flaro. “These legislative changes will help us sustain a workers’ compensation system, one that benefits all New Brunswickers.”
Employers can expect notices with their individual assessment rates in the coming weeks, and are encouraged to consider the monthly payment option that is available.
WorkSafeNB will return to government in early 2019 with a proposal to implement the remaining Task Force recommendations which, among other things, will lead to significant improvements in occupational health and safety at workplaces across the province.
More information about the task force and its recommendations is available at The Report of the Task Force on WorkSafeNB. Please visit worksafenb.ca for information on the 2019 average assessment rate.
Acting Director, Communications, WorkSafeNB
506 632-2270, email@example.com