Increased penalties for infractions of workers’ compensation laws took effect on July 1.
This amendment is a result of legislation enacted in 2020, which called for an upward revision of statutory penalties for violations of workers’ compensation laws, along with regular adjustments accounting for inflation. The prior legislation, dating back to the 1980s, had not provided for any increases in penalty amounts. According to RCW 51.48.095, penalties having specified dollar amounts are slated for inflationary adjustments every three years. An early notification was issued by the department in December, with a reminder now being sent out about the impending change on July 1, 2023.
The adjustment factor stands at 16.15%. Updated information about penalties can be accessed on the L&I website.
The updated law mandates penalty increases by evaluating the yearly shifts in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) in the Seattle, Washington area, during the three-year period before the adjustment. The CPI-W data is compiled by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The first adjustment draws upon changes in the annual CPI-W in the Seattle area for 2020, 2021, and 2022.