The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has implemented a new policy for employers who fail to pay premiums timely.

Pursuant to Governor Kasich’s Common Sense Initiative, in an effort to attract and retain business in Ohio, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will permit an employer one violation of the reporting deadline for payroll and waive any associated penalties with the violation.

If an employer fails to pay premiums timely and the employer’s coverage lapses, the employer becomes liable for late payments, interest and claim costs on claims that occur during the lapse. Previously, the only way an employer could be relieved from these penalties is by demonstrating "good cause" for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to grant retroactive coverage. In the past, the fact that a business would have short term cash flow problems, or made a mistake and forgot to file a payroll report would not be evidence of good cause. However, pursuant to the Common Sense Initiative, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is now allowing an employer one violation, which will be waived. This is a one time exclusion for the entire lifetime of the business.

In order for an employer to request the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to excuse a lapse in payment, an employer must make a request in writing and specify that the employer is requesting the one time forgiveness of the lapse and penalties associated with the lapse. The lapse time must have occurred after January 10, 2011 and the lapse period must be 59 days or less. If an employer has multiple periods of lapses, the employer must chose one such period in which to obtain a waiver. Further, the request must specifically state that the employer is requesting a penalty abatement.

Keep in mind that employers can only make this request once. Employers will not receive waivers for lapses each year.