TUMWATER — The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries is again extending the deadline for employers who are finding it difficult to pay their workers’ compensation premiums during the coronavirus outbreak.
Under L&I’s extension, employers who are participating in the Employer Assistance Program have until Nov. 2 to pay their workers’ compensation premiums for the second quarter (April-May-June). Without the extension, the full payments would have been due on July 31. L&I previously extended the due date for first quarter premiums (January-February-March) through July 31.
Interested employers must still reapply for the second quarter payment relief, even if they received a payment extension for the first quarter.
“We know employers are still impacted by the pandemic, and we want to continue to offer flexibility during these hard times,” L&I Employer Services Program Manager Keith Bingham said.
Under state law, L&I is required to collect workers’ compensation premiums from employers to pay benefits for workers who are injured on the job or develop work-related illnesses.
Requesting help through the Employer Assistance Program
The Employer Assistance Program offers a grace period for premium payments, along with payment plans for employers facing financial difficulties during the pandemic.
Under this offer, employers can request a payment deferral for up to 90 days, or ask for a 90-day payment plan. Either way, the delayed payments will be penalty- and interest-free.
To be eligible for the coronavirus-related assistance, employers must contact the L&I Collections, Education, and Outreach Unit if they know they will not be able to make their quarterly premium payment. Contact the unit by calling 1-800-301-1826 or by sending an email to L&I’s dialer collections mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org.
Penalties and interest
L&I will waive late penalties and interest charges as long as qualifying businesses pay their premiums within 90 days. In some cases, the payment plan may be renegotiated if a business goes deeper into financial distress.
As part of the agreement, businesses must still file their quarterly report on time, which is no later than July 31, 2020, for second quarter workers’ compensation premiums. Quarterly reports can be filed online through QuickFile. Check with your local L&I office to see if they are open for walk-in visits or visits by appointment.
L&I has offered the same assistance to employers before. In the spring of 2009, during the worst part of the Great Recession, L&I created the Employer Assistance Program after discovering about 13,000 employers were delinquent on workers’ compensation premiums. About 60 percent of these employers had accounts in good standing before the recession.
Likewise, L&I assisted employers in nearby areas after the major landslide that occurred east of Oso, Washington, in 2014.
For additional services
L&I customers can find phone numbers for local L&I offices online or call the L&I Office of Information and Assistance at 360-902-5800.