ST. JOHN’S, NL – Amendments to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act will be introduced in the upcoming session of the House of Assembly that would increase the income replacement rate for injured workers in the province.
The provincial government made the announcement today, Feb. 20.
The income replacement rate, the percentage of a worker’s pre-injury net income covered by the workers’ compensation system, for injured workers or their dependents is currently 80 per cent.
If the amendments pass, the rate will climb to 85 per cent.
“Workplace injuries greatly impact many individuals and families throughout our province,” Service NL Minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh said in a news release.
“As a government, making these improvements helps ensure the workplace injury compensation system is meeting the needs of clients. We must also ensure we maintain our continued focus on a culture of safety in Newfoundland and Labrador,”
According to the news release, wage-loss benefits will be calculated at 85 per cent of a person’s earnings after taxes are taken out. The gross income, before taxes are removed, is capped at the maximum compensable assessable earnings (MCAE), which is $64,375 for 2018.
In its own news release, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour (NLFL) welcomed the announcement.
NLFL president Mary Shortall, who pointed out her organization has been lobbying government for the change since 2013, called it “long overdue.”
Newfoundland and Labrador presently has the lowest income replacement rate for injured workers the country, she noted.
“We are grateful that Minister Gambin-Walsh and government have listened to us, and have honoured this recommendation, and that the board of directors at Workplace NL have endorsed it,” Shortall said.
“The workers compensation injury fund has never been healthier, and while employer assessment rates have decreased by over 30 per cent since 2014, injured workers have seen no increase. This is the absolute right thing to do for injured workers in this province.”
Along with the income replacement rate, the provincial government and Workplace NL also announced the launch of a new five-year workplace injury prevention strategy called Advancing a Strong Safety Culture in Newfoundland and Labrador today.
The strategy, which was developed in consultation with injury prevention partners and stakeholders, can be read here.