ACC Experience Rating

The Herald reports:

Employers are being offered a carrot and stick to improve workplace safety under a Government scheme which gives discounts and penalties of up to 50 per cent on their ACC levies.

But the Government acknowledged Opposition concerns that the proposal carries the risk of bosses pressuring workers not to report injuries.

ACC Minister Nick Smith yesterday said the Government planned to apply “experience rating” – essentially a no- or low-claims discount on employers’ ACC levies – from April next year.

On the other side of the ledger, employers with poor safety records will pay higher levies.

The two-tier system will see larger employers receive up to a 50 per cent discount or a 50 per cent penalty according to their record over the preceding three years. Smaller employers including farmers will receive a 10 per cent discount or a 10 per cent increase on their levies depending on their record of employee injuries.

Excellent. Rewarding workplaces and penalising unsafe workplaces makes sense. Also on a personal front, will be nice to have a reduction in levies considering in six years of operations, we’ve not had one workplace accident or claim.

The proposal was welcomed by and Federated Farmers. However, while Labour’s ACC spokesman, David Parker, said it seemed appropriate to reward employers who acted to prevent workplace accidents, some might not report accidents in order to protect their discounted levies.

“It is also a possibility that some employers will encourage employees hurt in workplace accidents to report their injuries as being non-workplace.”

leader Norman said it would not work for the same reasons.

Smith acknowledged those concerns but did not believe they were valid.

” I accept you might be able to fudge whether the sprained ankle was at work or tennis, it’s a lot more difficult to fudge where there was a serious accident.”

Norman is speaking nonsense. This is not some new thing – it has been used extensively in the past, and worked very well. The always try to promote the scenario of the evil employer who will break the law and lie and cover up to save a few hundred dollars here and there – and then use that as the rationale for a lowest common denominator approach that all employers must be punished.

There are some bad employers out there. Yes. But don’t penalise all employers for a few. To 98% of employers, they would never not report an accident, just because it may slightly affect a future premium,

And as Nick Smith pointed out, a sprained ankle is not going to change your premium much – it will be the serious injuries that really affects levies or premiums, and they can’t be hidden away.

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