CHEYENNE – The 67th Wyoming Legislature passed, and Gov. Mark Gordon signed into law three bills aimed at helping Wyoming businesses and employees. 

House Bill (HB) 0072 Workers’ Compensation-provision for adverse deviation (PFAD) provides an opportunity to ease Workers’ Compensation premiums for employers. 

Senate File (SF) 0059 Federal unemployment compensation trust fund-adjustment, and SF 0058 Investment of state unemployment insurance trust fund allow the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) to provide additional funds for training and workforce development. 

“Wyoming’s business climate continues to improve, which improves our ability to grow the state’s economy,” Governor Gordon said. “I signed these three bills into law to save businesses money and offer Wyoming employees additional training resources to sharpen and enhance their skills. These changes strengthen our state’s businesses and help create new opportunities.”

Workers’ Compensation Premium Reductions

The DWS explored ways to reduce Workers’ Compensation premiums for employers. HB 0072 Workers’ Compensation-provision for adverse deviation (PFAD) allows for a potential reduction in Workers’ Compensation employer-paid premiums by considering investment earnings on the PFAD as revenue. Before this change, only the investment income on the amount held as the loss reserves was considered in determining future workers’ compensation rates.

Jason Wolfe, DWS Workforce Standards Administrator, noted, “This year, many employers saw a 6.5% decrease in their workers’ compensation premiums. Had this law been enacted earlier, their savings would have been closer to 18%.”

“Wyoming is already an extremely business-friendly state,” said DWS Director Robin Sessions Cooley. “This lowering of Workers’ Compensation rates will keep businesses in Wyoming, ease the burden of employment costs, and help to attract more businesses to our great state.”

Unemployment Insurance Distribution Changes to Increase Employment Training Opportunities

To provide additional funds for training and on-the-job opportunities, DWS explored ways to reallocate one adjustment factor in the calculation formula of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) funding distributions.

In 2022, for the first time in the history of the UI Trust Fund, the minimum tax rate for the majority of Wyoming employers was lowered to zero percent (0%). Thanks to a healthy Federal UI Trust Fund balance, the zero percent minimum rate remained in effect for 2023 and 2024. In 2024, 16,517 Wyoming employers – or the majority – have experienced a zero percent UI tax rate.

SF0059 Federal unemployment compensation trust fund-adjustment amends the Federal UI Trust Fund distribution of contributions collected for noncharged and ineffectively charged UI benefits, allowing a greater percentage to be allocated to Workforce Development Training Funds.

SF0058 Investment of state unemployment insurance trust fund is related to the State UI Trust Fund and aims to obtain a higher rate of return on this fund while simultaneously keeping the fund solvent.   

Since its debut in 1997, interest on the State UI Trust Fund has been deposited into the Workforce Development Training Fund. The Workforce Development Training Funds are grants available to employers and include training, internships, apprenticeships, and workforce development opportunities.

Cooley added, “Incorporating changes in how tax rates and premiums are calculated or allocated for Unemployment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation is a smart way to help Wyoming’s employers reduce their rates and expand training and workforce development resources to employers and employees. I applaud the passing of these measures that will effectively help employers and employees as well as Wyoming’s economy.”