COLUMBUS, Ohio — During a Wednesday briefing, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he has asked the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors to approve a $5 billion dividend that would provide relief and help Ohio businesses stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives, livelihoods of so many Ohioans, hurting our citizens and certainly hurting our businesses, particularly our small businesses.”
The $5 billion dividend comes after the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation began sending out checks last week to employers from a $1.5 billion dividend.
If approved, these checks would be distributed to businesses in December of this year and it would bring the total dividend dollars for employers this year to nearly $8 billion. The checks would range from hundreds of dollars to millions of dollars for Ohio employers covered by the BWC program.
“As Ohio businesses confront the economic challenges of a COVID world, this kind of financial relief can be the difference between closing and staying open,” Lt. Governor Jon Husted said. “We don’t want Ohio businesses and the jobs they create to be a casualty of the pandemic.”
“Issuing these dividends, we believe, is very important. We've been told by many that these dividend dollars have, the ones we've issued in the past, have been lifelines. Bottom line, this is about keeping our businesses open. This is about keeping people employed in Ohio,” DeWine said.
As an example, DeWine said on average, a restaurant could see an average check for about $13,000. The average farm could see roughly $9,500.
"This [the $5 billion dividend] is going to be, for some of them [businesses], the difference between staying open and closing, but even more cases, whether somebody gets laid off or gets to keep their job," Husted said.
Private and public employers in Franklin County would receive approximately $559 million, followed by Cuyahoga County at $528 million.
As a public employer, the City of Columbus could see the largest single check at nearly $64 million.
The announcement of a $5 billion in relief funds is BWC’s third dividend of more than a billion dollars this year.