Employer Resources:

 

Preferred Worker Program

 

The Preferred Worker Program is a program for qualified State Fund or self-insured employers who hire a certified preferred worker for a job that that meets the injured worker’s restrictions.  The benefits may include:

 

• Reimbursement of 50% of base wages for up to 66 working days or up to $10,000

• Up to $2,500 for tools and equipment

• Up to $400 for worker clothing

 

A worker may be certified as "preferred worker” if he/she has an open claim for an industrial injury or occupational disease that results in a permanent disability that may be a substantial obstacle to employment.

 

 If an injured worker qualifies for Preferred Worker Status (PWS), the Vocational Counselor may complete and submit a PWS application.  If you are interested in obtaining more information about PWS you can either contact D’Aboy Career Horizons or the Department of Labor & Industries.

 

The Preferred Worker Program has been recently expanded as of 1/1/2016. For more information click here.

Permanent disability is defined as:

 

• a physical or mental condition, caused by the industrial injury or occupational disease which is fixed and stable, and from which, within the limits of medical probability, further recovery is not expected; and

• the attending provider or other appropriate specialist within the medical provider network has documented work restrictions that prevent the worker from returning to the job of injury; and

• the work restrictions are supported by medical findings appropriate to the worker's physical or mental condition.

"Substantial obstacle to employment" means 1 or more of the following limitations apply:

• The worker is unable to perform at least 1 of the essential functions of the job of injury.

• L&I finds the worker eligible for vocational retraining.

• The worker is permanently restricted to a lower category of work, for example, a worker previously able to perform heavy work is permanently restricted to sedentary or light work.

 

The following employers may be eligible to benefit from the preferred worker program if they employ a certified preferred worker in a job confirmed as approved by the injured worker's health care provider and L&I's credentialed vocational rehabilitation professional:

 

• A Washington State fund employer with an industrial insurance account in good standing with L&I, as outlined in Chapter 296-17-31004(4) WAC; or

• A self-insured employer who employs a worker who is certified as a preferred worker under a State Fund claim.

 

The following employers may be eligible to benefit from the preferred worker program if they employ a certified preferred worker in a job confirmed as approved by the injured worker's health care provider and L&I's credentialed vocational rehabilitation professional:

 

• A Washington State fund employer with an industrial insurance account in good standing with L&I, as outlined in Chapter 296-17-31004(4) WAC; or

• A self-insured employer who employs a worker who is certified as a preferred worker under a State Fund claim.

An employer must employ the certified preferred worker in a job that

• will continue to be available into the foreseeable future, and

• is confirmed as consistent with the worker’s permanent work restrictions by

 

The final determination will be made by L&I's credentialed vocational rehabilitation professional.

 

 

The employer will not be eligible for preferred worker incentives if the offered job is:

 

• The job of injury with minor or no modifications.

• Work that is beyond the worker's medical restrictions.

• Work that requires training beyond the usual and customary training provided by the employer to similar employees.

• On-the-job training.

In no case will the employer receive any preferred worker benefits until all required documentation is received by L&I. The employer must submit to L&I:

• A copy of the completed job analysis or L&I's job description form, approved by the worker's health care provider, and

• The job offer, signed by the worker, and

• L&I's Preferred Worker Request form, available on L&I's website, completed and signed by the employer.

 

STAY AT WORK

 

The Stay at Work Program is a program aimed at encouraging employers to bring back injured workers to work in light duty or transitional positions.  The Department of Labor & Industries offers some financial incentives for the employer:

 

• 50% of the base wages they pay to the injured worker.

• Some of the cost of training, tools or clothing the worker needs to do the light-duty or transitional work.

 

To find out more about requirements, click here.

 

Here are some of the requirements for employer eligibility:

 

• Be paying workers' compensation premiums to L&I. (Not available for self-insured employers.)

• Be the employer at the time of injury on the claim, or, for an occupational disease claim, either:

• Give the worker's health care provider a description of the available transitional or light-duty work that clearly indicates the physical requirements for the work.

• Have written approval of the light-duty or transitional work approved from the worker's health care provider.

• Continue any health care benefits the worker had, unless these benefits are inconsistent with the employer's current benefit program for workers.

• Apply within 1 year of incurring the eligible expenses.

 

The following are some examples of what the Stay at Work Program will reimburse employers for:

 

1. Wage reimbursement:

 

50% of your injured worker's base wages for the light-duty or transitional work:

 

2. Expense reimbursement:

 

If, because of the injured worker's unique needs, the employer must make a purchase so the worker can perform the light-duty or transitional work, Stay at Work may pay for the following:

 

Example: Tuition, books, or supplies.

Example: Special wrench or keyboard tray.

Example: Steel-toed boots.

 

*It can't be a cost the employer incurs when hiring other workers to do the same job.

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