One year after the implementation of its new Stay at Work program, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has reimbursed over 560 employers with $2.5 million. All total this has helped 1,200 employees who were injured at work to remain on the job, making SAW one of the fastest growing workers’ compensation programs in the country.
In a recent announcement by Beth Dupre, Assistant Director for L&I Insurance Services, the press release stated that: “Stay at Work is a program that offers something for everyone including business, injured workers, and medical providers. Everyone wins with this program.”
Governor Chris Gregoire signed the Stay at Work Program into law on June 15, 2011. Under the Stay at Work legislation, employers who reintegrate their injured workers into light-duty or “transitional” job tasks can earn up to half of their base wages for up to two months per claim, or $10,000.
The aim is to help 1,000 injured workers each quarter. In the long term, the program is expected to save $32 million each year by keeping workers in their jobs and lowering the chance of long-term disability. Research shows that individuals who are away from work longer than six months have less than a 50% chance of ever returning to their original job; on the other hand, getting injured workers back in action can actually accelerate their recovery and enhance lifelong health. Seattle Workers’ Compensation Attorneys agree that the program is a great benefit to those injured at work.
For each workers compensation claim that qualifies for the Stay at Work Program, businesses can be reimbursed $1,000 for training and fees, $2,500 for tools, and $400 for uniforms used for the light-duty job for that employee. If you need help with the application process, contact a Washington Employment Attorney for assistance.
Not only can employers receive reimbursement for part of their costs, but they also win by maintaining a skilled employee in their workforce, and avoid the cost of hiring and training someone new. The Stay at Work Program also provides an “intangible” benefit through boosted workplace morale when an injured worker returns back on staff after an accident.
Stay at Work was created to help control the costs of workers’ compensation premiums, which in turn lowers overall costs for businesses and workers across Washington State. Employers can apply for reimbursements for injuries as far back as June 15, 2011 (the date of the program’s implementation), and have one year from the starting date of the injured worker’s light duty to apply for reimbursements. If you have questions or need assistance with a claim, contact a Seattle work injury lawyer.
Each year L&I processes nearly 100,000 workers’ compensation claims for nearly 160,000 employers in Washington State. Visit www.StayatWork.Lni.wa.gov for more information, or call 1-866-406-2482.