• Spencer Kohler


The Washington State Department Labor and Industries (L&I) has a unique program called “Stay at Work” that is designed to help employees stay on the job after an injury claim has been filed. The program is geared to meeting both the needs of injured employees and employers that are worried about managing all of the costs associated with an employee injury claim.

What is “Stay at Work”?

“Stay at Work” is a financial incentive program that reimburses employers for some of the costs of transitioning an injured worker to temporary, light-duty jobs while they recover from their injuries. Eligible employers are able to get reimbursed from L&I for eligible expenses.

The program was created to deal with the issues faced by both employers and employees when an injured employee is kept off the job of injury for months at a time.

The employee, even with worker’s compensation, payments can see as much as a 30% to 40% reduction in their take-home pay. Also, the longer an employee is out of work, the more difficult their recovery becomes and the harder it is to get back to work.

“Stay at Work” encourages employers to find temporary light-duty jobs for injured employees so that they can continue to participate in the workplace. This improves their health outcomes and allows them to avoid a reduction in their take-home pay.

How Does “Stay at Work” Help Employers?

The “Stay at Work” program also significantly helps employers. Instead of dealing with all of the costs associated with an injury claim, the employer is able to be reimbursed:

  • 50% of injured worker’s base wages for light-duty or transitional work

  • Expense reimbursement for training, tools, and clothing

This program not only reduces the costs the employer faces in dealing with an injury claim, it allows the employer to still take advantage of the skills and knowledge of the injured employee while they heal. It also makes it more likely that the employee will be able to return to full duty.

Key Eligibility Requirements

Some of the key eligibility requirements for the “Stay at Work” program include:

  • Pay workers compensation premiums to L&I

  • By the employer at the time of the injury on the claim, or have your experience rating affected by the claim

  • Have written approval for light-duty or transitional work from the employee’s health care provider

  • Apply for reimbursement of eligible expenses within one year of incurring the expenses

The “Stay at Work” program gives employers the chance to get some help with the often-excessive costs of managing an employee injury claim. The program is good for employers and employees.

Spencer Kohler – ARM, CBO,  Consolidar

 provided this Stay at Work article. 

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