Category Archives: Return to Work

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DLI’s New Stay at Work Program

DLI Notice of Workshops on the Stay at Work Program

The following was released by DLI as a public notice:

The Department of Labor & Industries (DLI) has reimbursed more than 1,000 employers almost $5.5 million to help retain injured workers in light duty jobs, but many businesses around the state remain uncertain how the program can benefit them.  To help, L&I is holding workshops across the state to explain the new Stay at Work program, which provides up to half of a worker’s base wages for up to 66 days or $10,000 per claim if the employer places their injured workers in light-duty or transitional work. 

The free, 90-minute workshops provide an overview of the program, explain how to apply for the reimbursements, the requirements, benefits, and how participation can help reduce claim costs for participating businesses. To sign up for a workshop or learn more about the program, visit www.StayatWork.Lni.wa.gov, or call 1-866-406-2482.

The current workshop schedule is:

  • Yakima – Sept. 11 from 9 -10:30 a.m. and 2 – 3:30 p.m., 15 W. Yakima Ave., Suite 100.
  • Everett – Sept. 13, from 10 ­- 11:30 a.m., 729 100th St. SE.
  • Kelso – Oct. 8, from 9 – 10:30 a.m. and 2 – 3:30 p.m., 711 Vine St.  
  • Everett – Nov. 8, from 10 – 11:30 a.m., 729 100th St. SE.
  • Spokane – Dec. 11, 9 – 10:30 a.m. and 2 – 3:30 p.m., 901 N. Monroe St., Suite 100.
  • Tukwila – Dec. 13 from 10 – 11:30 a.m., 12806 Gateway Drive South.

Ultimately, Stay at Work is projected to save $32 million annually by keeping workers on the job and reducing the chance of long-term disability. And getting injured workers out of their homes and back in the workplace has additional benefits – studies show that people off work longer than six months have only a 50 percent chance of ever returning to their job, while those who get back to work enjoy faster recovery times and improved lifelong health.

 

Trust your instincts – if things don’t feel right, they likely are not right.  Seek guidance prior to accepting or declining an offer of light-duty employment.

 

DLI Information for Injured Workers

The following is excerpted from the DLI website section on this topic:

The Department of Labor and Industries will reimburse your employer 50% of your base wages if they are able to find an eligible light-duty job for you. DLI will also cover expenses such as training and tools related to the light-duty job. If your employer offers you a job that your doctor approves and you choose not to accept it, you won’t be eligible to receive time-loss compensation. However, you aren’t required to accept any job that would exceed the restrictions set by your doctor.

 

DLI offers this cheery video – one of three – on the topic of the Stay at Work Program:

 

 

Our Perspective

As the DLI notice, above, indicates, it seems that many employers are not aware of the benefits available to them under this relatively new program, including significant incentives to offer accommodation to injured workers. 

We have seen both success stories and nightmares surrounding light-duty job offers from employers.  When applied appropriately and administered with a sense of caring, a light-duty job can be beneficial to an injured worker.  Returning to work can improve morale, maintain healthcare benefits for the worker and/or their families, and assist with a gradual return to full duties.  However, some offers of light-duty work are engineered to drive a worker to quit after accepting the job, which can remove the worker’s eligibility for time loss compensation.  Or, in other cases, the job may start out as light duty but the tasks requested may slide back towards regular duty levels, either intentionally or through habit, leading to increased symptoms or new injuries.

Trust your instincts – if things don’t feel right, they likely are not right.  Seek guidance prior to accepting or declining an offer of light-duty employment.