Changes to vocational rules have been adopted, implementing enhanced AWA (ability to work assessment) services and providing enforcement mechanisms for actions against VRCs and vocational firms.
We wrote about the changes under consideration when they were proposed over the summer. See Vocational Recovery Services. Our firm has represented claimants in many cases where vocational services or outcomes have been at issue. Often, the issues can best be addressed early in the claim, while the worker is participating in vocational services. In other cases, litigation is pursued.
You may read the full notice about the changes to vocational services rules issued by DLI, excerpted below, here.
The WA Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) adopted the proposed changes to WAC 296-19A on Oct. 22, 2019. The new rules were first proposed in August, and go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.
The adopted rules outline vocational recovery services to align with RCW 51.32.095 which places a high priority on returning a worker to employment.
The rule changes also:
- Establish certain expectations for vocational firms.
- Clarify when VRCs and vocational firms may be subject to corrective actions or sanctions.
- Spell out what those sanctions include.
You can review the adopted rule language on DLI’s website for rule development.
DLI is developing training for vocational providers that will assist them in meeting these expectations, and applying worker centric vocational recovery best practices.