Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Oct 08, 2015

Stay at Work reimbursement process changes coming to Washington in October.

Workers’ Comp 

The Washington Legislature is making it easier and faster for companies to apply for wage and other reimbursements online beginning in mid-October.

The Washington Legislature is making it easier and faster for companies to apply for wage and other reimbursements online beginning in mid-October. This is an enhancement of the “Stay at Work Program” approved in 2011, which demonstrates the Legislature’s strong support for assisting employers in keeping their workers safe and healthy through early return to work.

By applying for reimbursement online employers who are using the Stay at Work Program will be able to get their application to staff sooner, reducing delays and making the review process more efficient.

Also beginning mid-October, employer reimbursement checks and letters of explanation will arrive in two separate envelopes. This is a state-wide effort to consolidate systems and improve efficiency; payment checks will now be mailed from the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services, while letters and orders will still be sent by L&I. 

The Stay at Work Program is a financial incentive that encourages employers to bring their injured workers back to light-duty or transitional work by reimbursing them for some of their costs. This allows employers to put valued employees back to work quickly and safely, as well as benefit the bottom line on costs of the worker’s compensation claim. It also reduces a company’s time-loss exposure, premiums, and long-term disability rates.

Studies have shown that someone off work for 6 months only has a 50% chance of returning to work. The longer an employee is off work, the less likely it is that he/she will return to work at all.

Time loss compensation benefits are the highest developed costs of any worker’s compensation claim, at about $4.50 for every dollar spent. A time loss claim can also result in highly inflated medical costs; avoiding even $1 in time loss helps employers to control their L&I premiums and earn bigger retro refunds if enrolled with a group.

For more information regarding Stay at Work:
• Visit: www.lni.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Insurance/injury/StayAtWork
• Email: StayAtWORK@lni.wa.gov
• Or contact Vigilant @ 425-349-4477.

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