Stay at work legislation

New legislation will affect return-to-work procedures following an
industrial injury or occupational disease. Once an industrial insurance
claim is allowed, the State of Washington will now provide an incentive to
employers to return the worker to work as quickly as possible to a light
duty or transitional job. The State can reimburse employers up to 50% of the
wages paid in the light duty job, in addition to costs for training,
equipment or accommodations. The worker’s attending physician must approve
the new job before a worker is required to return to work at the new
position. The benefit payable to the employer for up to 50% of the worker’s
wages may be available to the employer for up to 66 days and cannot exceed
$10,000. Other limits may apply for cost reimbursement. The employer must
submit a description of the job to the attending physician for approval and
the employer may not change the job duties once the worker returns to work.
While the legislation has been signed by the Governor, the Department of
Labor and Industries is currently operating in its rule-making capacity. The
Department has set up four dates for public comment to address its
rule-making concerning this employer incentive program. If you would like to
attend the public comment meetings, they are scheduled for January 10, 2012
in Tumwater, WA at 10:00 A.M., Room S117, L&I headquarters, 7273 Linderson
Way, Tumwater; January 12, 2012 in Spokane at 1:00 PM, Center Place Event
Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane; January 13, 2012 in Vancouver at
10:00 A.M., Red Lion at the Quay, 100 Columbia St., Vancouver; and January
17, 2012 in Shoreline at 10:00 A.M., Aurora Room, Shoreline Conference
Center, 18560 – 1st Ave. NE, Shoreline.