Preferred Worker

Save money by hiring experienced workers

The Preferred Worker Program provides an opportunity for employers to save money when hiring experienced, highly-qualified workers.

Worker qualifications

L&I may certify an employee who suffers a work-related injury or occupational disease and isn't able to return to the job of injury as a "preferred workers".

A preferred worker must:

  • Have an open claim(s) with L&I,
    or
  • Have a claim that wasn't closed more than 60 days ago.
  • Need to change employers to obtain suitable work.
  • Be recommended for preferred worker status by a vocational counselor,
    and
  • Be ready to seek work or on-the-job training with a "for-profit" employer.

Employers: Wonder what you could save in a year if you hired a preferred worker? Our Preferred Worker Calculations table can help you answer this question.

Certification period

When L&I grants preferred worker status to an injured worker:

  • The worker will be issued a certification number.
  • The duration of certification can't be more than 36 months.
  • No extensions are permitted.

A worker can be "decertified" (the clock can be temporarily stopped during the 36-month period) if file documentation supports that the worker is unable to look for work during all or part of the time that their claim is open. When the worker is able to look for work the certification period can be restarted.

Hiring procedures

For an employer to qualify for preferred worker benefits the:

  • Preferred worker must have a valid preferred worker certification number.
  • Employer must provide a job description of the new job.
  • Employer must request the program's benefits by submitting an Intent to Hire Preferred Worker (F280‑010‑000) (ITH) form within 60 days of hire date. Job offers must be consistent with the worker's medical restrictions as reported by the worker.
  • Employer can expedite the ITH and the job description by faxing to 360‑902‑5035. Don't mail the form if you fax it.

Claim cost relief for employers

Insured through L&I

As an employer with industrial insurance coverage from L&I, you won't be charged for any rating penalties or injury costs as long as:

  • The preferred worker you hired suffers an on-the-job injury or occupational disease and it is:
    • After the approved hiring date,
      and
    • Within that preferred worker's certification period.

Self-insured

As a self-insured employer the Second Injury Fund will reimburse your claim costs after the claim has been closed.

Premium relief for employers

You don't pay Accident Fund or Medical Aid premiums:

  • After the approved hiring date,
    and
  • Within that preferred worker's certification period,
    or
  • Until that preferred worker leaves that employment, whichever comes first.

You and the preferred worker will pay only the supplemental pension premium.

If an injury occurs

Insured through L&I

If a preferred worker suffers a work-related injury or disease:

  • After the approved hiring date,
    and
  • Within that preferred worker's certification period.

The medical provider attending the injured preferred worker should provide you with the employer's portion of the Report of Industrial Injury or Occupational Disease form.

You should then:

  • Immediately complete and submit the employer's portion to L&I,
    or
  • If you don't receive the employer's portion of the Report of Industrial Injury or Occupational Disease form, contact the attending medical provider and request it.

Self-insured

If a preferred worker suffers a work-related injury or disease:

  • After the hiring date,
    and
  • Within that preferred worker's certification period.

You are responsible for managing the claim and paying all benefits.

When a claim is submitted for closure:

  • Notify the Self-Insurance Section that the claim is for a preferred worker,
    and
  • Request reimbursement of claim costs.

Questions about claim cost reimbursement should be directed to L&I's Self-Insurance Section at 360‑902‑6901.

If a preferred worker leaves

If a preferred worker's employment is terminated after the date of hire and before the end of certification period, the employer should send written notification to:

Employer Services
Department of Labor and Industries
PO Box 44144
Olympia, WA 98504-4144.

Forms, publications, and contact information

Forms

Publications

Contact us

Vocational Services
Department of Labor and Industries
PO Box 44324
Olympia, WA 98504-4324.

800-845-2634
360-902-6763
.

For employer codes and rates please call the 800 number listed above.

Looking for work?

See WorkSource Washington (www.wa.gov) for a list of job openings from Employment Security.

If you wish to share the Preferred Worker benefit, remember that within 60 days of your start date, your new employer will need to submit:

Best of luck in your job search!

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