Here's how

Stay at Work is one of our financial incentive programs. We reimburse employers for some of their costs when they provide temporary, light-duty jobs for workers while they heal. Offering your employee light duty work could help you avoid a compensable claim and unnecessary work disability.

Eligible employers can be reimbursed for:

  • 50% of the worker's base wages, up to $10,000; or 66 days worked in the light duty job, whichever comes first.
  • Some of the cost for training, tools, or clothing needed to do the light duty job.

Here's how:

  1. Read the Activity Prescription Form or medical records for medical restrictions provided by the attending provider due to accepted conditions.
  2. Complete the Employer's Job Description Form (F252-040-000)(Spanish) based on given restrictions using job duties or tasks you have available.
  3. Send the job description to the attending provider for their approval.
  4. Offer the light-duty job to your employee.
  5. Apply for wage and expense reimbursements online.

Send the following when you apply:

For wages

  • Employee’s work restrictions, if not in the claim file.
  • Provider-signed Employer's Job Description Form (F252-040-000)(Spanish).
  • Date you offered light duty work to your employee.
  • Copies of pay stubs and daily time-sheets.

For expenses

  • Employee’s work restrictions, if not in the claim file.
  • Provider-signed Employer's Job Description Form (F252-040-000)(Spanish).
  • Date you offered light duty work to your employee.
  • Dated, itemized receipts.
What it pays for

Wage reimbursement

If you qualify, we may reimburse you 50% of the base wages you paid your worker for light duty or transitional work. You must send your reimbursement application within 1 year after the light duty work is done.

We can reimburse wages:
  • For up to 66 days in which work was actually performed per claim. Fewer than 8 hours still counts as one day.
  • Within a consecutive 24-month period.
  • Up to $10,000 per claim.
Base wages may include:
  • Wages paid for work performed.
  • Hourly rate or base salary.
  • Overtime.
  • Shift differential, as long as the amount is part of the hourly wage or salary.
Base wages are not:
  • Tips, bonuses or commission.
  • Board, housing, or fuel.
  • Health care benefits (Including dental and vision).
  • Per diem or reimbursements for work-related expenses or other payments.
  • Vacation leave, sick leave, holiday pay, or similar benefits.

Note: A partial day counts as 1 of the 66 days of dates for reimbursement.

Remember, when you apply to submit copies of time cards and pay stubs for your employee.

Expense reimbursement

To help develop a light duty or transitional opportunity for your employee, we may reimburse up to:

  • $2,500 for equipment or tools.
  • $1,000 for training materials or training fees.
  • $400 for clothing.

All expense reimbursements must be for items used to help your worker perform the light duty or transitional position created. The program cannot reimburse for equipment, tools, training materials/fees, or clothing you regularly provide for your employees.

All equipment, training, or clothing purchases must be made on or after the date you offered the light-duty or transitional job to your employee.

Examples of potential equipment, training or clothing

Equipment or tools: $2,500 per claim

  • Specialty tools
  • Keyboard tray
  • Sit-stand desk
  • Wheeled 5 gallon bucket

Training: $1,000 per claim

  • Tuition
  • Books
  • Supplies

Clothing: $400 per claim

  • Steel-toe boots
  • Office or outdoor clothing

Remember to include copies of your dated, itemized receipts.

We can help identify opportunities for light duty modifications or equipment for your employee’s successful return to light duty or transitional work.

Eligibility

Eligibility requirements

  • Paying workers' compensation premiums to L&I (not available for self-insured employers).
  • The employer at the time of injury on the claim, or, for an occupational disease claim, either be:
    • An employer whose experience rating is affected by the allowed claim because you once employed the worker.
    • The worker’s last employer when the allowed claim was filed, even if the claim will not affect your experience rating.

How to qualify for reimbursements

We can reimburse eligible employers if:

  • We have allowed the claim and there are no open protests or appeals to the allowance.
  • You give the worker's health care provider a description of the available transitional or light-duty work that clearly indicates the physical requirements for the work.
  • You have written approval of the light-duty or transitional work approved from the worker's health care provider.
  • You offered the work to your employee.
  • You continue any health care benefits the worker had, unless these benefits are inconsistent with your current benefit program for workers.
  • You apply within 1 year of incurring the eligible expenses.
  • The dates you are asking reimbursement for are dates your employee actually worked, before the claim closed.
  • You purchased the equipment, clothing, or training expenses on or after the date you offered the light duty or transitional work.

Note: The first possible date we can reimburse you is the date you send the job description or job analysis to the worker’s attending provider.

How to request reimbursement

Use our approved Wage Reimbursement Form (F243-001-000)(Spanish) or Expense Reimbursement Form (F243-003-000)(Spanish). Be sure to send us the required documentation.

We can help identify opportunities for light duty modifications or equipment for your employee’s successful return to light duty or transitional work.

Avoid Processing Delays

Common things that delay reimbursement processing

When we receive an incomplete application this causes delays or denials. This list may help you avoid any delays or denials of your reimbursement.

Both wage and expense applications

  • Include the approved and signed job description from the attending provider, not the date the job description was communicated to the attending provider.
  • Request reimbursement dates on or after the date the attending provider received the job description.
  • Have your employee work within the medical restrictions provided by their attending provider.
    • Example - Activity Prescription Form (APF) restricts to 4 hours per day and payroll records support they only worked 4 hours.
  • Sign the application.
  • For training reimbursement, the training must be necessary to perform the light duty job. The light duty job can’t just be training.
  • Send reimbursement request within 1 year from the date the light duty was worked.
  • Be clear in how you modified the light duty job and how it is different from job of injury to meet the restrictions.

Wage applications

  • Include both payroll records and time cards.
  • Fill out the total daily wages on the application.
  • Use daily wages not hourly wage on the application.
  • Make sure the worker did not receive time loss payments for the dates requested on the reimbursement application.
  • Work must be performed on the days requested for reimbursement.
    • Example – We will not reimburse for days or hours you kept your employee on salary or days not on the time cards.
  • Dates requested on the application must be after the injury.
  • Amounts requested matches amounts on payroll records.

Expense applications

  • Date of purchase for the expense item must be on or after the date the attending approved the light duty work.
  • Include dated and itemized receipts for expenses.
  • Expense item must be necessary to do the light duty work.
Reimbursements

We can help you find opportunities for light duty modifications or equipment for your worker’s successful return to light duty or transitional work. You may receive reimbursement for some of your costs.

What can be reimbursed

We can only reimburse for hours actually worked. Workers may work full-time or part-time, but the hours must be tracked. For salaried employees, track your employee’s hours during light duty or transitional work.

We may reimburse you if your employee has more than one claim with medical restrictions and worked for you at the time of injury. However, we can’t reimburse you more than once for a day's work or for the same expense. We can also reimburse you if the employee doesn’t follow through with the light-duty or transitional job offer or related training.

What we can’t reimburse

Some things can’t be reimbursed under the Stay at Work Program:

  • Holiday pay, vacation pay, sick leave, or other similar benefits.
  • Dates your employee received time-loss compensation. Contact the claim manager if your employee worked during this time.
  • “In-house” training provided to the employee. You may receive reimbursement for necessary training materials.
  • If the employee’s work restrictions are within their regular job duties.

Health care benefits

To be eligible for reimbursement, you must continue the employee’s health care benefits if the employee received those benefits on the date of injury. An exception exists if these benefits are inconsistent with your current benefit program for all employees when the employee returns to light-duty work. For example, if you change the premium costs for all employees, they may change for the light-duty employee as well.

Forms and resources

Employer's Job Description Form (F252-040-000)(Spanish)

Wage reimbursement form (F243-001-000)(Spanish)

Expense reimbursement form (F243-003-000)(Spanish)

The Complete Stay at Work Guide for Employers (F243-005-000)

Stay at Work Brochure (F243-006-000)(Spanish)

Employer’s Return-to-Work Guide (F200-003-000)

RCW 51.32.090

WAC 296-16A-010

WAC 296-16A-020

WAC 296-16A-030

WAC 296-16A-040

WAC 296-16A-050

We can assist with identifying opportunities for light duty modifications or equipment for your employee’s successful return to light duty or transitional work.

Related Resources

Questions?

  • StayAtWork@Lni.wa.gov
  • 866-406-2482
  • 360-902-4411