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Stay at Work Washington L&I ‘s Unique Program – Guest Post


Stay at Work -How Washington State Companies Can Be Reimbursed

Up to 50% of an Injured Worker’s Light DutyWages

Stay at Work sounds like a great unique program for employers and injured employees.

Two months ago,  Mr. Kohler (see below)  contacted me.  He wanted to see if I would be interested in posting a guest post on the unique state of Washington’s Workers Compensation system.

graphic of worker lifting improperly stay at work
Public License – Wellcome Foundation, UK

I admit that I do not allow very many guest posts.   Washington’s L&I (think monopolistic) is unto itself on many aspects of Workers Compensation.   Mr. Kohler made me an offer that I could not refuse.  Below is the article he wrote verbatim.


The Washington State Department Labor and Industries (L&I) has a unique program called “Stay at Work” that is designed to help employees stay on the job after an injury claim has been filed. The program is geared to meeting both the needs of injured employees and employers that are worried about managing all of the costs associated with an employee injury claim.

What is “Stay at Work”?

“Stay at Work” is a financial incentive program that reimburses employers for some of the costs of transitioning an injured worker to temporary, light-duty jobs while they recover from their injuries. Eligible employers are able to get reimbursed from L&I for eligible expenses.

The program was created to deal with the issues faced by both employers and employees when an injured employee is kept off the job of injury for months at a time.

The employee, even with worker’s compensation, payments can see as much as a 30% to 40% reduction in their take-home pay. Also, the longer an employee is out of work, the more difficult their recovery becomes and the harder it is to get back to work.

“Stay at Work” encourages employers to find temporary light-duty jobs for injured employees so that they can continue to participate in the workplace. This improves their health outcomes and allows them to avoid a reduction in their take-home pay.

How Does “Stay at Work” Help Employers?

Woman Stay at Work Sitting on Wooden Planks
by StockUnlimited

The “Stay at Work” program also significantly helps employers. Instead of dealing with all of the costs associated with an injury claim, the employer is able to be reimbursed:

  • 50% of injured worker’s base wages for light-duty or transitional work
  • Expense reimbursement for training, tools, and clothing

This program not only reduces the costs the employer faces in dealing with an injury claim, it allows the employer to still take advantage of the skills and knowledge of the injured employee while they heal. It also makes it more likely that the employee will be able to return to full duty.

Key Eligibility Requirements

Some of the key eligibility requirements for the “Stay at Work” program include:

  • Pay workers compensation premiums to L&I
  • By the employer at the time of the injury on the claim, or have your experience rating affected by the claim
  • Have written approval for light-duty or transitional work from the employee’s health care provider
  • Apply for reimbursement of eligible expenses within one year of incurring the expenses

The “Stay at Work” program gives employers the chance to get some help with the often-excessive costs of managing an employee injury claim. The program is good for employers and employees.

Spencer Kohler – ARM, V.P. Marketing,  Risk Finance/Washington Manufacturers Council   provided this Stay at Work article.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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