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    Washington state authorizes new program for injured workers

    June 22, 2011

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    Tumwater, WA – Under a new program in Washington state, employers who provide temporary work to an injured employee may be reimbursed for half of the worker’s pay.

    The Stay-at-Work Program is part of a workers’ compensation bill (.pdf file) signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) on June 15.

    According to the Washington Department of Labor & Industries, keeping injured workers in light-duty jobs helps employers retain valuable workers and avoid major increases in their L&I premium rates.

    The new law also permits injured workers 55 and older to negotiate a settlement agreement with periodic payments instead of remaining in the workers’ comp system or being re-trained.

    Other parts of the law include:

    • Safety grants for innovative return-to-work programs for injured workers
    • An independent study on occupational disease claims in Washington
    • A performance audit of the workers’ comp claims management system
    • A “rainy day” fund to stabilize rate changes during economic recessions

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