How to Save Money on Workers’ Comp Claims Using Washington’s “Stay-at-Work” Program


No matter if you’re a business owner, HR professional, or supervisor, your workdays are busy. Usually it’s hard enough to check off everything on your to-do list, let alone create or modify a job to accommodate an injured employee.

That’s why Washington state pays employers (in the form of rebates) to bring their injured employees back to light-duty work. It’s so important to bring employees back to work quickly, instead of time-loss or Kept-on-Salary being paid, that it’s worth paying an extra incentive. The alternatives, time-loss and Kept-on-Salary, are only meant to be used as a bridge to return-to-work, not a long-term solution.


How to save (or earn!) money on workers’ comp claims

Imagine you have an injured employee who is unable to return to her regular job of injury for 6 weeks (30 working days). She normally earns $280/day and the medical costs on the claim total $3,000.


Here are three ways the claim could impact your company:

1)    Washington state pays time-loss

Your workers’ comp account will be charged $10,256 (plus reserves) for up to three years. If your company had the Claim-Free Discount, that will be lost. Expect to pay higher premiums for five upcoming years, with rates increasing up to 25 percent per year for three years.

2)    Employer pays Kept-on-Salary (KOS)

You’ve paid $8,400 in Kept-on-Salary, but you’ve protected your L&I rates (premiums) and Claim-free discount. Good work! You’ll earn that investment back in lower premiums over the next five years.

3)    Employer offers Light-Duty job

Finally, let’s say you KOS for two days, but then bring your injured employee back to a light-duty position that’s been modified to fit the work restrictions indicated by the provider.

Now your injured employee is back on the job, not at home. More often than not, this is an aid to recovery for your injured employee. Plus, your rates (premiums) and claim-free discount are safe and Washington state can rebate you nearly $4,000 in Stay-at-Work benefits. Great work!


Light-duty jobs take some time to coordinate and monitor while the employee has work restrictions. But, by choosing example 3 above, your company will have made about $3,300 in rebates (after KOS costs) to make up for it. Plus, additional rebates are available for equipment, clothing, or training necessary to make the light-duty position a success.


Our Nine Ways to Earn Thousands with Washington Stay-at-Work guide will get you started towards building a light-duty program that’s flexible and ready to implement as soon as a workplace injury occurs. Plus, your Approach Retro Coordinator will walk you through the process each time, with job descriptions and other resources you can use.


Contact us as soon as you have a claim, so we can minimize your injured employee’s time off work and maximize your savings on the claim.