As business owners and managers, we’re ahead of the game any time we can control our overhead. So holding the line on our workers comp costs is just smart business.
In 2011 the Legislature gave us a new tool in the Stay at Work Program, which helps defray the costs of putting an injured worker back to work quicker.
Reimbursements from the Stay at Work program:
You’ve probably seen the commercials where the warehouse guy is decorating cakes while he recovers from an on-the-job injury. Did you think to yourself, “Well, how nice that he magically knew how to do that, but how in the heck does that happen in the real world?”
What you may not know about the Stay at Work Program is that it can turn your warehouse guy into a cake decorator, a CNC operator into a data entry clerk, or a waitress into a bookkeeping assistant!
No, it’s not magic. It comes from a reimbursement program for training, tools and equipment, and even clothing.
Examples of Stay at Work reimbursements:
Here are some examples of Stay at Work reimbursements to prompt your creative thinking:
Imagine a CNC machinist who injures her foot on the job, limiting her ability to stand for long periods of time. She is probably computer literate and able to do desk work. She may, however, not be familiar with the software your company uses and need some training on it.
- L&I will reimburse you for up to $1,000 for tuition, books or supplies related to her training.
Maybe your waiter has hurt his back carrying a heavy tray. While his back is recovering, your business could use an extra pair of hands in the bookkeeping department. But in order to sit for prolonged periods of time, his doctor is requiring him to have a special ergonomic chair.
- L&I will reimburse you for up to $2,500 for the cost of tools or equipment.
Even if he needs some extra training to pick up Excel and/or QuickBooks, you could also be reimbursed for those training costs in addition to the equipment you also had to purchase.
The clothing reimbursement program:
There’s also a clothing reimbursement program for up to $400.
Your injured CNC machinist may not have office appropriate clothing, creating an issue for both you and her. L&I has a solution for that as well.
They will reimburse for up to $400 for an injured worker to purchase the special clothing items needed for a light duty position, just as long as it’s not clothing that you usually provide for your workers.
That’s definitely a win/win!
The next time you’re wondering what light duty work you can provide for your injured worker, put your thinking cap on and get creative. With L&I’s help, you may very well find your employee has some hidden talents you can tap while they’re recuperating.