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