(RTW AB2) Employers: what the benefits of the Return to Work Program are to YOU

You answered YES, you want to learn what the benefits of the Return to Work Program are to YOU?

Would you like to learn how to navigate the simple steps of the Return to Work Program by walking through an interactive choose your own Return to Work adventure?

If so, click yes!


Click here for complete interactive flowchart in a glance.

Return-to-Work is a program from the Washington State Department of Labor Industries that helps your employees get back to work as soon as possible. This can be done by giving your employees shorter hours, doing different work and assigning light duty tasks until they are fully recovered.

What’s in it for me?

It makes sense to keep your employee connected to your restaurant or lodging establishment during recovery. The sooner you get employees back on the job, the quicker they recover and the less likely they are to slip into full disability.

It also reduces the financial impact on your workers’ compensation premiums. Less time off work means lower premiums.

With Return-to-Work you get:

  • Skilled and experienced and employees continue working for you,
  • Productivity loss is kept to a minimum,
  • Reduced training costs for new employees,
  • Opportunities to complete work that otherwise would not be done, and
  • Possibly decrease risk of re-injury.

What’s in it for my employees?

  • Decreased recovery time,
  • Focus on “ability,” not “disability,”
  • Decreased risk of re-injury,
  • A sense of job-security, and
  • Continued contact with co-workers.

What is the difference between Return-to-Work and Stay at Work?

Washington Stay at Work is a new financial incentive program that helps employers keep injured workers on the job or bring them quickly and safely back into light-duty or transition work by reimbursing employers a portion of their costs.

If you’re eligible, you can be reimbursed as much as 50 percent of the employee’s base wages paid for up to 66 days with a maximum of $10,000 per claim in a 24-month period.

If employers must make a purchases so injured workers can perform their jobs, Stay at Work may pay for training fees or materials, tools and clothing. For more details, visit (URL goes here).

How does Return-to-Work work?

Before an injury

Utilize the Washington Restaurant Association and its RETRO program has to offer to help you prevent injuries. Also check what L&I has to offer at (URL GOES HERE).

It’s always a good policy to:

  • Establish a strong safety program,
  • Write job descriptions for all positions,
  • Identify light-duty tasks and develop transitional return-to-work opportunities,
  • Make sure your employees know how Return to Work benefits them,
  • Be prepared to act quickly when an injury occurs, and
  • Report an injuries to your Return-to-Work lead.

After an injury

  • Submit your portion of the Report of Accident form to L&I.
  • Contact your injured employee and discuss solutions.
  • Monitor the claim via www.ClaimInfo.Lni.wa.gov to obtain information about the injured employee’s diagnosis, prognosis and work restrictions.
  • Review the Activity Prescription Form (APF) competed by the employee’s health-care provider.
  • Contact the claim manager for a new APF if you need updated information about your employee’s physical capabilities.
  • Contact the health care provider to review the job and any other light-duty work available to your employee, and to clarify any restrictions.
  • If you need help communicating with the provider, contact L&I.
  • Let the provider know of any tools and equipment the employee may use to perform the job, how often the employee will perform the tasks, how long the tasks will take, the physical demands required to perform the tasks, location, start date and assigned supervisor.
  • Include possible accommodations in job description.
  • Let provider know how soon you need approval.
  • The provider must approve the job description before your employee begins these duties.
  • Send the job description to your employee.
  • If the provider releases your employee to perform the work in the job description, offer your employee the job in writing.
  • Talk to your injured employee and determine if any physical restrictions will get in the way of them returning to their regular duties.
  • Based on what your employee tells you, modify your employee’s duties to meet those restrictions.
  • If you cannot modify your employee’s regular job, think about placing your employee in an alternative job during recovery.
  • Talk with your employee’s health-care provider if you or your employee have any significant questions about, or issues, with the restrictions.

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