Washington State Legislators Propose Return-to-Work Incentives

  • Published
  • 10 January 2024
  • Category
  • News

Proposed legislation in Washington state (House Bill 2127) would increase incentives for employers to return employees with temporary, work-related disabilities to work on modified duty. One of the primary objectives is to improve return-to-work outcomes.

As proposed, employers would be eligible to be reimbursed for an injured worker’s wages during a maximum 120-day period of modified duty or transitional work within a 12-month period. The current maximum is 66 days. The maximum wage subsidy paid to employers per worker would be increased from $10,000 to $25,000 for continuous employment without reductions in base wages for at least 12 months. To help injured workers maintain and build labor market readiness during recovery, funds for basic, vocational skills development are proposed.

In Washington, employers are required to enroll in the State Fund administered by the Department of Labor & Industries for workers’ compensation coverage. Companies with at least $25 million in assets, and some governmental entities, may qualify for self-insurance. The bill, which would amend existing legislation, has been referred to the legislature’s Committee on Labor and Workplace Standards. If adopted, it would become effective Jan. 1, 2025.