L&I Claim Court Decision Prompts Changes to the Stay at Work Program in Washington State
What is the Stay at Work program?
In short, the WA-SAW program helps employers avoid compensation claims. From my point of view, it is designed specifically to provide employers with cost-effective indicators. However, this is a short-sighted programme. In practice, it ignores a few real concerns for applicants about workplace accidents. In addition, it often brings more lasting damage than good.
In my opinion, the important point is that L’I has little control over employers benefiting from WA-SAW. Back at work, many customers who have been involved in an accident in the workplace face a hostile work environment and over-critical performance. Many victims of workplace accidents report that they find it difficult to follow the treatment schedule, which slows down progress. However, these questions are largely ignored. In fact, claimants for compensation to employees are usually blamed and often punished for various problems that arise. For example, when an employer accuses an employee of having an easy job, it doesn’t work. This situation may result in the termination of compensation for lost time.
Make the program fairer for those who receive compensation
L’I recently announced changes to the WA-SAW program following a ruling by the Court of Appeal. Previously, employers could request compensation from the date of sending a brief description of the post to the doctor to review the claims of L’I for verification. The court ruled that this was inappropriate. Employers can now only claim reimbursement from the day the on-call service provider approves light work.
I personally believe that this is a step in the right direction. However, this is not enough. In order for employers to be eligible for WA-SAW benefits, the occupational injury claimant must: (a) be limited and unable to perform their normal work due to the circumstances surrounding the application, and (b) be released for medical reasons so that the attending physician can perform minor activities. The description of the easy task and the consent of the current supplier should be in writing.
Personal point of view
If done correctly and for the right reasons, the WA-SAW program can benefit both employers and employees.