Preferred Worker Program

The Preferred Worker Program (PWP) is a unique part of our Return-to-Work Services. The program encourages the re-employment of injured workers and offers cost-saving incentives to employers participating in the program. Employers must maintain an account providing WSI coverage and be in good standing with WSI to participate in the program.

Benefits of a PWP

  • Premium exemption
    • Employers of a preferred worker will not be charged a premium on the preferred worker’s salary for up to 3 years.
    • This benefit is not available to the employer of injury who provides alternative work for an injured worker.
  • Wage reimbursement
    • WSI may reimburse the employer up to 50% of wages (not to exceed the state’s average weekly wage) at the time of employment start date.
    • The wage reimbursement period is not to exceed 26 consecutive weeks.
    • This benefit is not available to the employer of injury who provides alternative work for an injured worker.
    • If a worker has a catastrophic injury as defined in North Dakota Century Code § 65-05.1-06.1(2)(1), the wage subsidy duration is 52 consecutive weeks with a reimbursement rate of 75%.
  • Claim costs exemption
    • If the preferred worker sustains a new on-the-job injury during the premium exemption period, WSI will not charge the employer the claim costs.
    • This benefit is not available to the employer of injury who provides alternative work for an injured worker.
  • Reimbursement for worksite modifications
    • Upon WSI approval, participating employers or the Preferred Worker may be reimbursed for worksite modifications deemed necessary for employment or retraining.
  • On-site job analysis
    • Upon request, WSI will conduct an on-site job analysis/ergonomic assessment involving the preferred worker, at no cost to the employer.
  • Experienced workers
    • Preferred workers give employers the benefit of having an experience worker on the job.

How the program works

  • Any employer is eligible for the program if they have an account with WSI and it is in good standing. They must complete an Inquiry form to notify WSI if they are interested in participating.
  • If an employer hires a preferred worker, the employer and the preferred worker will need to complete the Preferred Worker Identification card or Eligibility card. The preferred worker will then present the card to the employer, who will mail the card to WSI.
  • After receiving the card, the Preferred Worker Coordinator will review the information for both the preferred worker and the employer.
  • If approved, WSI will generate a Preferred Worker Agreement, which outlines the premium exemption period and the responsibilities of all parties. This agreement is reviewed and signed by the employer and the preferred worker and sent back to WSI for completion.
  • A signed copy of the agreement will be sent back to the employer, along with a reimbursement form.

NOTE: The employer of injury is not eligible for program participation with its own employees unless the employer of injury has identified permanent alternate work for the injured employee. Alternate work is considered permanent work that is provided to the employee that is outside of the pre-injury position and requires the employee to perform work duties in another role.