Preferred Worker Program

The Preferred Worker Program 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.

Program Eligibility Requirements for Injured Workers:

  • Sustained a compensable work injury in North Dakota, which created an obstacle in the return to work process
  • Not been released for, nor returned to, regular work
  • Not refused an offer of appropriate employment with the employer of injury

To participate an injured worker must:

  • Meet the above eligibility requirements
  • Register to participate in the program by completing a registration form

If approved to participate in the program, North Dakota Workforce Safety & Insurance (WSI) will provide worker with a Preferred Worker Identification Card that lists an identification number.

Benefits of the Preferred Worker Program:

  • Return to Substantial Gainful Employment.
    • This program provides a valuable tool taking into consideration the Preferred Worker's work abilities, education, experience, and transferable skills.
  • Work Search Allowance
    • Once the vocational assessment is received and an injured worker is deemed eligible for the program, and is actively searching for employment, a work search allowance will be provided to the preferred worker in the amount of $250 to be utilized for appropriate interviewing clothing, uniforms, travel expenses, or other items deemed mandatory for employment.
    • Maximum benefit in this category is $250
  • Certification, Licensure or Related Testing Costs
    • Testing for certifications, licensure or related testing requirements for employment may be reimbursed
    • Includes physical examinations or membership fees required for the job
    • Maximum benefit in the category is $500
  • Moving Expenses
    • Relocation expenses to move the household to the locale where the preferred worker has actually located work and the distance is greater to or equal than 35 miles from the primary residence.
    • Moving expenses shall be paid in accordance with North Dakota Century Code § 65-05.1
  • Reimbursement for Lodging, Meals and Travel Expenses Relating to On-The-Job Training
    • WSI may reimburse the preferred worker or employer for lodging, meals and travel expenses (public transportation or mileage) to attend on-the-job training
    • Reimbursement shall be paid at the North Dakota state rate existing at the time of travel
  • Tools and Equipment
    • Upon WSI approval, the preferred worker may be reimbursed for tools, equipment or starter sets deemed mandatory for employment
    • Maximum benefit in this category is $2,500
  • Union Dues
    • Includes initiation fees and one month's current dues

How the program works:

  • If a worker is approved, WSI will issue an Identification Card. This card has important information as well as instructions for the Preferred Worker and potential employers.
  • The Preferred Worker may use the Identification Card with any North Dakota employer with a WSI account in good standing.
  • At the time a Preferred Worker is hired under the Preferred Worker Program, the Identification Card will be completed by the employer and returned to WSI.
  • Once approved, a Preferred Worker Agreement will be generated. The employer and the Preferred Worker must sign the agreement before the benefits are activated.
  • Once the Preferred Worker Agreement is in effect, WSI will issue the Preferred Worker a second card, which is an Eligibility Card.