Safety & Loss Control
4:13:19 PM CDT
Monday, March 10, 2014
Preferred Worker Program
Information for Employers
A Unique Concept:
- The Preferred Worker Program offers a unique concept as part of our return-to-work services.
- While this program is designed to encourage the re-employment of North Dakota's injured workers, it also offers cost-saving incentives to employers participating in the program.
To be eligible to participate, employers must:
- Have and maintain an account providing WSI coverage.
- Be in good standing with WSI.
NOTE: The employer of the 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.
- Premium exemption: Upon hiring a Preferred Worker, the employer will not be charged premium on the Preferred Worker's salary for up to three years. Benefit is not available to the employer of injury who provides alternate work for an injured worker.
- Wage reimbursement: WSI may reimburse the employer up to 50% of wages (not to exceed the States Average Weekly Wage) at the time of employment start date. The wage reimbursement period is not to exceed 26 consecutive weeks. Benefit is not available to the employer of injury who provides alternate work for an injured worker.
If a worker has a catastrophic injury as defined in N.D.C.C. 65-05.1-06.1 (2)(1), the wage subsidy duration is 52 consecutive weeks with a reimbursement rate of 75 percent. Benefit is not available to the employer of injury who provides alternate work for an injured worker.
- Claim costs exemption: If the Preferred Worker sustains a new on-the-job injury during the premium exemption period, WSI will not charge the claim costs to the employer. Benefit is not available to the employer of injury who provides alternate work for an injured worker.
- Reimbursement for worksite modifications: Upon WSI approval, participating employers may be reimbursed for worksite modifications.
- On-site job analysis: Upon employer request, WSI will conduct an on-site job analysis/ergonomic assessment involving the preferred worker, at no cost to the employer.
- Experienced workers: When you hire a Preferred Worker, you benefit by having an experienced worker on the job.
How the program works:
- Any employer with a WSI account in good standing is eligible for program benefits. Complete the Inquiry Form to notify WSI of your interest to participate. There is also a paper form that can be completed and mailed to WSI.
- If an employer finds a Preferred Worker who fits their employment criteria, the employer notifies the Preferred Worker Coordinator and provides the ID number of the worker and the company's information. The Preferred Worker Coordinator will then notify the worker. After interviewing the Preferred Worker, if the employer needs additional assistance to determine if the position matches the Preferred Worker's abilities, the Preferred Worker Coordinator can be contacted for assistance.
- If the employer hires the Preferred Worker, the employer and Preferred Worker will complete the Preferred Worker Identification Card (the Preferred Worker will present the card to the employer). The employer then mails the card to WSI.
- Upon receiving the card at WSI, the Preferred Worker Coordinator reviews information on 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.