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The Preferred Worker Program is designed to encourage the re-employment of North Dakota's injured employees. It offers cost-saving incentives to participating employers and benefits for preferred workers.

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INJURED EMPLOYEE ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible to participate in the PWP, an injured employee must have:

  • Sustained a compensable work injury in North Dakota, resulting in an inability to return to their pre-injury position
  • Completed the vocational rehabilitation process
  • Not released to pre-injury occupation
  • Not refused an offer of appropriate employment with the employer of injury
  • Meet the above eligibility requirements
  • Register to participate in the program by completing a registration form
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EMPLOYER ELIGIBILITY

North Dakota Employers

  • Be in good standing with WSI
  • Have and maintain an account providing WSI coverage

Note: The employer of injury is eligible for program participation if the injured employee has returned to work in a permanent, alternate position. Alternate employment is a new position with pre-injury employer.

Out-of-State Employers

  • Out-of-state employers must submit proof of worker’s compensation insurance at the time the ID card is submitted
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INJURED EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
  • Work Search Allowance:  When the injured employee is eligible and actively searching for employment, a work search allowance will be provided in the amount of $250. This allowance may be used for appropriate clothing for interviews, uniforms, travel expenses, or other needed items. Maximum benefit is $250
  • Certification, Licensure or Related Testing Costs: Testing for certifications, licensure or related testing requirements for employment may be reimbursed. This includes physical examinations or membership fees required for the job. Maximum benefit is $2,000
  • 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: Upon WSI approval, the preferred worker or employer my be reimbursed for lodging, meals and travel expenses (public transportation or mileage) to attend required employment training. Reimbursement is paid at North Dakota's state rate at the time of travel
  • Tools and Equipment: Upon WSI approval, the preferred worker or employer may be reimbursed for tools, equipment or starter sets mandatory for employment. Maximum benefit is $2,500
  • Job Analysis / Ergonomic Assessment: An on-site job analysis and/or ergonomic assessment may be conducted at no cost to the employer.
  • Worksite Modification Reimbursement: With WSI approval, costs for modifications necessary for employment or retraining may be covered
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EMPLOYER BENEFITS
  • Premium Exemption: Employers may not be assessed premiums on a preferred worker’s salary for up to 3 years. (This benefit is not available to the employer of injury or out-of-state employers.)
  • Wage Reimbursement: WSI may reimburse the employer up to 50% of gross wages (not to exceed North Dakota’s average weekly wage) at the time of employment start date; the wage reimbursement period is 26 consecutive weeks. If a preferred worker has a catastrophic injury as defined in North Dakota Century Code § 65-05.1-06.1(2)(1), reimbursement is 75% of gross wages for 52 consecutive weeks. (This benefit is not available to employer of injury.)
  • Claim Cost Exemption: If the preferred worker sustains a new compensable injury during the 3-year premium exemption period, WSI may not charge claim costs to the employer. (This benefit is not available to the employer of injury or out-of-state employers.)
  • Worksite Modification Reimbursement: WSI may approve costs for modifications necessary for employment or retraining.
  • On-site job analysis and/or ergonomic assessment: May be conducted at no cost to the employer.
  • Experienced Workers: Preferred workers give employers the benefit of having an experienced worker on the job
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EMPLOYER LIST

WSI thanks all North Dakota employers participating in the Preferred Worker Program. This list is to provide injured employees with a starting point in their search to return to work; do not limit your work search to only this list. The list is updated as new employers join the program. Any employer that has a current account with WSI is eligible for the program.

Bismarck

Fargo

Bottineau

  • MTI

Mohall

  • MTI

Rugby

  • MTI

Wahpeton

Grafton

  • MTI
  • Marvin Windows

Watford City

Grand Forks

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EMPLOYMENT LINKS

These links are for informational purposes only and are separate from WSI.

Job/Career Fair Links               

Job Resources             

North Dakota Classified Job Ads

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

...For Injured Employees

Q:  I have lost my Preferred Worker Card. Can I get a new card issued to me?

A:  Yes. You may request a replacement Identification Card from the Preferred Worker Program Coordinator. WSI will issue a new card within a few days of your request.

Q:  If I am approved for the Preferred Worker Program and become a participant, do I have to use these benefits or tell my employer that I am a Preferred Worker?

A:  To use the program's benefits, you must fill out your Preferred Worker Identification Card with your employer. If, for some reason, you choose not to use these benefits after becoming enrolled in the program, you do not have to use them. You do not have to let your employer know you are a Preferred Worker either. The choice is yours.

Q:  I haven't had to look for a job in a long time. Can the Preferred Worker Program help me with my job-seeking skills?

A:  Yes, we offer services to you. On our website, workforcesafety.com, you will find useful information that may be helpful to you while searching for employment. You will also find Job Seeking Skills Workshops in various North Dakota areas.

Q:  I will be working for an employer outside of North Dakota. Are there any program benefits available to those employers?

A:  Yes. Out-of-state employers may be eligible for the Wage Reimbursement benefit upon submitting proof of worker’s compensation insurance when the ID card is submitted to WSI.

Q:  I found a job I think could be a good match. My employer thinks it is possible but isn't sure if it will work out. Can the Preferred Worker Program help with this?

A:  Yes. The Preferred Worker Program can pay for a professional to perform a job analysis (upon request) to determine appropriate job placement. We can make suggestions, but the decision will ultimately be between you and your employer.

Q:  Can the Preferred Worker Program benefits be used for part-time employment?

A:  Yes. Benefits are available for workers who are part-time, temporary, or full-time.

Q:  An employer would like to hire me, but with my history of injuries, he states he cannot take the risk. How can the Preferred Worker Program help in this situation?

A:  This is the very situation for which the program was designed. In this case, the best incentive for the employer is the (3) year Claim Cost Exemption. Also, emphasize the value of the premium exemption. For some employers, depending on the type of work, this can be very beneficial. Lastly, you need to become an advocate for yourself. Ask the employer if you can try the job to see if it’s a good match. The employer has nothing to lose and possibly may gain a new worker.

...For Employers

Q:  How is the Preferred Worker Program funded?

A:  It is funded by what is known as the general fund. This fund is established to absorb charges not charged to the employers' accounts.

Q:  Can I hire back one of my employees as a preferred worker?

A:  The employer of injury is eligible for program participation and select benefits if the injured employee has returned to work in a permanent, alternate position. Alternate employment is considered permanent work provided to the employee outside the pre-injury job and requires the employee to perform work duties in another role.

Q:  Can the Preferred Worker Program benefits be used for part-time employment?

A:  Yes. Benefits are available for workers who are part-time, temporary, or full-time.

Q:  How can I address the issue of work restrictions and appropriateness of accommodations with a preferred worker applicant?

A:  Preferred workers should be able to confirm if they can perform the essential job functions required for the position based on the information outlined in the job description. Preferred workers have been educated on the program's benefits and are encouraged to discuss them with potential employers. 

Q:  How can my business be added to the Employer list?

A:  Contact a Preferred Worker Program representative and provide your business information. Preferred Workers are encouraged to reference this list of employers when searching for employment.

 

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