Preferred Worker Program in Washington State L&I

The L&I Preferred Worker Program helps employ workers who cannot return to their old job and their old employer because of their job injury.

Employers Benefit The Most From The Preferred Worker Program.

  1. L&I picks up the employer’s claim costs of any new injury or occupational disease to the preferred worker for the 3 year certification period.
  2. State Fund employers who subsequently injure a preferred worker are not charged claim costs nor penalized with a higher experience rating.
  3. Self Insured employers are reimbursed claim costs if they injure a preferred worker.
  4. Workers certified as preferred workers qualify their employers for even more benefits.  The hiring employer could be reimbursed for:
    • Half (50%) the base wage paid to the preferred worker, up to 66 days or $10,000 within a consecutive 24-month period.
    • Up to $2,500 for tools and equipment.
    • Up to $400 for worker clothing

Injured Worker’s Who Qualify As A Preferred Worker May Benefit.

  1. It is a benefit that a preferred worker will be cheaper to hire and thus more valuable to a new employer who understands the Preferred Worker Program.
  2. It is not a benefit that a preferred worker is an injured worker and may be covertly discriminated against because of this status. Said another way, the favored status of a preferred worker may not be viewed favorably by some employers.
  3. It is not a benefit if two “related employers” scam you. Some employers might use the program to permanently end medical care and time loss, while shifting the risk of future injury to a “free claim”.
  4. It is not a benefit that a preferred worker may be less safe on the new job, because their employer pays nothing extra if they injure that worker.

How Injured Workers Qualify As A Preferred Worker.

  1. Injured workers State Fund claim must be open or recently closed (within the last 60 days).
  2. Injured worker must have medically certified permanent restrictions preventing a return to the job of injury. See Preferred Worker Request Form, Part A.

How Employers Hire a Preferred Worker.

  1. Complete a Preferred Worker Request Form. Part B.
  2. Complete and submit an intent to hire preferred worker form within 60 days of hire.

Need More Information?

  1. See RCW 51.32.095(4)
  2. Talk to your vocational counselor
  3. Contact L&I preferred worker desk 1-800-845-2634
  4. Contact us

Are You Developmentally Disabled?

If so it may be easier for your to qualify as a preferred worker. Contact L&I for details. 1-800-845-2634

How to get a Free Consultation and Case Evaluation.

There are 4 different ways you can get a free initial consultation. Take your choice:

  1. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form below
  2. Call / text: (206) 343-1988
  3. Email us:

We usually reply to forms, texts, and emails within 1 business day.

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Chris Sharpe

Meet Chris Sharpe

Christopher Sharpe is the go to attorney for injured persons. His law firm is helpful, honest, and knowledgeable about workers' compensation and personal injury law in the State of Washington. Chris has been helping injured Washington State workers for over 40 years. He has built a successful law practice by thoroughly educating, honestly helping, and successfully representing workers throughout Washington State.

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