Inside Retail Services News

Working together to maintain our healthy, valued workforce

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Written by Kathy Kimbel, Director of Claims Management

I am pleased to join the Retail Services subsidiary team partner with our members to maintain a healthy, productive workforce and achieve successful recoveries for your valuable workers should an unfortunate incident or accident occur. The best claims outcome for employers means the best recovery outcome for workers.

According to a national research report on frontline workers, replacing a worker costs 16% of their annual salary. Maintaining the employer/employee relationship renders many benefits to you and the worker.  When your workers in recovery can keep their wages and benefits, they feel valued and appreciated. Your generosity towards them will boost the morale of other employees. Incidents do happen, but your response matters.

There are two ways to work with your employees to return them back into the workforce as quickly and smoothly as possible – Kept on Salary Program (KOS) and the Stay at Work Program.

KOS is when you keep paying their regular pay during their recovery. This strategy will likely keep the claim as medical-only unless there is a partial permanent disability decision (PPD), helping protect your rate from being impacted by claims.

Stay at Work is a salary reimbursement program L&I administers for employers who offer light duty to workers in recovery subject to the claim’s health provider. L&I reimburses up to 50% of the worker’s salary during light duty with a $10,000 maximum limit. The Retail Services subsidiary processes applications for our members as part of the Retro program services.

As an employer, you deliberately recruited, interviewed, hired, and trained your employees to bring added value to your organization.  It took time, money, and effort to conduct those steps to get them to a productive meld into your workforce, increasing morale and camaraderie amongst team members.

Don’t leave money on the table

Medical-only claims do not impact employers’ Claims-Free Discount on workers’ compensation rates. This discount is given to employers who have no indemnity (*compensable[1]) claims for three years. In most instances, using KOS and Stay at Work will help keep your workers’ comp rate low and not lose the Claims-Free Discount, keep your workforce stable, and boost workplace morale.

In case you’re not familiar, please let me indulge in giving some additional explanation. Indemnity claims are those that L&I pays time-loss benefits or permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.  An employer cannot control whether PPD will be paid at claim closure for an injury that results in some degree of permanent impairment, but an employer can control whether time-loss benefits are paid. They can do that by accommodating work restrictions with light-duty at full pay to avoid missed work.  When time is missed, L&I will not pay time-loss benefits if the worker is kept on full salary (wages) without the use of sick, vacation, or other earned benefits. A single day of time-loss paid by L&I will cause an employer to lose an existing Claims-Free Discount, and they will then need to experience another three years without indemnity claims to regain that discount on their rates.

Being claims-free not only provides savings for your business but the whole Retrospective Rating Group as well.

Resources are available to assist you in further understanding the impact of these programs and how to put them in place. All you need do is give us a call at Washington Retail Association, and we are happy to help.  My direct phone number is (360) 300-6456, and my email is

Working together to maintain our valued workforce, we will be successful in our efforts. Thank you for trusting us with your business.

It has been extremely challenging over the past couple of years to maintain the strength and dedication of our workforce. Let’s work together to help hold on to those VALUABLE RESOURCES AS BEST WE CAN!!

[1] Claims that have time-loss, loss of earning power, partial permanent disability, total permanent disability, or death benefits are compensable.

Your total rate is made up of four composite rates that provide different types of benefits to workers are hurt on the job. The Claim-Free Discount is applied to the accident rate, the medical aid rate, and the Stay at Work rate, but not the supplemental pension rate.

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