Why Should I Accommodate Temporary Light Duty?

By Logan Gillihan
ROII Claim Representative

Besides being an ROII program requirement, have you ever wondered why you should accommodate temporary light duty?

While it may seem counterintuitive to spend money to have a worker do minimal modified duty work, it actually saves money long term and helps you earn larger ROII refunds. There are many benefits when accommodating temporary light duty and we've outlined a few.


Money “It’s expensive - I don’t have money to spend paying for non-productive light duty.”  

While it may seem counterintuitive to spend money to have a worker do minimal modified duty work, it actually saves money long term.

  • Time loss or loss of earning power paid to the worker by L&I will change how the claim is categorized by L&I, moving it from a medical-only claim to an indemnity claim. When a claim is categorized as medical only, L&I applies a discount to the medical portion. In many cases, the claim will have zero impact on the experience rating calculation. However, no medical discount is applied once $1 of indemnity is paid out on a claim and adds additional costs to a claim, which in most cases, increases future L&I rates and premiums.
  • Once time loss is paid, it opens the door for L&I to assign vocational services, which are contracted services outside the department. These additional services are expensive, increasing the overall cost of a claim, and may negatively impact your Experience Modification Rate (EMR). Keeping your EMR down means less money is paid to L&I and keeps you competitive when bidding for projects.
  • A Claim-Free Discount (CFD) is earned by having no indemnity claims for three consecutive years. Once this is earned, the employer would qualify for a CFD through L&I, which would apply a discount to the employer’s EMR.
  • Stay at Work Reimbursement (SAWR) benefits will reimburse the employer for materials, tools, and equipment up to $3,900 and wages up to $10,000 (or 66 working days, whichever comes first) for light duty performed by the injured worker.
  • Less claim costs = more potential ROII refund!

Mental “They don’t want to work light duty. Why not just let them sit at home and recover?”

Sitting at home to recover isn’t always the best option. 

  • Independent and unbiased studies show keeping an injured worker engaged and active in a consistent work pattern decreases their overall recovery time. This also helps prevent deconditioning.
  • While working light duty, workers are around others, which can motivate them or provide positive workplace pressure to return to their normal job of injury quicker.
  • Faster recovery for the worker is a positive for all parties and lessens the cost of the claim for the employer.
  • Less claim costs = more potential ROII refund!

Reinjury “I don’t want to bring them back, they’ll just reinjure themself, and I’ll have to pay for it!”

No matter the situation, hurt or not, there is always a risk of a new injury.

  • We obtain a Light-Duty Job Description approved by a medical professional to protect from worsening any conditions that may be present.
  • If a worker is at home unsupervised, there’s more potential for reinjury than being in a structured workplace, typically supervised.

Get ‘Er Done! “OK, now I understand. How do I do light duty?”

Always reach out to your ROII Claim Representative to have them walk you through L&I’s stringent process!

  • 1st step is completing a Light-Duty Job Description Form with light-duty tasks you have available within the worker’s restrictions.
  • 2nd step is getting the form approved by your doctor to ensure they are capable of doing the tasks without worsening or reinjuring themselves.
  • 3rd step is completing a Light-Duty Job Offer and presenting it to the worker in person or via mail within L&I’s guidelines.
  • 4th step is accommodating the light duty and assisting the worker with their recovery.
  • 5th step is don’t forget to file for the Stay at Work Reimbursement (SAWR) benefits!

Don't Worry, We Will Help

With everything, there are outliers, so please reach out to your ROII Claim Representative for assistance on how to navigate your current situation.

Hopefully, this guide has provided you with helpful information. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to your ROII Claim Representative.

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