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    Danae Hammitt   

What is a preferred worker?

A preferred worker is a person who has work skills, work experience, and a desire to return to work after an on-the-job injury.

A person is designated a preferred worker because he or she has some measure of permanent disability due to an on-the-job injury. As a result of the injury, the preferred worker is unable to return to regular work, at least not without modification.

Sometimes their limitations are minimal and do not create obstacles in performing most jobs. Sometimes they have significant restrictions, and worksite modification money available to their employer can be used to overcome the preferred worker's injury-caused limitations.

Preferred workers have identification cards and can show you they are eligible to offer Preferred Worker Program benefits.

And what are Preferred Worker Program Benefits?
All Preferred Worker Program benefits are subject to review and approval by the Workers' Compensation Division.

Premium Exemption: An employer does not pay workers' compensation insurance premiums or premium assessments on a preferred worker for up to three years from the date the worker starts work.

Claim Cost Reimbursement: This protects the employer from the costs of a new workers' compensation claim if the preferred worker has a new injury during the premium exemption period.

Obtained Employment Purchases: These are items the worker is required to purchase for the job. These items must be required of all workers doing the job for which the worker is employed and must be items not normally provided by the employer. Purchases may include:

  • Tuition, books and fees for instruction to update existing skills ($1,000 maximum)

  • Tools and equipment mandatory for the job, such as tool starter sets ($2,500 maximum)

  • Clothing required for the job ($400 maximum)

  • Moving expenses for a job within Oregon more than 50 miles from the worker's primary residence

  • Worksite creation costs to help employer create a new job for the worker

  • Miscellaneous assistance is available to help a worker find, accept, or retain employment but does not include a vehicle purchase.

Wage Subsidy: The employer receives 50 percent wage reimbursement for the preferred worker for six months. Wage subsidy may be used two times, once each for two different jobs.

Worksite Modification: Modifications can include tools, equipment, and/or worksite redesign needed to overcome injury-caused limitations so the worker can do the job. They may be used once with one employer and once with a second employer or twice with the same employer if there is a job change. ($25,000 maximum on the claim that qualified the worker for assistance)

If you have questions about this webpage, please contact Danae Hammitt, 503-947-7018.