Return to Work (RTW)

What is RTW?

If there is a workplace injury that results in an employee being restricted from regular job duties, the most crucial step is to return them to work as safely and quickly as possible by offering physically appropriate modified duty. This can be accomplished by either adjusting the employee’s normal job or placing them in an entirely new position. 

Why is RTW Important?

Show you care about your employees. Most employees want to return to work. Employees who return to work get better quicker.

Retain maximum control of the claim. Minimizes time and complexity of a claim. Fraudulent claims are deterred. Prevents a disability verdict.

Minimizes costs. Maintains eligibility for an L&I Medical -Only discount and a claim-free discount on your account. Eligible for SAW reimbursements. 

Types of RTW

Full Duty Release
When an employee is given a full release to work and an informal/formal RTW is not necessary.


When an employee has claim-related restrictions and returns to light duty with a verbal agreement to accommodate. There is no legal protection from indemnity if the employee stops showing up or is terminated for cause.


When a written job offer is extended to a worker with claim-related restrictions. This protects your company from undue compensation benefits.

Conditions of RTW

  • Work must be within the physical capabilities prescribed by the doctor.
  • Work should be offered formally to protect your business, and to qualify for SAW reimbursement.
  • Work should be offered at the same wage to avoid indemnity payments.
  • Workers on modified duty should be treated the same as all other workers and be held to the same company policies as everyone else.

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