Newsline No. 01-07
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January 4, 2007  

Division of Workers' Compensation reminds small employers about requirements for reimbursement of workplace modification expenses

The Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) has begun receiving reimbursement requests from employers who've modified a workplace to bring an injured employee back to the job. As a reminder, employers with 50 or fewer workers who modify a workplace to bring an employee injured on or after Jan. 1, 2004 back to the job can be reimbursed for up to $2,500 in expenses incurred for the modifications.

The law requires an employer to modify the workplace to qualify for reimbursement. Employers can be reimbursed up to $2,500 for physical changes made to the workplace to accommodate a permanently disabled employee. Employers who make physical modifications that allow a temporarily disabled employee to return to the original workplace while they are recovering from their injury can be reimbursed for up to $1,250 in expenses.

In either case, the law requires the modifications be prescribed by a physician or reasonably required by restrictions set forth in a medical report. Within those parameters, reimbursement will be provided for modifications to the worksite, equipment, furniture or tools.

As a condition of reimbursement, the expenditure shall not have been paid or covered by the employer's insurer or any source of funding other than the employer. The employer must submit a "Request for Reimbursement of Accommodation Expenses" (Form DWC AD 10005) along with copies of all pertinent medical reports that contain the work restrictions being accommodated, any other documentation supporting the request and all receipts for modification expenses.

Full details of the program are set out in the return to work regulations. Employers with questions may call (510) 286-7100 and ask to speak to a representative of the return to work program.