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Preferred Worker Program

Who to contact

Find out who to contact about the Preferred Worker Program.

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Intro to Preferred Worker Program

Learn more about the State of Oregon Preferred Worker Program.

5 minutes

The Preferred Worker Program (PWP) is sponsored by the State of Oregon and overseen by the Workers' Compensation Division (WCD). It helps injured workers return to the workforce after an injury that prohibits them from returning to their job. It also provides employers with benefits and worksite modifications to accomodate permanent restrictions.

The program is funded by worker and employer contributions to the Workers' Benefit Fund. Preferred workers can offer cost-saving options to Oregon employers who hire them. There are no out-of-pocket or premium costs to employers who access benefits.

Through the Preferred Worker Program, employers can receive financial benefits for providing a job for a worker with permanent disabilities.

Who to contact

If you're an employer who has recently hired a preferred worker, or a worker trying to use your benefits with a new employer, please contact the State of Oregon's Preferred Worker Program directly.

Preferred Worker Program
phone: 503.947.7588 or 800.445.3948
email: pwp.oregon@dcbs.oregon.gov

If you're an employer-at-injury, or a worker staying with your employer-at-injury, please contact SAIF's liaison for PWP.

Melanie Pfaff, Re-employment benefits coordinator and vocational coordinator
phone: 503.373.8257
email: melpfa@saif.com

Types of assistance

Find out more in this brochure (Spanish).

  • Premium exemption: Saves the employer the costs of work comp insurance premiums and premium assessments on the PW for three years. Be sure to apply within 90 days of hiring PW directly with PWP!
  • Claim cost reimbursement: Must use premium exemption (PE) to get this. If the PW has a workers' comp claim during the 3-year PE period, new claims costs are covered by the Workers' Comp Division.
  • Wage subsidy: Employers can get reimbursed 50% of the PW’s wages for 183 days, or just over 6 months, up to a maximum of $40,000.
  • Employment purchases: See the PWP fact sheet above for 11 benefit categories, worth over $25,000 combined.
  • Worksite modification: A great tool to help workers overcome injury-caused restrictions and return to modified work, up to $35,000 per use, and up to $50,000 total.

All program benefits are subject to review and approval by the Oregon Workers' Compensation Division. To learn more about this program contact the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services or Melanie Pfaff, RTW benefits coordinator at SAIF, at 503.373.8257.