Waiting periods: What to watch for

Bringing injured employees back to work before your state’s waiting period ends is one of the most important things you can do to control future premiums.

But figuring out when the waiting period ends can be complicated. SFM’s claims representatives often get asked questions like, “Do weekends count?” or “What about partial days?” The answer: it depends on the state.


  • Bringing an employee back to work before the state’s waiting period ends will keep the claim “medical only,” which means claim costs will be reduced by 70 percent when determining your experience modification factor (e-mod).
  • If an employee is injured on a Friday, you might only have until Monday to bring the employee back to work. Use the chart below to determine whether that’s the case in your state.
  • Need ideas for light-duty, transitional work? Visit SFM’s transitional work post where you’ll find lists of ideas by industry.

Here’s a quick guide to the rules on waiting periods in SFM’s core states:







Number of days before waiting period ends






Number of days before employee is retroactively paid wage-loss benefits from the first day of the waiting period

10 days

7 days

14 days

6 weeks

7 days

In each of the states listed above, days the employee is not scheduled to work (such as weekends) generally count toward the waiting period. There is an important exception. In Wisconsin, Sundays do not count unless the employee was scheduled to work.

Wisconsin is also the only state of the five where the waiting period does not start until the first full day of missed work. In the other four states, the waiting period starts on the first full or partial day of missed work.

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