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DLI Can Pick Up the Tab if Hiring Students Raises Work Comp Rates Commissioner Swanson Urges Businesses to Hire Students this Summer

As schools let out for summer vacation, many students will enter the workforce as interns, apprentices, full-time workers, and seasonal employees. A potential hindrance to students finding employment is employers' fear that younger staff will raise their workers' compensation insurance rates.

The Department of Labor and Industry reminds employers that this situation is unlikely, and a program under the DLI can reimburse businesses should they incur higher rates due to younger students on the payroll.

"The chances of rising workers' compensation rates due to hiring a student is extremely low and should not dissuade employers when making hiring decisions. Thanks to Representative Harvey's legislation, businesses can be assured that even if rates go up, DLI has a program to reimburse the costs associated with hiring a student." Commissioner Sarah Swanson said, "Students fill crucial staffing roles year-round and, while providing value to their employer, have the opportunity to gain lifelong skills, start a career, and learn valuable lessons that can be used in every facet of their life."

"By hiring students, Montana businesses are able to keep their doors open and help students gain valuable workforce skills. In the rare case workers' compensation rates increase by hiring a student, Montana DLI is able to reimburse these additional costs. The government and private sectors recognize how critical it is to get these students into our workforce," said Montana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd O’Hair.

This program was created in 2019 under House Bill 732, sponsored by Representative Derek Harvey (D-Butte).

“On-the-job training is critical for helping young people find good-paying careers, but too often, barriers have gotten in the way of that step up into the workforce. With this partnership between state government and business, more Montanans will have access to the opportunities they need to build a bright financial future for themselves,” said Representative Derek Harvey.

For questions, business owners can call DLI at 406-444-2840 and can apply for reimbursement or learn more about the program by visiting Work-Based Learning (

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