An article in the most recent issue of Safety+Health Magazine (download PDF version | link to article online) outlines the importance of employers developing a Return to Work program for employees injured on the job. This is a hot topic lately because Workers’ Compensation costs have been steadily increasing since 2011 and although many factors for the increases are out of individual employer’s hands, there’s a general consensus that developing a Return to Work program can help mitigate some of these rising costs.
Return to Work defined
A Return to Work (RTW) program is a proactive process used by an employer to help employees who have suffered work related injuries or illnesses return to their previous economic, social, and vocational status.
A win-win for both sides
Returning an employee to the job after a Workers’ Compensation claim can help an employer avoid additional premiums on their Workers’ Compensation Insurance policy. At the same time, employees benefit because they can continue to work and receive a steady paycheck. Both parties win!
Flexibility is critical
When creating and implementing a Return to Work program it’s important to understand that the returning employees do not have to be placed in their former position. Returning employees can perform other tasks approved by their medical provider, and depending on how any additional work is distributed, the employer may not need to hire additional help.
The key to success
The best Return to Work programs are those with an open dialogue between the employee and the employer. Often, employees are concerned that there may be retaliation after a Workers’ Compensation claim. It is the responsibility of the employer to communicate that they have the best interest of the employee in mind. The employer must be willing to accommodate the employee while they recover.