Many employers will face instances in which an employee cannot return to work. This may be due to an on-the-job injury. When this occurs, it can be a primary goal to get those individuals back to work. The longer they cannot work, the longer you will pay for their lost time. This becomes costly.
Most workers' compensation programs encourage employers to get employees back to work as soon as possible. You may be able to do this through a Return to Work Program.
So, What Is It?
A Return to Work Program is a plan to get people back to work. The business establishes it. It has a simple goal of helping to get workers hurt previously on the job back to work. They might make special accommodations to help the employee adjust to work again.
It is never ideal, recommended, or warranted to encourage workers to come back to work before they have clearance to do so. That's not the goal of these programs. These programs can otherwise be very beneficial. Such programs need to benefit employers and employees.
What Are the Benefits to Employers?
Several benefits exist to having such a program.
- You suffer lower turnover. You avoid having to hire more workers to take jobs. You do not have to train new workers.
- Your experienced workers come back. They may be better able to do the job.
- You reduce your workers’ compensation costs. These programs encourage workers to come back to work sooner. This helps to save costs related to paying them when they are out of work.
- You boost employee morale. Employees want to do a good job. They want to return as soon as possible.
- You show your employees you care. They know you are willing to make adjustments to their work tasks to allow them to return. That goes a long way towards employee security.
Employees benefit as well. They have higher morale. They also continue to work with a company they are comfortable with. They gain financial security as well.
It can be complex to create a Return to Work program. Resources are available. The U.S. Department of Labor offers a toolkit to help you. Many workers’ compensation insurance agents can help, too. Some programs have very specific steps for you to take to get employees back on the job. Call an agent today with any questions at 800-286-6353.
The goal is never to have employees work who have an injury. Rather, the goal is to bring them back when they are ready to do so. Sometimes, this means changing job functions. It may mean reduced hours initially. In the long term, it is well worth it.