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Help your employees return to work

Getting employees back to work after an injury is in every employer’s best interest. Here’s why: 

  • Failure to bring back an injured worker puts you at risk for litigation.
  • An employee not returning to work means lost productivity.
  • If an employee does not return to work, you may have to pay indemnity benefits or lost wages.
  • Indemnity affects your experience modification factor and can drive up insurance costs.
  • Insurance companies may not want to insure you if you do not have a return-to-work program and choose to offer settlements to injured employees instead.
  • Establishing a return-to-work program minimizes the financial impact on your company and the emotional impact on your affected employees.


Return-to-work programs help keep your workplace positive and productive:

  • Start with a good emergency and communication plan so everyone involved knows their roles and responsibilities when injuries happen.
  • Inform employees about the protocol: who to contact, where to go and what forms will need to be filled out.
  • Include these people in a return-to-work plan:
  • Injured employee
  • Supervisor
  • Healthcare provider
  • Risk manager
  • Human resources officer
  • Union or worker representative
  • Workers’ compensation claims manager
  • Inform additional co-workers of any changes to work roles and encourage collaboration as a way to make the transition period successful.
  • Get your employee back to work sooner rather than later (with the doctor’s approval) to facilitate your employee’s psychological and physical recovery.
  • Make sincere and regular contact – in addition to promptly handling documents and procedures – to make sure your employee does not feel abandoned.
  • Include a short-term modified job description to accommodate the doctor’s orders, as well as a proposed progression for returning to full duties.
  • Follow up with the doctor at regular intervals to confirm restrictions and get approval of job modifications.
  • Identify metrics to gauge success of your overall return-to-work policy. Examples may include reducing the number of lost work days, indemnity benefit costs or injured employee resignations.
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