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
- 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.