Return-to-Work Programs

What is a return-to-work program and how do I establish a program for my company?

A return-to-work program enables an injured or disabled employee to return to their job duties as soon as they are able (as determined by their doctor). The employee’s original job duties may be modified through light duty or accommodations or even a temporary position elsewhere in the company.

Getting injured employees back in the workplace, even in a reduced role or capacity, will reduce the cost of the claim. Which will ultimately reduce the cost of your workers’ compensation insurance.

There are a few important steps to establishing an effective return-to-work program.

  • To get started, foster a receptive culture across your leadership and employee ranks that support the need for a return-to-work program.
  • Plan to work with your worker’s compensation carrier to establish relationships with medical providers who will take the time to understand your business and will support your need for a return-to-work program.
  • Take time to update job descriptions to accurately reflect the physical requirements of each job and work with your medical provider to pre-determine light or modified duties that an injured employee can perform.
  • Create plans for temporary assignments an injured employee can perform that are outside their normal duties.

Remember the goal is get them back in the workplace as soon as possible. It is recommended you review the program to make sure it is in support of state and federal laws including OSHA, ADA and FMLA.

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