Work-related disability cases impact employers in the form of higher workers’ compensation costs and a loss of productivity of employees and work units. When an employee is ultimately unable to return to work, the employer has the additional costs of recruiting, training, and educating a new employee. What can an employer do to prevent an injured or disabled worker from becoming another disability statistic? A Return-to-Work (RTW) program may be the key to affecting a successful outcome.
Designed to reduce the duration of time off work after an injury, a RTW program can result in a savings of workers’ compensation claim costs as well as a reduction of the indirect costs to an employer of lost productivity. In addition to cost reduction, the business goals of the successful RTW program are to maintain productivity and comply with statutory regulations such as ADA, FMLA, and the workers’ compensation statutes.
Effective communication between the employer, employee, doctors, and rehabilitation providers, can assist in facilitating job accommodations to allow the employee to be successful and avoid re-injury. Providing modified work tasks, work stations, or equipment, reduced time or schedule changes, or different job duties in the same or different department are commonly used tools that can restore the injured worker to a work routine and keep them engaged within the company.
For an employee, a job provides financial rewards, but many people derive as much satisfaction from the social relationships, as well as feeling valued and challenged. It is important to note that while an employer culture promoting an environment of empathy and trust can enhance worker motivation, it cannot guarantee success when the goal of returning to the workplace is not shared by the employee. Nevertheless, appropriately outlining goals, expectations, and the role of each party in the process through a RTW program and maintaining open lines of communication can assist in laying the groundwork for success.
For more information on how a Return-to-Work program can help you, visit the United States Department of Labor Return-to-Work Toolkit or contact an Old Republic Risk Management Account Executive at (262) 797-3400 or www.orrm.com.
The Old Republic Risk Management Claim Department provides oversight of the claims handled by the Third Party Administrators (TPAs) selected by our Insureds. Claim Specialists liaise with the TPA Adjusters and Insureds to provide guidance on the management of serious claims. The Claim Department is based out of our corporate office in Brookfield, WI.