Return to Health and Happiness

Monday December 31, 2018

"Return to work programs help you get injured employees back to their normal or modified job duties as quickly and safely as possible. Instead of paying for workers' compensation costs and lost work days, you'll save money by paying your employees their normal wages for doing light-duty work that the company needs done anyway."

Grace Peabody | gpeabody@peabodyinc.com

Benefits for Your Company

Return to work programs reduce employees’ days away from work, allow employees to recover more quickly and foster a more positive work environment.

Implementing a return to work program can benefit your company financially by:
  • Anticipating and controlling hidden costs
  • Reducing the financial impact of workplace injuries
  • Providing a proactive approach to cost containment
  • Improving your ability to manage an injury claim and any restrictions
  • Getting your experienced employees back to work, resulting in less time and money spent on recruiting and hiring
  • Helping you keep regular contact with injured employees
Your company can benefit from a return to work program in other ways, including:
  • Boosting morale
  • Keeping injured employees productive
  • Discouraging abuse
  • Demonstrating a consistent procedure
  • Establishing solid communication and organization
  • Enhancing injured employees' self-worth


Benefits for Your Employees

Return to work programs don’t just benefit your company—they benefit your employees, too. Implementing a return to work program for injured employees communicates care and concern, and shows your employees that you value their well-being and want them back on the job as soon as possible.

Your employees also benefit from a return to work program in the following ways:
  • Retaining full earning capacity
  • Maintaining a productive mindset
  • Staying on their regular work schedule
  • Avoiding dependence on a disability system
  • Having a sense of security and stability
  • Seeing management’s commitment to employees’ well-being reinforced


Where to Begin?

The below steps will help you construct an effective return to work program and create meaningful work assignments for workers injured both on and off the job. For a more complete return to work guide and sample policy, go to app.aamfund.com and download the free editable guide.

  1. Know the Facts
    Gather some initial information on return to work programs to learn about their potential for cost savings and about how to adapt programs for your company’s needs.
     
  2. Gather Data
    Ask your co-workers about their thoughts on injuries and return to work practices to determine how much work will be needed to complete your return to work program.
     
  3. Demonstrate a commitment to early return to work
    Make it clear that your program will be committed to the recovery process above all else.
     
  4. Create Goals
    Define clear objectives for your program so that employees know what to expect.
     
  5. Create a return to work team and define its responsibilities
    Appoint a team to provide leadership, set expectations and act as a communication channel for your program.
     
  6. Develop a workflow chart outlining the return to work process
    Use a workflow to identify next steps and to eliminate confusion in the return to work process.
     
  7. Develop and maintain a job bank
    Create a list of possible transitional roles for injured employees who return to work.
     
  8. Create a communication and education plan
    Make sure employees are aware of their job responsibilities both before and after an injury occurs.
     
  9. Recordkeeping
    Keep a transitional duty database so you can measure the success of your program and make adjustments when needed.
     
  10. Distribute the plan
    Make your program easily accessible to all employees, and have them sign and date acknowledgement forms to reduce your liability.
Many companies fail to implement return to work programs because they don’t have the resources or expertise to get started. Return to work programs must be organized and implemented efficiently; the AAM Work Comp Fund and Peabody Insurance can help you do just that by providing you with the resources you need to make your program a success, including educational articles, forms and policies.