When it comes to workers compensations insurance, the costs can add up the longer an employee is away from the job. These aren't just financial - for employees out for an extended period of time, skills, relationships with coworkers and motivation could all start to decline.
In that case, how can an employer make sure that the employee can return healthy and prepared? Also, how can an employer ensure that a worker on leave even wants to? The simple answer is a return-to-work program.
According to the Public Entity Risk Institute, a RTW program helps both employers and employees. On the business side, this strategy achieves a smooth transition for the worker and increases the chances that they'll want to return by potentially allowing them to do so sooner and thus limiting the financial impact on the company. For employees, a RTW program helps maintain professional relationships and reduces the emotional toll a prolonged absence may have.
While these benefits are good for both parties, it can be tricky to pull off a RTW program successfully. Therefore, businesses across many industries may want to take a few steps - and avoid common mistakes - to decrease the costs from workers comp claims.
The elements of a RTW program
A great RTW program is made up of a lot of parts, and each piece needs to be working well for the best possible results. According to PERI, one key aspect is short-term changes to the work schedule. Depending on the injury or illness that resulted in the workers comp claim, an employee may not be able to perform his or her full duties right away. However, the company can slightly alter the required tasks to be more accommodating, which could facilitate a speedier return.
PERI noted several key participants that should comprise any RTW program:
If these participants are working together effectively, it can be easy for the employee to get back to normal following an injury or illness. Doctors can communicate closely with the employer to figure out a suitable workload, and other offices could develop a functional risk management plan to prevent future problems from happening.
The longer an employee is away from work, the more likely he or she is to never return, according to PERI. Therefore, a RTW program could be the perfect way to bring a productive member back and reduce the costs associated with workers comp insurance.
Common RTW mistakes to avoid
Does an employee need to be at full health in order to return to work? The answer is no, according to CompNewsNetwork. On the contrary, a RTW program means that injured or ill staff members can come back sooner and that workers comp insurance costs will stop rising.
However, some organizations commit several common RTW program mistakes, the news source noted.
Costs can add up for any business, especially regarding injury and illness. The better a business prepares a RTW program, the more likely these expenses will reduce - and operations can return to normal.