Why Introduce Return-to-Work Programs?
Workplace injuries, illnesses, and accidents are costly to employers, workers, and the compensation partnership. Although preventing injuries is the best way to protect workers and to control workers’ compensation costs, employers and workers need a way to manage injuries if they occur. A Return-to-Work program assists in assuring that the worker obtains prompt medical care both during the initial stages of recovery, and during the subsequent return to productive employment. Workers want to maintain employment security by returning to work after an injury as quickly as possible and respond well when employers offer them an opportunity to resume job responsibilities.
A formal Return-to-Work program facilitates the development and implementation of an inpidualized Return-to-Work plan immediately after the occurrence of the injury/illness.
A Return-to-Work program promotes communication and establishes the roles of each participant. This enables all parties access to a documented process and to help resolve any difficulties.
Return-to-Work programs benefit all partners in the compensation system:
Injured workers maintain employment security, seniority, and benefits and receive personalized and effective treatment;
Employers retain experienced employees while reducing accident and workplace costs;
Health care providers are supported in their decisions and treatment strategies;
Unions maintain the employment rights of their members; and
The workers’ compensation system can manage rising health care costs and continue to provide high levels of benefits to injured workers and their dependents.
Appendix A: Costs of Absence (PDF)
Appendix B: Itemize Benefits of a Return-To-Work Program by Stakeholders (PDF)