Each year, more than two million workers experience workplace injuries or illnesses. For small businesses that are already struggling with labor shortages, lost time due to an injury or illness can be especially challenging. Workers’ compensation insurance enables workers to get the medical care they need while providing a portion of their lost wages as they recover. Having an effective return-to-work program, which allows employees to return to a light-duty job while they recover from a work-related injury or illness, is also important and can benefit both workers and employers.
For an employer, return-to-work programs help retain skilled workers, improve productivity, and lower workers’ compensation premiums through lower claim costs—helping the business stay competitive and minimizing workflow disruptions. For a worker, reestablishing social connections with coworkers by being back on the job can boost morale, speed recovery, reduce skill loss, and provide greater financial peace of mind.
Here are five tips to consider when developing a return-to-work program:
Your workers’ compensation insurance carrier may offer return-to-work resources and services, including options for employers who are unable to accommodate injured workers’ physical restrictions. For instance, Acuity offers a transitional return-to-work program to bridge the gap between an injured worker's existing work capability and what the employer can offer by working with local non-for-profits to place workers into temporary positions.
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