The Benefits of Establishing a Solid Return-to-Work Policy

How establishing a return-to-work program will help your business’s bottom line.

As an employer, one of the last things that you want to deal with is an employee injury.  Unfortunately, inadequate handling of workplace injuries can mean that employees are absent far longer than necessary.  To make matters worse, the longer an employee is out of the workplace, the less likely they are to ever return.  Fortunately, you can quickly reintegrate injured employees to your workplace by establishing a strong return-to-work program.  Not only do these programs improve the chance of employee recovery, but they can also save you money on your business insurance.  Here’s what you need to know about return-to-work plans.

  • What is a return-to-work program?

A return-to-work program is a plan to reintroduce injured employees back into the workplace as soon as possible.  These plans require the injured employee, the attending medical professional, and the employer to work together to create a tailored strategy for getting the employee back to work.  These plans identify the employee’s existing skill set as well as their current limitations.  From there, the employee is given modified responsibilities that expand as their health improves.  Ultimately, return-to-work programs look to bring injured employees back to work in a timely, safe, and cost-efficient manner.

  • How do these programs get injured employees back faster?

As previously mentioned, return-to-work programs reintroduce injured employees to the workplace by allowing them to perform tasks modified to meet their current medical limitations.  Because employees are not expected to return and immediately resume their old responsibilities, they do not need to take as much time to recover.  Instead, they can continue to work as their recovery progresses.

  • How do these programs save your business money?

Businesses that have solid return-to-work programs in place tend to save money on their business insurance.  Specifically, they benefit from lower workers compensation insurance premiums.  This is because the amount of time an injured employee spends away from the workplace affects how insurers perceive your business’s risk.  The longer an employee is out, the more serious the injury claim is considered.  So, if your business has a history of drawn-out employee injury absences, then insurers will consider your business high-risk and charge you more for workers compensation coverage.  Because return-to-work programs get injured employees back to work much faster, injury claims seem less serious.  This helps classify your business as lower risk and will help you access lower coverage costs.

  • How do you establish a return-to-work program at your business?

Establishing a return-to-work program requires several steps.  First, you should create a return-to-work policy and tell your employees that you offer this beneficial program.  Your policy should formally state your business’s dedication to supporting injured employees and retaining them through their rehabilitation.  Next, you should appoint a claims coordinator and help them develop a plan for reporting workers compensation claims, maintaining contact with involved parties (employee, employer, claims adjuster, medical professionals, etc.).  You also need to select a primary care clinic that will evaluate your injured employees and work with you to identify medical restrictions and create rehabilitation plans.  Finally, you need to identify transitional jobs—modified positions that medically compromised employees can fill without risk of re-injury or physical strain.

This is how return-to-work programs can help you save money on your business insurance.  Do you need help with implementing a return-to-work program at your business?  If so, then contact the experts at CIA Insurance and Risk Management for assistance today.

Post written by Mike Rutkowski, Advisor | Commercial Risk Management (CRM)

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