The primary goal of a return-to-work program is to assist employees who sustain an injury or illness to safely return to work at the earliest medically practical time in a temporary(modified or alternate duty) assignment.
By allowing an employee to perform modified duties, the employee is allowed to remain a productive member of the workforce while he or she recuperates. Other important goals of an effective return-to-work program are as follows:
- Maintain company objectives and productivity.
- Encourage safety and prevention of injury.
- Provide reasonable work opportunities when possible to enable injured workers to return to a work level as close as possible to their pre injury productivity and earnings.
- Avoid re-injury through work assignments and effective monitoring.
- Employer should demonstrate concern for the injured worker and fulfill obligations to the employee.
- Assist the employee to return to their normal work environment in an expedient manner.
- Return the employee to a work level as close as possible to pre-injury earnings and productivity.
- Ensure that the employee’s return to work is in compliance with all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act, and the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, as appropriate and necessary.
1. Benefits to the Employer-Direct Savings
- Worker’s compensation costs are reduced when temporary income benefits cease.
- Productivity increases and human resources are used to the maximum extent.
- Medical costs are reduced and recovery time is shortened.
- Wage costs for substitute employees are saved.
2. Benefits to the Employer-Indirect Savings
- Recruitment and hiring costs for new or substitute employees can be saved.
- Work delays and business interruptions are eliminated when an experienced employee returns to work.
- Co-workers are not required to perform extra duties to compensate for the absent employee.
- Goodwill and positive image with the public and employees are created, as the employer is perceived as a caring employer.
- Communication and relations between employees and management are enhanced.
3. Benefits to the Employee
- Employees remain active and mobile when returned to the productive workforce, and recovery time is shortened.
- Full or partial wages are earned bringing the injured worker’s income closer to pre-injury wages than workers’ compensation temporary income benefits alone.
- Self esteem, morale and personal security are maintained or restored through gainful employment and a productive life style.
- Stress, boredom, and depression of the injury/illness and being out of work are reduced or eliminated.
- Physical conditioning through a work life discipline is maintained, and the chances of returning the employee to work permanently are improved.