You know it’s bound to happen, one of your employees gets hurt while on the job. Some of your employees may be tempted to take advantage of workers’ compensation benefits. You can reduce the risk of paying more benefits than necessary by implementing a program that offers a good incentive to return to work. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it costs employers $225.8 billion annually in the US or $1,685 per employee productivity losses linked to absenteeism.
The number of employees who take off more than seven work days because of an injury or illness stretch into the millions; which then employers are left to deal with the inflated cost of workers’ compensation premiums, lost productivity and disability benefits.
When one of your employees must take time off work due to an injury or illness, a doctor should regularly examine that individual. These exams will determine when the employee is ready to return to his or her previous tasks. It may be possible to get the individual back to work sooner; consider an employee who is injured while lifting some boxes in a warehouse. The doctor will examine the employee to determine when he or she is ready to lift boxes again and if the employee has a back injury, it could be several weeks before they will be back to lifting boxes again. However, if the employer were to offer the injured employee an easier temporary job in the office, the employee may be able to return to work much sooner.
To make something like this happen, a special return program should be in place and should have the following features:
- Addresses the environmental, physical, knowledge and emotional factors that may prevent employees from returning to work.
- Makes the transition from temporary work to full-time work easier for employees.
- Focuses on the employee’s abilities instead of their disabilities.
- Improves the employee’s morale by increasing the incentives for returning to work and staying safe.
- Maintain productivity by lowering the number of lost work days.
A program that include these aspects, should help speed up the recovery process for the employee. Recent studies have shown that 50% of employees who stay out of work for more than six months will never return to their job. If the employee stays out longer than a year, there’s a 10% chance that they will return to the job. Getting your employees back to work as quickly as possible is the best way to bring feelings of accomplishment to the injured employee. Getting them back to work will also lessen the fiscal impact on the employee and his or her family. A comprehensive back to work program should include the following elements:
- Provisions that require meaningful tasks instead of simply busy work.
- Criteria for employee eligibility.
- Provide alternative work assignments that benefit the employer and employee.
- Describe the duties that the injured employee will be performing.
- Allow for situations where the employee may have to take additional time for medical reasons after they return to work.
- Set time frames and conditions for the temporary assignments.
Having a return program in place not only saves employers money it has other benefits; which are listed below:
- Keeps valuable employees and obtain production from recovering workers.
- Helps makes communication happen between employees, employers and doctors instead of just between employees and doctors.
- Makes it difficult for employees to stay of work longer and unnecessarily take advantage of the benefits.
- Reduces the need to recruit, hire and train new employees.
- Decrease the length of time for disability payments to the injured employee.
- Shows concern for the injured employee from the employer.
- Reduces the employer’s cost of compensation claims, which helps the employer look better to the insurance companies offering competitive pricing.
Employers everywhere, know that workers’ compensation consumes a sizable portion of overall personnel costs. Having a solid return program for their employees, employers can reduce the costs and many others. In addition, it is easier to keep employees happy. To learn more about this type of program, give the workers’ compensation experts at Frimark/Keller & Associates a call today at 847-907-4520.