Return to Work: Bridging the Gap

When an employee is injured on the job, the employer is suddenly faced with two main objectives: first, to ensure the employee receives prompt and appropriate medical treatment, and second, to ensure the employee returns to work as soon as is medically appropriate. Generally speaking, the longer workers are away, the less likely they are to return and the greater the costs. A light duty, transitional position can serve as a beneficial bridge back to their regular duties.

Here are a few pitfalls of extended medical absence:

  • When an employee is out for an extended period of time, they risk becoming
    physically reconditioned and losing valuable employment skills.
  • Workers may become psychologically disassociated from their identity as employees.
  • Often, out-of-work employees become clinically depressed and unmotivated to return.
  • As indemnity payments increase, claims become more expensive and the permanency award is likely to be higher.

Benefits for the employer of a Return to Work Program include:

  • Maintaining the service and skills of a trained employee
  • Improving employee retention and morale
  • Reducing loss of productivity
  • Lowering the cost of lost wage indemnity payments, which comprises up to 50 percent of the cost
  • Minimizing the negative impact the claim may have on the experience model

Benefits for your injured employee include:

  • Maintaining wage-earning power
  • Enabling a faster physical recovery
  • Promoting better emotional health