Are you fully prepared for when an employee becomes injured on the job or experiences an illness? It can negatively impact morale and productivity when workplace conditions prevent workers from performing their regular tasks. Assisting employees with the challenges of returning to work may require accommodations to support a healthy transition. A Return to Work (RTW) program sets up guidelines for a lighter workload until the employee can continue their regular duties.
These programs provide financial security to injured workers and benefit your business by helping workers retain valuable skills, improving compliance, and reducing disability claims. Implementing an RTW program can significantly minimize the need for hiring and training temporary workers, or permanent replacements. Employees are more likely to return to work if their absence was of short duration.
All team members must be supportive of this program. Leadership should establish buy-in by expressing the program’s importance and its goal (helping injured or ill workers get back on their feet). Everyone should be well aware of the program through newsletters, informational meetings, posters, and emails.
Keep in mind that showing genuine empathy for workers faced with difficult times will build trust and help them know their contributions are valued.
Detailed Job Descriptions
When setting up modified job duties, establish the requirements of a position with a fully able-bodied employee. A healthcare provider will need to determine when someone can return to regular job duties based on a clear job description.
Task modifications can vary widely, from temporarily assigning someone to another department to allowing the employee to work from home on a revised schedule. You may also consider offering additional resources for carrying out duties, such as mechanical assistance for lifting or providing more breaks to rest or receive treatments. The purpose is to help workers still make meaningful contributions while they’re transitioning to their full duties.
The Importance of Compliance
There are state and federal law requirements for all RTW programs. You must adhere to the ADA, the Family Medical Leave Act, OSHA standards.
Injured workers may legally qualify for disability when their abilities to walk, lift, bend, or work have been limited. Employers may not discriminate against these individuals when they are unable to perform their normal job functions. The ADA mandates that these workers are provided with reasonable accommodations.
Appoint a staff member to oversee the program, ensure compliance, and mentor participants. Your appointed staff member should coordinate transitions with injured or ill employees and their healthcare providers to determine the best modifications for everyone.
Communication is Key
It is crucial to stay in touch with the injured or ill employee. If an injury occurred on the job, it’s vital to help them file a workers’ compensation claim and obtain benefits without allowing too much time to pass. Show care and ensure the person that their job is secure and may return to work once medically able.
Speak with them about the potential time frame for returning and assure them that their work is valued.
Upon their return, continue offering support and check in on their progress. Go over options in your return to work program and how job functions can be adjusted slowly and appropriately until they can resume full capacity.
Safety As a Priority
If an injury occurred at work, it is crucial to take immediate efforts ensuring it never happens again. Develop a safety committee and establish a culture of safety to protect workers and your bottom line. Assess your unique risks to explore ways to protect your business.
About Sine Insurance
At Sine Insurance Group, we are dedicated to providing you with custom-tailored insurance policies to protect your assets. Our comprehensive packages have been expertly crafted to serve St. Louis and the surrounding areas for the past 25 years. For more information about our products, contact us today at (855) 700-0889.