Return to Work: Are you hindering your own success?

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Believe it or not, all of you employers are the biggest resistor of all. Why is that? Studies have shown that a properly developed and implemented return to work process, which includes transitional duty positions, can have dramatic benefits such as decreased employee rehabilitation time and state specific claim cost reductions. Unfortunately, many employers are still unaware, or misinformed of the possible advantages a return to work process can have on their profitability of the company. So let’s discuss the four most commonly heard excuses employers have on why they haven’t implemented a return to work process, and examine whether they are legitimate or not.

  1. No “light duty” or “transitional duty” positions.
  2. Don’t trust them in the office 
  3. Need them 100% or not at all
  4. Concerned about being sued if re injured

All of these sound like legitimate reasons for not implementing a return to work policy, right? Well, let’s find out.

No light duty:

This can be a legitimate excuse in only few companies. Every employer should be able to modify an employees position to some degree to allow them to come back and be productive. As an employer, trying to fit a “transitional duty” position into a full time position may be unnecessary. If available, great! If not, accommodate the injured employee by having them do tasks that have been neglected, i.e. preventive maintenance. 

Don’t trust them in the office:

I have heard this excuse from more than a handful of companies so it may be more prevalent than you think. If you can’t trust your employees, why are they working for you to begin with? Remember that the employees on a modified duty assignment should have supervision over them, so they don’t get into your secret files on the assassination of JFK? Besides, put a lock on that drawer.  Seriously, if you don’t trust your employees in your office or having access to certain files, don’t place them in an assignment where they can gain access to those files or revisit your hiring process.

Need them 100% or not at all:

You are paying for the employee regardless if they are on transitional duty or sitting at home rehabilitating. Why pay for 0% productivity when you can get 50% or more? Every single one of you, including myself, cannot say we give 100% effort every hour of everyday. 

Concerned about being sued:

In today’s litigious society, people sue each other for the most incredible reasons. On it’s face, this reason is legitimate. However, with the proper knowledge of workers’ compensation law, or a google search, you will find this should be the least of your concerns. As long as you abide by the doctors restrictions and not forcing the employee to do work that is obviously out of scope of those restrictions, you cannot be sued. The only way that an employer can get a civil lawsuit brought against them in a case of workers’ compensation is if you didn’t have any insurance to begin with.

If any of these reasons seemed all to familiar, understand that it’s not too late to implement a return to work process and reap the spoils of your success. If you don’t, your competitors will, and remember “to the victor go the spoils.

Jeff is the CEO and founder of  www.jarsity.com, and is a leading expert in training small and mid size businesses in how to reduce their cost of commercial insurance, with ground breaking on-demand video training, podcasts, virtual classroom training, and on site consulting. For more information please visit www.jarsity.com

 

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