Man with cast on arm working from home in front of laptop

    Perfecting the return-to-work process

    Authored by Bukaty Companies on April 23, 2024

    Despite all the safeguards an organization may have in place, injuries on the clock can still occur. In the unfortunate event that a job-related injury is serious enough to impact an employee’s ability to perform at normal capacity, it is important for employers to have proper return-to-work programs in place. Successfully executed programs can result in less disruption for employees and employers, lower workers’ compensation expenditure and increase employee retention.

    Preparedness is key in guiding the return-to-work process. Review all job descriptions and identify where positions can and cannot be modified. This preparation lays the groundwork for pinpointing response plans quickly and efficiently. If an injury occurs and it is determined that a position alteration is not possible, transitional or light-duty positions can be created. These temporary positions vary from an employee’s regular duties but allow for the employee to return in some capacity. Regulations on temporary duties vary by state. For example, Missouri employers may alter employee shifts or job locations.

    While standardizing a program brings efficiency to the process, the timeline and exact specifications of an injured employee’s return to work will vary on a case-by-case basis. Timelines should be led by the employee’s physician. Medical personnel will establish an employee’s physical limitations during their treatment and recovery. Management can then determine accommodations that fit within the employee’s medical guidelines.

    A strong return-to-work policy is also a pipeline to maintaining a healthy experience modification factor (e-mod). An e-mod is a rating of an organization’s loss experience over a certain period compared to industry loss values. This value can directly impact an employer's workers' compensation coverage rate. The higher the score, the higher the perceived risk, the higher the employer’s workers’ compensation rate. By establishing a return-to-work program employers lend themselves towards a lower e-mod and a minimized financial impact in the event of a claim.

    Without a well-ordered return-to-work program, employers leave themselves vulnerable to less than favorable injury and claim outcomes. To learn more about creating and maintaining strong return-to-work programs, contact the experts at Bukaty Companies Property & Casualty.

    Blog Category: Compliance