Return-to-work strategies help offices in many ways
January 13, 2023
By Michael Ray, Safety and Loss Control Manager
Return-to-work policy engagement is highly recommended by KACo. We urge members to consider adopting a policy, and we offer strategies to help navigate some of the most relevant processes.
The benefits of engaging injured workers in transitional duty by using return-to-work policies is an important strategy. As a reminder, KACo has an example policy on our website that can be downloaded and made to be your own.
Return-to-work policy engagement is highly recommended by KACo. We urge members to consider adopting a policy, and we offer the following strategies to help you navigate some of the most relevant processes.
- Job offers should always be made in writing and should thoroughly describe the offered position to ensure the hire is fit for all duties.
- When the job is offered, send a formal job offer package along with the offer letter. Make sure it includes all the benefits the potential employee is eligible for, including return-to-work policies and procedures so there is no confusion later.
- When developing a temporary assignment for someone returning to work, find useful tasks that are not covered by other areas of the company. The goal is not to take work away from another employee.
- Create a written job description and job analysis for all transitional duty jobs. These jobs should match physical capabilities with the work that needs to be done so that they are both useful and appropriate.
- Hold employees working temporary assignments or transitional duty jobs to the same work rules as other employees. This prevents devaluation of the job by employees and sends the message that they are still contributing to the company.
- Develop and maintain a close working relationship with medical providers. Make sure they understand your business so they can help you evaluate return-to-work policies, procedures and cases.
- For all employees assigned to temporary work, monitor their medical health regularly. Make sure they are doing well physically and, if they are making progress, find out from their physician if they can move forward to more demanding tasks.
- Develop and maintain a close working relationship with claims adjusters. Make sure they know your return-to-work program, and ask them for advice and suggestions to improve it.
- Resist the temptation to turn temporary job assignments into indirect punishment. Understand that the work is therapy for the returning employee; make sure to stay positive and keep the work meaningful.
- For return-to-work program employees, stay in frequent touch from the time of the return-to-work offer letter until they return to full working status. You should be accessible for them to be sure their return to work is progressing smoothly.
- Develop a return-to-work plan for every injury that results in lost time. Communicate with the employee’s doctor so you understand when and how they can progress to various work tasks.
Talk with your claims or loss control specialist to learn more.