Disability Management: Return to Work Plans

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When an employee is injured and can no longer work, it can cost an organization both in lost time and compensation. What the organization does to aid the employee determines not only when the employee will return to work but also whether they will return at all. Workers often are hesitant to return to work due to various reasons; pain, fear of re-injury, prolonged activity, job performance anxiety, lack of communication, and job dissatisfaction. An organizations Return-to-Work (RTW) team is crucial in getting an injured employee back as quickly as possible.

The Importance of Returning to Work

It is important for the employee to return to work as quickly as possible. Returning to work helps the employee both financially and psychologically. An employee away from work for an extended period of time can lose their job skills and may feel alienated from their coworkers. People need to feel productive and like they are contributing to society, working is linked to self worth. The longer an injured employee is away from work the lower their self esteem can become. Another benefit of returning to work is that the employee will typically heal faster than an employee that remains at home. The length of time away from work also affects their likelihood of return.

It is important for the organization to get injured employees back to work as quickly as possible. It affects not only the organizations bottom line but their culture as well. A speedy return to work also lowers the costs associated with injuries, minimizes the disruption, retains organizational knowledge and improves morale and employee relations.

Facilitating the Return-to-Work Plan

Contact the employee.

The injured employee should be contacted by a member of the RTW Team within 24 hours of the injury. A quick response shows the employers concern for their employees and sets the tone for future communication.

Communicate with the Employee’s Doctor.

Establishing a...
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