Simplifying the Return to Work Maze Why Set up Transitional Work


Many companies use transitional work programs to return temporarily injured employees to the workforce in a limited capacity until they are physically able to resume their original, full-time duties.

This is a good idea because the longer an employee is out of work, the less likely they are to return EVER. (WCxKit)
No one is suggesting cheating employees out of benefits, rather, keep your company's financial health and your employees' mental health in mind.
Sitting around on a couch and receiving partial payment really isn't good for anyone. Most people do better if they have a destination to go to each day.
Perhaps one department needs inventory taken, or another department requires a card filing system or someone to answer telephones. Companies can have recuperating employees perform these tasks, thus helping to boost productivity.
While employers have traditionally used transitional duty programs only for work injuries, many companies are adopting them for non-occupational injuries as well.
If an employee can come back at half-capacity or perform duties related to his or her job, though not the entire job, this benefits both the company and the employee.
Transitional work positions can be located in the same or a different department, or even in another company or operating division. Some employees perform transitional work program duties in the community as a volunteer in an employer-sponsored volunteer activity, or in a commercial vocational rehabilitation return-to-work center. In these instances, employers should provide transportation for the employee to the work facility to demonstrate continued involvement and concern for his or her recovery.
Forward-thinking companies may use transitional duty for maternity leave, bereavement, mental illness, addiction and some types of sick time. These companies are taking a comprehensive approach to “absence management.”
Transitional work programs have the advantage of allowing injured employees to regard themselves as “actively employed” and thus productive and valuable members of the workforce.
This is good for your employee.
When a worker is injured, the employer must maintain contact with the employee throughout the recovery period so he or she does not become “psychologically disemployed.” The phenomenon of “psychological disemployment” occurs when employees are away from the work environment for an extended period. During this period, employees begin to perceive themselves as having become “distanced” from the company — that is, the same company paying their workers compensation benefits.
These programs are also financially beneficial for the company because by keeping the employee at work, the employer realizes significant workers compensation cost reductions.
Transitional work programs also help decrease short- and long-term disability insurance or wage continuation costs for non-occupational injuries.
And although employees in a transitional work program assignment may be less than 100% productive, having an injured employee working part-time in a limited capacity is more cost-effective than having one who does not work at all.
Many companies, however, are reluctant to initiate transitional work programs. Some employers believe worker unions will not accept these programs, or the programs themselves will not be time- or cost-effective.
But evidence proves transitional work programs can be very cost-effective.
A well-managed transitional work program can result in a return-to-work rate of up to 90% for injured employees returning to the job within four days after the injury.
Significantly shortened workers compensation claims in turn result in lowered indemnity costs as the companys workers compensation loss experiences shows overall improvement.
Concerns suggest the primary barriers to setting up transitional work programs are attitudinal in nature.(WCxKit)
Therefore, to implement successfully transitional work programs, risk managers must help convince their companies, company employees and treating physicians that transitional work programs are beneficial for all concerned.
You need transitional work duties available in your workers compensation program. Find out why #WorkersComp.

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.  See for more information. Contact: or 860-553-6604.

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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

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