No employer wants to see their employees get injured or experience illness. After all, employees who take off of work due to an injury or illness are often less likely to return. And while the ultimate goal is for such employees to be able to resume their job duties safely—and as soon as possible—sometimes, recovery means taking it slow and gradually easing back into a normal work routine.

That’s where return-to-work (RTW) programs can help. RTW programs enable employees to work in a temporary, limited or light-duty capacity until they’re able to resume their normal job activities. By doing so, employers don’t have to lose employees to injuries or illnesses, and employees can retain their income, social connections and self-esteem.

Employers can benefit from RTW programs in numerous ways. Through these programs, they’re able to retain skilled employees, reduce short- and long-term disability claims, and obtain a lower workers’ compensation experience modification factor—positively affecting their premium costs and ability to gain new work.

To ensure successful RTW programs, employers should:

  • Work with all injured or ill employees and their medical providers to clearly understand occupational work restrictions
  • Identify job activities that can be conducted safely by injured or ill employees
  • Make sure their RTW programs are compliant with all relevant workers’ compensation laws
  • Communicate clearly with everyone involved at each step in the workers’ compensation claim process

RTW programs are confidence builders. These programs can help employees feel valued by their employers, and allow businesses to strengthen employee relations, productivity and morale. Contact one of our risk consultants to learn more.


Information abstracted from Zywave’s “Commercial Risk Advisor-June 2021” article.