According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 data, Health Care and Social Assistance ranked as the occupation group with the most non-fatal work injuries. Keeping that in mind, one of our key focus areas is to get injured employees back to work as soon as it is safe for them to do so. We do this because we know there are many benefits for the employee as well as the employer.
Often an employee who returns to work at the appropriate time experiences a shortened recovery time. Being in a routine as well as being less sedentary can often improve overall recovery. Typically, an employee who can return to work in a reasonable amount of time experiences better medical outcomes with less impairment.
Returning to employment often reduces the financial, social and psychological strains associated with being injured and out of work. In most cases, a return to work means the employee goes back to receiving regular pay instead of reduced pay.
The longer an employee is out of work, the more likely the injury severity costs will increase. We have also found that there is less litigation when an employee returns to work. Indirect costs also come into play for the employer while an employee is out – in the form of temporary workers or overtime for existing employees. Employers with high deductibles may see a reduction in direct workers’ compensation costs if they are able to get employees back to work timely.
Employee morale improves for both the injured worker as well as their peers. If co workers were having to put in overtime to fill in for an injured employee, the return to status quo may be a welcome relief. If the employee can return to work, it reduces the human resource costs associated with hiring and training new employees.
As the employer continues to get injured workers back to work, it may reduce their workers’ compensation loss ratios and experience modifiers, which can help control premium costs.
You may be asking yourself, but what about those employees who aren’t able return to their existing job yet? Our follow-up post will cover transitional duty, also known as light or restricted duty.