Out of sight, out of mind
What happens to employees when they are out of work?
Implementing a Return-To-Work (RTW) program often meets with resistance. “There are no light duty jobs, it’s too costly to implement, the employee will hurt himself again, the employee will refuse the offer or be disgruntled” are just some of the many objections employers raise about RTW programs.
It’s easier to let the employee stay home – out of sight, out of mind. Yet, it is impossible to drive down Workers’ Comp costs without a RTW program. As an employer, you are paying the cost of having your employee stay at home. It impacts your Experience Mod. To understand just how much, take an existing claim, determine how much was paid in indemnity, take out the indemnity and see the effect it will have on your Mod. The results can be startling.
Consider also the effect on your employee. Very quickly, the employee can get out of the normal cycle of work, change habits, and lose motivation. He or she fills their life with other duties – picking up the kids, running errands, cooking, etc. The employee develops a disability attitude, gets worse, depression and frustration often set in and the employee heads off to an attorney, driving up your costs even further.
Being out of work is a health hazard. Studies show that those employees who stay out of work get far more medical treatment than those who return to work. They also reveal that 95% of employees should be back to work by the fourth day and if they are out for more than 12 weeks, there is only a 50-50 chance they will return to work.
According to the American Medical Association, work is therapy. People get better faster when they are moving around and when they feel productive and good about themselves. A cable company had an installer who was injured on the job. He was extremely talented and did the job more efficiently than anyone else on staff. The company decided to have him accompany other employees on installations and lend his expertise. This not only strengthened the company’s capabilities, but also was a boost to the employee’s self-esteem and commitment.
RTW programs not only make economic sense but are also a strong statement to your workers that they are valued. Finding good employees is a challenge for most employers. RTW is a way of keeping them.