If your business has ever experienced a workers’ compensation claim, you already know how it can impact the workplace. It can affect employee morale, interrupt productivity, cause stress and confusion and have a long-term effect on your workers’ compensation rates.
BUILDING A RETURN-TO-WORK PROGRAM
As an employer, you are required to make every reasonable effort to accommodate ill or injured workers. If an accident happens at your workplace, you need to be ready to help your employees transition back to work with ease.
A return to work (RTW) plan is a tool to help ill or injured employees return to employment in a timely and safe manner.Returning to work is an essential part of the recovery process and canalso help limit the impact the claim has on your business.
The exclusive CFIB return to work package
We have created an RTW package that includes guides and templates to help you manage workers’ compensation claims in your business.
An RTW program will:
- reduce absenteeism,
- improve employee morale and productivity, and
- reduce overall costs for your business.
Below you will find the steps needed to implement and execute our RTW package:
1. The return to work policy The RTW policy is used to communicate to your employees that they are participating in a return to work program should an injury or illness occurs at work. The policy explains the responsibilities of you and your employee when an injury happens, including injury reporting, committing to medical attention and required participation.
Introduce this policy at your next Health and Safety meeting.
2. The Employee care package
These documents are meant to be given to your employee when an injury occurs at the workplace. This package contains:
- Letter to the employee. This is used to communicate your concern to the injured employee, requests that information is returned to you within a few days and that modified duties and light work are available during recovery.
- Letter to physician or health care provider/physiotherapist. This communicates your RTW program to the employee’s medical workers and indicates that they will be asked to share information as it pertains to your employee being able to do modified or light duties.
- Physical demands analysis form. You fill this out with details on your employee’s work duties for the attending health care workers. (TIP: We recommend you have the physical demands analysis filled out for each of the positions at your place of employment. This, way it will be ready in case of an emergency.)
- Physician assessment of employee’s return to work is a form that the medical workers fills out with relevant and appropriate information as it pertains to your employee’s ability to return to work. It details the employee’s functionality and limitations during the recovery process.
3. Modified work plan
With the information you received from the employee care package, you should be in the position to create a modified work plan. The guidelines for modified work will help you determine what the employee’s limitations are and which work activities should be avoided.
With that information in hand, you can develop a modified work offer to give to your employee to outline what duties they will be doing during their recovery process.
The goal of the return to work plan is to have an employee return to their regular duties safely and as quickly as possible.
Tips for a successful return to work:
- Report the injury to your workers’ compensation board within the timeframe required by your province.
- Be willing to interact with employees to keep lines of communication open after an injury.
- Ensure workers and managers know what the expectation is when an injury occurs.
- Consider appointing a claims administrator within your workplace to be the main point of contact for all WCB-related communication.
- Develop a strong relationship with the WCB claims manager. Communicate concerns or issues as they arise.
- Never stop managing the claim!
Although employees and workers compensation play their part in the RTW process, employers are the main drivers of the return to work program. If you need help implementing your return to work plan, please contact our Counsellors.