Costly Return-to-Work Mistakes, Part 1

Has your business considered implementing a Return-to-Work program? While one of the many benefits includes a lower Massachusetts workers compensation premium, employers still find it hard to see the benefits of RTW. However, between the recession, the changes in the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) and changes in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), RTW may be a saving grace for employers!
Since many employers find it hard to recognize the benefits of RTW, they often make 10 common mistakes. Allow us to share the first five with you, in hopes that you will avoid them as best as you can!

#1: Employers opt to cut RTW when attempting to save. Cutting or delaying a RTW program may result in higher costs now and later, especially if an employee is out on injury leave for a long time.

#2: Employers insist that employees be released to “full duty” before returning to work. This may increase workers comp costs and even increase the possibility that the injured employee will stay out of work when it is possible to come back.

#3: Employers make the mistake to believe that RTW will not address musculoskeletal injuries. Back injuries are the most common and costly work-related conditions but only a small fraction of workers with acute back pain develop chronic disability. However, employees who were not offered accommodation for these issues were twice as likely to develop chronic disability. These results suggest that adjustments to make working possible in the first few weeks after injury may play an important role in chronic prevention.

#4: Employers are discouraged from setting up transitional assignments because of the possibility of the employee getting hurt again. This fear will often hinder RTW efforts and may lead to the employee taking advantage of the disability. Extended absence will drive the cost up the wall!

#5: Business owners fail to recognize the increase in the number of employees in which the ADAAA will cover.

So, how does a RTW program sound now? These are only the first half of the mistakes! Be sure to come back next week for the second half of costly mistakes your company may be making.

At Wolpert Insurance, we want to make sure you are saving as much as possible on your Massachusetts workers compensation premium. If you have any questions or concerns, never hesitate to contact us!