Early Return-To-Work Program: Employer's Role
Your first step is to develop a Return-To-Work Policy Statement, committing to return injured employees to meaningful employment as soon as they are medically able. See the sample Return-To-Work Policy Statement below.
Once the statement is completed, follow these 10 steps:
- Communicate the Return-To-Work Policy to all employees in writing.
- Designate a program administrator to act as the contact person.
- Identify suitable tasks of a light or sedentary basis that injured workers can perform temporarily while they are recovering from their work injuries. Such tasks should be of a meaningful and productive nature rather than make work assignments.
- Show care and concern for injured workers by staying in touch with them after injury occurs, ensuring them that a job will be available as soon as they are medically able. Contact with the injured worker should be of a supportive nature and not reflect concern about the financial impact to the employer.
- Let employee know of your desire to have him or her back to work.
- Monitor employee's recovery progress and let the treating physician know that modified duty is available.
- Utilize forms ― Physical Capability Assessment (completed by physician) and Job Analysis (completed by employer) ― to identify employee's physical restrictions and suitable job accommodations for the purpose of securing medical clearance from the physician.
- Nurse case managers are available to assist you with completing the forms and obtaining physician approval.
- Send the employee a written job offer letter advising that work is available within the medical restrictions placed by the treating physician as soon as medical clearance is obtained. See the sample: Job Offer Letter.
- Enclose copy of medical clearance from treating physician.
- Send letter both by certified and regular mail with copy to ERIE and employee's attorney, if applicable.
- Make sure injured worker's duties do not exceed medical restrictions after return to work.
- Continue to monitor employee's recovery progress toward goal of release to return to regular job duties.
Sample: Return-to-Work Policy Statement
ABC Company is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment to our employees. To further that goal, a Return-to-Work program has been established to accommodate employees who have sustained a workplace injury.
The Company will endeavor to provide suitable opportunities for employees suffering work injuries to return to work as soon as they are medically able. If the employee is not able to return to regular duties after the work injury, the Company will seek opportunities for the employee to return to the regular job with modifications or alternative duty that matches the employee's physical capabilities, subject to medical approval from a physician. We will make a reasonable effort to facilitate successful return to work for employees injured on the job.
For further information regarding the Company's Return-To-Work Program, contact (Name of Program Administrator).