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How to Build Your Return to Work and Light Duty Programs
Getting an employee who has been away from the place of work after an injury is essential for both the employer and the employee, where the employer benefits by cutting down the cost of employee non productivity, and the employee gets to normalcy and gains financial advantage through the gained job security. Return to work mostly includes light duty, which is work responsibilities that are different from the regular duties undertaken by the employee and you need a clear return to work and light duty policy to navigate the above requirements.
The most common return to work programs elements include the steps to follow after an injury, procedures followed while communicating with the health providers, schedule of monitoring the needs and progress of the worker while away, light duty positions, handouts about the process, policies, procedures and review of the whole return to work program schedule.
Some of the people the injured employee will interact with, including health care providers, human resource personnel, and insurance companies may not have the return to work interest of the employee and employer in mind and this policy will assist in getting the employee to normalcy which may bring faster recovery and reduce the cost of absenteeism, training of new worker and reduced productivity for the employer making it a chance worth taking for the employer.
Employers should have a well written policy in place which should explain to employees how being away reduces or cuts wages, how workers may lose their medical cover, how they should inform the employer on their progress and suitability to return to work how long light duty tasks will last and that this is not a new employment contract. On the employers end, the company should decide who will be in charge of the return to work and light duty program and this person should have a thorough knowledge of FMLA, ADA, the short term and long term disability coverage of the company and the workers compensation law.
It is necessary for the employers to tell the employees the benefits they will gain or the losses they will avoid when they participate in the program, roll out job descriptions that meet the ADA requirements of people who have undergone physical body changes, table the discussions about the program often during the often safety policy discussions even before the injury has occurred, give employees forms to accept the program which is mandatory because rejecting would be like turning down the job, inform the employees on how prepared they should be and review the job description to find the essential services that will be filtered and included in the return to work and light duty program.

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