What is it?
A Return To Work (RTW) program is designed to transition the Injured Worker back to work immediately following his or her injury. Our Return to Work program offers alternative temporary transitional duty at Not-For-Profit agencies to keep claimants working during the recovery period when their employer cannot accommodate their medical restrictions. The employer will compensate the injured employee whether they return to the employer in a light duty position or if they are placed in the Return to Work program through WorkLinks. Compensating the employee while they work in a light duty position shows a wage earning capability of the injured worker.
Why is this so important?
Traditionally an Injured Worker begins receiving Temporary Worker’s Compensation Benefits due to an injury which does not allow them to return to their pre-injury position. This “down time” often creates a lack of direction for the Injured Worker in returning to the workplace. An Injured Worker enters a maze of doctor appointments, therapy appointments, calls to their adjusters and nurse case managers, etc. The issue of the Injured Worker “working” gets placed on the back shelf as the process becomes reactive, instead of proactive. A Return To Work program eliminates that period of “down time” and is a proactive program in helping the Injured Worker return to their pre-injury position or other gainful employment.
Advantages of a Return To Work Program:
Control of the claim from the beginning versus trying to regain control of the claim down the road.
Control the cost of the claim by keeping the injured worker functioning while accommodating their limitations.
Expedites the worker back to their pre-injury employer or other suitable employment
- Encourages meaningful and productive work activity
- Allows a flexible work schedule to accommodate appointments
- Focuses on abilities rather than limitations
- Develops physical tolerance for work, including strength and endurance
- Teaches new and transferable skills
- Retain employee status
- Stay productive and avoid disability syndrome
- Help others/Sense of community
- Faster recovery
How does it work?
This program is suitable for any claim for which physical capacities have been established, restrictions noted and for which a period of recovery is required before the Injured Worker is able to return to their pre-injury position. Upon the physician releasing the Injured Worker to at least a light/sedentary work level, the adjuster should contact WorkLinks so that we can begin the placement process by locating Transitional Employment for the Injured Worker at one of our Not-For-Profit organizations. The turn-around time for placement varies dependent on the Injured Worker’s location but every effort is made to place them within one to two days from the date of the referral. This Transitional Employment continues until the Injured Worker is either released to full duty (pre-injury status) by their physician, or they reach MMI status.
Upon full duty release or release with permanent restrictions, the Injured Worker can return to their employer or we can provide job placement assistance to return the claimant to gainful employment.
WorkLinks’ statistics show success:
- In 2015, 80 to 85 percent of Injured Workers referred to the WorkLinks program have complied and started working at a Non-profit or have gone back to their treating physician and were released to full duty.
- Once an injured worker begins work at a Non-profit, the average length of time in the modified light duty program is 3 to 5 months.
- By utilizing WorkLinks’ Return to Work program, the injured worker participates in the program until MMI is reached. At this point, the injured worker either returns to full duty or the claim moves toward settlement.