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Workers’ Compensation Return To Work Policy

Last updated: November 19, 2023

To reduce unemployment among Americans with disabilities, early intervention strategies are crucial in addition to workers' compensation

Every year, millions of Americans suffer from injuries or illnesses that threaten their employment. Return-to-work programs can help here by providing employers and injured employees with a detailed recovery roadmap to ensure a seamless return to work after an injury.

This blog explores the benefits and limitations of a workers’ compensation return to work policy.

Understanding The Return-To-Work (RTW) Policy

Understanding The Return-To-Work Policy

Return-to-work policies are essential for businesses. Aside from saving companies time and money in the workers' compensation process, it can assist employees in returning to work. These policies allow employees to safely return to full-time work while recovering from illness or injury.

An RTW program must comply with state laws and federal regulations, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). However, the benefits and limitations of the policy may vary from state to state and between private agencies.

Return To Work Policy Benefits

A workers’ compensation return to work policy can provide businesses with several benefits, including:

  • Control the direct and indirect costs of employee absence
  • Reduce loss of productivity
  • Help employers avoid the hassle of training new employees
  • Maintain their valuable employees' skill sets

Injured or sick employees can also benefit from return-to-work policies to:

  • Recover more quickly
  • Gain a sense of self-worth
  • Return to work or secure a similar position
  • Maintain their salary continuity

Employers and employees must both support an RTW policy for it to work.

Eligibility Requirements

While the eligibility differs in different states and agencies, it generally covers regular full-time and part-time employees receiving workers' compensation who are off work due to illness or injuries.

Workers’ Compensation Return-To-Work Restrictions

Employees will have to follow their work restrictions regarding what they can and cannot do on the job due to their injuries. After receiving workers' compensation benefits, a treating physician sets an employee's work restrictions. 

Employees may be eligible for a monthly benefit check if their employers cannot provide work accommodations. This check represents a portion of their earning potential if they could have worked full-time.

Workers’ Compensation Settlement After Returning To Work

Workers’ Compensation Settlement After Returning To Work

It is possible to increase employee morale if the employee works during recovery. This also allows them to keep earning despite their situation.

Workers' compensation settlements depend on an employee's ability to return to work. Employees may not receive their weekly benefit check if they do not return to work. However, social security disability insurance may be available to them. Additionally, if their injuries or illnesses prevent them from performing their previous duties, they might need to find a new job.

Frequently Asked Questions

Return-to-work policies can help many injured or ill workers keep their jobs by offering timely and effective help and accommodations. To better understand how these policies work, we have answered some of the most common questions regarding the workers' compensation return to work policy.

What is the role of a disability management/return to work program in helping injured workers to make a full recovery and return to work?

An employee's ability to return to regular duty becomes more difficult the longer they are unable to work. Disability management/return to work initiatives generally result in injured workers returning to regular duty more quickly and becoming less dependent on medical treatment. 

What are the three things necessary to collect workers' compensation in the U.S.?

First, you must be an employee. You must be covered by workers' compensation insurance through your employer. Your workplace should have a return-to-work policy in place. Lastly, you must have a work-related injury or illness that prevents you from working your regular job/tasks.

How does workers' compensation work in the U.S.?

Workers' compensation insurance covers employees who suffer an injury or become disabled on the job. Employees who accept workers' compensation benefits give up their right to sue their employer for damages.

When injured or ill workers receive timely, effective assistance, they are more likely to be able to stay in their jobs or return to work. A workers’ compensation return to work policy and program succeeds when injured workers can return to work as soon as medically possible.

If you are applying for compensation, you can find more information about the process and how long it takes to receive your workers' compensation benefits in our Disability Help resource.

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Cheri Hermanson
Cheri leads our team of writers in producing the best quality content there is regarding society and disability, most especially those that helps ease the quality of life for our differently-abled loved ones.
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