What is a Return to Work Program?

Even when precautions are taken, accidents happen. If one of your employees is injured on the job, you are legally required to obtain medical treatment and report the injury. When able, the employee returns to work. Numerous studies have shown that injured employees recover faster when they return to work. In addition, their return can decrease claims expenses, limit downtime, and eliminate the need for additional staff.


Your claims adjusters and the MPN treating physician are available to help employers consider ways to return their injured employee to the workplace and restore productivity. Return to work programs (RTW) create ways to bring injured employees back to work by modifying their job temporarily or creating a transitional job during the recovery period – all while carefully monitoring their medical progress.


By implementing an RTW program you can:

  • Improve morale among all employees.
  • Gain control and increase potential for a positive resolution of the claim.
  • Reduce or avoid temporary or permanent disability payments.
  • Reduce medical costs.
  • Reduce or avoid litigation.
  • Discourage fraudulent claims.
  • Avoid the replacement and training costs of hiring a new employee.
  • Identify cross-training opportunities that enhance employees’ abilities in their regular jobs.
  • Increase awareness of safe work practices and injury prevention.

The time and effort you put in to creating an effective Return to Work Program are well worth what you will save in the form of employee lost-time and disability. By taking the following steps, you will help to control claim costs, increase productivity, and improve moral in your workplace.


First, develop a Return to Work Program that details the early return process. Your claims adjuster provides resources to assist you and offer free advice on identifying early return opportunities for your employees.


Second, open the dialogue with your employee. Talk to them about their injury, or illness. Discuss which aspects of their normal job they can not perform, as well as their current ability to work.


Next, create transitional job opportunities tailored to the disabled employee(s) that will allow the employee(s) to begin working again as early as possible.


Finally, follow the progress of your employee(s), altering the transitional job when possible, until they are able to return to their regular duties.


As all employees are different, and disabilities or injuries will impact each in a different way, it is essential that you are committed to working with each individual to tailor a transitional opportunity. By remaining consistent in your policies and follow through, you will be effective in saving money on workers compensation costs.