10 costly return-to-work mistakes

By lowering the length and duration of time away from work due to injuries and illnesses on or off the job, return-to-work programs have reduced workers’ compensation, disability and medical insurance costs as well as strengthened employee morale and productivity. RTW programs also have helped protect employers from lawsuits regarding regulatory non-compliance, particularly related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, RTW programs aren't without pitfalls. Kevin Ring, director of community growth for the Institute of WorkComp Professionals,outlines 10 mistakes that can derail your RTW effort.

1. Failing to effectively manage employees covered by the ADA.

While the ADA doesn't prohibit employers from having a maximum leave policy, exceptions to the policy must be made on a case-by-case basis to reasonably accommodate people with disabilities. Also, a program that limits the availability of transitional jobs to a certain class of workers — those who are injured on the job — risks violating the ADA unless there is a legitimate business reason for doing so. Properly structured, RTW programs can decrease the ADA exposure. [Image: Shutterstock]




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