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Process of Creating your Light Duty and Return to Work 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. At this stage on the side of the employer, they should find a person to fill in as the manager of the return to work and light duty program, who need to possess a strong understanding of the FMLA, ADA, short and long term disability coverage by the organization and the law on compensation of workers.
As the employers implement this program, they need to ensure that they find out the essential services in the job description of the employees, give the employees the return to work and light duty program form to fill whereby the failure of filling or rejecting is considered rejecting employment, inform the employees on how prepared they should be, communicate the policy to the employees during the safety policy conversations, redesign the job to meet the ADA regulations if there has been any physical changes on the body of the employee, and should also tell the employees what they stand to gain when they are effective participants of the program.

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