Some employers are revitalizing their return-to-work programs for injured workers.
You are not responsible for the unforeseen injury you incur at work, and you have a right to recover fully before returning to work. The workers’ compensation will take care of your expenses while you are recuperating. But, some employers have a Return-to-Work program and you may have to return to work early, even before you have recovered completely.
Why is There a Return to Work Program?
The Return-to-Work program was created to allow an injured employee to recoup with the help of workers’ compensation and then return to work gradually. First, they come back to work in temporary, light duty, or limited position. They get partial wages in addition to the workers’ comp benefits. Finally, they may be able to return to the previous position they held in the company. In this way, the employer does not have to spend extra money and time on training and hiring a replacement.
Some Issues Related to the RTW Program
There is somewhat of an an inherent conflict between workers comp and the return-to-work program. Some of these include:
- The employers have to provide accommodations for the injured worker: That means the employer has to change the job and give a suitable job to the injured or disabled person so that he can do it successfully. Many employers fail to provide accommodations.
- The employer may be firm about returning to full duty only: Some employers insist that an injured employee should come back to work only when he is ready to do full duty. So the worker may return and do more than he is fit to do. If the worker is not allowed to take up light work, he may become depressed and take a longer time to recover.
- Other health conditions are not given due consideration: Factors like obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes may have played a part in the workers’ illness or injury. If they are not given due consideration the worker may not recover fully and there may be chances of re-injury.
- Chances of re-injury: The RTW is hindered when the worker or the employer are scared that there may be re-injury. This fear may be true. But if the worker stays at home and acquires a disability attitude, he will stay away from work longer and the costs may increase.
- Depending too much on the evaluation of the doctor: The worker can return to work only after the doctor gives a green signal. No doubt, the doctor can understand the medical aspect and give the clearance on that basis, but he is not familiar with all the details of the duties the worker is going to perform.
Contact a St. Louis Work Injury Lawyer
If the RTW program is not implemented properly, it may limit the rights of an injured worker. A St. Louis workers compensation lawyer can assist in protecting your rights. At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, we can help ensure your rights. Call us today at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online contact form to request a free consultation.