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Research show that returning the employee to work as soon as medically possible is essential in properly managing workers' compensation claims, and it is better for the employee physically and psychologically. Understanding this issue, the University has decided to implement a mandatory Return to Work (RTW) program. This program is designed to raise the consciousness of everyone as to the need to provide transitional duty to injured employees, and the benefits that can come from such a program for all involved. Requiring an employee to reach 100% recovery from an injury before returning to work may be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and lengthens recovery; therefore, it is not an option. Anyone who is unable to perform his or her usual job tasks as a result of a job-related accident or occupation disease is eligible for the program. The policy is to enable employees to return to work when they have sustained accidents at work that prohibit them from performing their normal job duties. Recovery at work in a modified job will help the injured employee maintain self-esteem and the income level they are accustomed to, while providing valuable work to the University during the employee's rehabilitation. The East Carolina University Return to Work Program promotes rehabilitation and enhances the recovery process of employees experiencing work-related injuries and illnesses, while maximizing productivity and controlling related expenditures. The program will also foster compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and associated guidelines. This will be accomplished thorough a partnership including the disabled employees, medical providers, and a multi-disciplined team of key agency personnel working together toward the common goal of expediting the employee's return to physical and psychological well-being.
The primary purpose of the RTW program is to provide transitional work for employees who, due to a work-related injury or illness, are restricted from performing some or all of their regular duties for a temporary period. The program shall also address placement efforts for employees who, after recovery, are permanently restricted from performing their regular duties. The goals of the Program are to:
There are many variables that affect the outcome of workers' compensation claims such as the nature and extent of injury, the injured workers' attitude toward the employer and the disability, the employer's effectiveness in managing the claim and the employer's attitude toward the injured employee. Although we cannot control how an injured employee may react, we can influence many aspects surrounding the injury by implementing an effective return to work program. The following list describes employee and management benefits of a return to work program:
NOTE: When an employee is injured and cannot return to work, they are paid 2/3 of their salary to recuperate at home. Although that money generally does not come from the employee's department, it does come form the employee's division. This loss of funds means less ability to pay for division funded goods and services, like computers or staff. These funds are lost with no benefit to the organization.