The New York Workers' Compensation Board has a clear message for New
York employers: Return to Work (RTW) programs are the best way to manage
costs and recovery after
Companies big and small must pay attention to safety and the overall costs
associated with workplace accidents to protect their workers and their
While preventing accidents is the best way to reduce overall costs, the
second best way to reduce employer costs is to have an effective workplace
Return to Work (RTW) program in place.
According to the New York Workers' Compensation Board, the longer that
an injured worker is absent from the workplace, the higher the costs to
the employer and their insurance carrier.
Employers incur additional costs from lost productivity, overtime, increased
premiums, lower morale, and the costs of having to hire and train a new
employee if they must replace the injured worker.
RTW Programs Save Money
The state has found that early assistance helping injured employees return
to work as soon as they are physically able is essential to a solid RTW
program. The New York Workers' Compensation Board reports that:
- After a 6 month absence, there's a 50% chance that the employee will
return to work.
- After a 1-year absence, there's only a 25% chance that a worker will return.
- After a 2-year absence, that declines to just 1%.
Employers must acknowledge that returning to work is a socially fragile
process where co-workers and supervisors must be understanding about the
worker's new routines.
RTW planning is not about bringing an injured employee back to work before
they're ready, instead it must focus on matching the injured employee's
physical restrictions with the appropriate job accommodation.
Returning to Work Safely
The New York Workers' Compensation Board stresses the importance of
employers offering transitional work to injured or ill employees so they
can return to work activities that are suitable for their functional capabilities.
Ways this can be accomplished include: 1) offering transitional work, 2)
utilizing ergonomic worksite assessments, and 3) ensuring that all assignments
are in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the
state's workers' compensation laws.
Do you have questions about returning to work safely? Contact a
New York City workers' compensation lawyer form Katz, Leidman, Grossman, Wolfe & Freund for a