Getting Back to Work

When employees are absent due to short-term disability, it is important to help them return to work as soon as it is safe for them to do so.  First, these should already be in place:

·         Know how your insurance carrier prepares workers to return to work.

·         Have a return to work program in place for your company.

·         Create a healthy, productive work environment.

·         Have clear job descriptions, including details on transitional work for each position.

The following tips may help managers and supervisors help with the transition. 

·         Reach out to employees.  While you certainly don’t want to bother them early on, there is an appropriate time to check how they’re doing.  Let them know they’re not forgotten.

·         Remind employees of their employee assistance program, especially as they begin returning to work.

·         Don’t assume assistive accommodations will be costly. 

·         Don’t allow transitional assignments to continue indefinitely.  Communicate clear expectations and time frames. 

From Employee Benefit News, March 2011 issue, pp. 32, 36-38.