Written by Grace Peabody, Peabody Insurance Agency
A Return to Health and Happiness
Return to work programs help you get injured employees back to their normal or modified job duties as quickly and safely as possible.
Instead of paying for workers’ compensation costs and lost work days, you’ll save money by paying your employees their normal wages for doing light-duty work that the company needs done anyway. You’ll also be able to keep them on their regular work schedules, which is proven to increase their likelihood of returning to regular working duties sooner.
Benefits for Your Company
Return to work programs reduce employees’ days away from work, allow employees to recover more quickly and foster a more positive work environment. Implementing a return to work program can benefit your company financially by:
- Anticipating and controlling hidden costs
- Reducing the financial impact of workplace injuries
- Providing a proactive approach to cost containment
- Improving your ability to manage an injury claim and any restrictions
- Getting your experienced employees back to work, resulting in less time and money spent on recruiting and hiring
- Helping you keep regular contact with injured employees
Your company can benefit from a return to work program in other ways, including:
- Boosting morale
- Keeping injured employees productive
- Discouraging abuse
- Demonstrating a consistent procedure
- Establishing solid communication and organization
- Enhancing injured employees’ self-worth
Benefits for Your Employees
Return to work programs don’t just benefit your company—they benefit your employees, too. Implementing a return to work program for injured employees communicates care and concern, and shows your employees that you value their well-being and want them back on the job as soon as possible. Your employees also benefit from a return to work program in the following ways:
- Retaining full earning capacity
- Maintaining a productive mindset
- Staying on their regular work schedule
- Avoiding dependence on a disability system
- Having a sense of security and stability
- Seeing management’s commitment to employees’ well-being reinforced
Where to Begin?
The below steps will help you construct an effective return to work program and create meaningful work assignments for workers injured both on and off the job. For a more complete return to work guide and sample policy, go to app.aamfund.com and download the free editable guide.
- Know the Facts – Gather some initial information on return to work programs to learn about their potential for cost savings and about how to adapt programs for your company’s needs.
- Gather Data – Ask your co-workers about their thoughts on injuries and return to work practices to determine how much work will be needed to complete your return to work program.
- Demonstrate a commitment to early return to work – Make it clear that your program will be committed to the recovery process above all else.
- Create Goals – Define clear objectives for your program so that employees know what to expect.
- Create a return to work team and define its responsibilities – Appoint a team to provide leadership, set expectations and act as a communication channel for your program.
- Develop a workflow chart outlining the return to work process – Use a workflow to identify next steps and to eliminate confusion in the return to work process.
- Develop and maintain a job bank – Create a list of possible transitional roles for injured employees who return to work.
- Create a communication and education plan – Make sure employees are aware of their job responsibilities both before and after an injury occurs.
- Recordkeeping – Keep a transitional duty database so you can measure the success of your program and make adjustments when needed.
- Distribute the plan – Make your program easily accessible to all employees, and have them sign and date acknowledgement forms to reduce your liability.
Many companies fail to implement return to work programs because they don’t have the resources or expertise to get started. Return to work programs must be organized and implemented efficiently. The AAM Work Comp Fund and Peabody Insurance can help you do just that by providing you with the resources you need to make your program a success, including educational articles, forms and policies.
If you require assistance, please contact Grace Peabody, Peabody Insurance at (810) 629-1504 or email@example.com.
Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations
Legislative Session Ends Without ESA Reform
The final days of the 2017-18 Michigan Legislative Session proved frenetic as Governor Snyder and Republicans in both legislative chambers sought passage of numerous priorities. All legislation not enacted in the 2017-18 session will need to be reintroduced in the 2019-20 session and start the process over again. Below is a recap of a few key apartment industry issues:
Emotional Support Animals – The highest priority for which AAM sought passage at the end of the session was Senate Bill 663, which would have strengthened state law to help prevent the false representation of possession of an emotional support animal. The bill passed the Michigan Senate but was ultimately not considered by the Michigan House in the final days of the session as physician groups and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights raised late opposition to certain provisions in the bill. This legislation will be reintroduced in 2019.
Rent Control Bills – The preemption of local rent control is one of the most significant legislative accomplishments in AAM’s history. Unfortunately we are forced to constantly defend this law, and this legislative session was no exception. Three bills were introduced – but not acted upon – to either repeal or allow exceptions to the act. House Bill 4456 proposed a complete repeal, while House Bills 4686 and 4687 would have allowed local units of government the ability to limit rent for disabled individuals and senior citizens while providing property tax breaks to property subject to the local controls.
Prompt Payment – Legislation requiring private construction contracts to include a clause requiring prompt payment for labor, materials and services was also successfully opposed by AAM. The bill exempted single family residential and attached residential less than 7 units, but apartment buildings over 7 units were included with other types of construction.
“Open and Obvious” Codification – Senate Bill 1017 would have provided specific statutory language supporting the “open and obvious” doctrine in Michigan relating to the liability of property owners to injuries, such as slip and falls. Currently, there is no law providing clarity on this issue as its standard came from judicial rule. While this legislation passed the Michigan Senate, it did not pass the Michigan House.
Tree Ordinances – Arising out of a well-publicized dispute in Canton, a package of bills limiting local tree ordinances for certain zoning classifications was introduced in November and hotly debated in the final days of the session. After passage by the Michigan Senate, the bill package stalled in the Michigan House.
Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations
Busy Lame Duck Session Includes Numerous AAM Issues
The end of the 2017-18 Michigan Legislative Session saw a flurry of activity given the gubernatorial and other leadership changes coming in 2019. As a matter of fact, as of this writing (submitted before the session ended), this lame duck was on track to be one of the busiest ever in Michigan. There was the potential that over 300 bills could be sent to Governor Snyder in the final days of 2018!
AAM was tracking and working on dozens of bills that would impact the rental property industry. The highest priority for AAM was Senate Bill 663, which would strengthen state law to help prevent the false representation of possession of an emotional support animal. The bill passed the Michigan Senate and was being considered by the Michigan House in the final days of the session. Other legislation for which AAM sought passage included Senate Bill 1017, which would provide specific statutory language supporting the “open and obvious” doctrine in Michigan. Currently, there is no law providing clarity on this issue as its standard came from judicial rule.
Equally as important, AAM also worked to oppose a number of threats to our industry. Bills repealing or allowing exceptions in Michigan’s Rent Control Act were stopped in this session. The preemption of local rent control is one of the most significant legislative accomplishments in AAM’s history. Legislation requiring construction contracts to include a clause requiring prompt payment was also opposed by AAM. The bill exempted single family residential and attached residential less than 7 units, but apartment buildings over 7 units were included with other types of construction.
Look for a final report on the bills above and other legislation of interest in my column next month. All legislation proposed but not enacted in the 2017-18 session will need to be reintroduced and start the process over in the 2019-20 session.