When an employee is injured or gets sick on the job, your restaurant will most likely pay out workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation pays your employee if he or she is not able to work because of an injury or sickness suffered on the job. In return, your business is not vulnerable to a lawsuit. Workers’ compensation can be costly to employers, especially when you, as an employer, are unsure of when your employee will be able to return to work. The solution to this very common problem is establishing a return-to-work program with your insurance carrier.
What is a Return-to-Work Program?
A return-to-work program establishes a plan for your employee to return to work after a leave of absence due to an injury or illness. This is sometimes referred to as “early return to work.” These programs are highly effective at reducing costs, especially in the restaurant and food service industry, in which injuries sustained on the job are very common. Return-to-work programs may involve the employee modifying his or her normal work duties in order to accommodate an injury. Below is why this program is beneficial to both the employer and the employee.
Reduces Workers’ Compensation Fraud
With programs like the return-to-work program, there is much more communication between the employer and employee in order to determine when the employee could appropriately come back to work and modify his or her activity. This requires further documentation from the employee’s physician and, in turn, reduces incidences of workers’ compensation fraud. Employees would be trained in the return-to-work program, therefore he or she will know that this is expected should he or she ever need to utilize workers’ compensation.
Allows Employer to Receive Some Productivity for Wages Being Paid
When an employer begins paying out workers’ compensation, the employer essentially pays wages and receives zero productivity time from the employee as he or she is unable to work. With a return-to-work program, you will much sooner begin receiving some level of productivity from the employee as he or she gets healthier. While this level of productivity will not match his or her usual “one-hundred percent,” it will at least provide some use to you as the business owner and to the employee as he or she heals.
Improves Recovery Time
A benefit for both the employer and the employee, it is believed that early return-to-work programs often improve recovery time for the employee’s injury or ailment. Getting back into a daily routine and achieving some level of activity is often a motivating factor for employees to get back to feeling 100%. By getting back into the swing of things, your employee will feel more motivated to get back into his or her regular work routine.
Less Financial Impact for Employee
Early return-to-work programs allow the employee to return to his or her regular schedule sooner, meaning he or she doesn’t have to take continued time off during recovery. With modified work, he or she can return to regular hours rather than suffering the financial impact of living off workers’ compensation, which does not reimburse the employee’s full wages. This is often a huge motivating factor for the employee to get back to work.
Improves Employee Morale
Lastly, being injured often leads to low morale for the injured employee. He or she often is stuck at home, losing out on a full paycheck and feeling extremely under the weather. When employees have the option to participate in an early return-to-work program, he or she is able to moderately move back into his or her normal role in the workplace. This is essential in improving morale and recovering quicker, which is a win-win for the employer and employee.
Create a Return-to-Work Program for Your Restaurant
Are you interested in starting a return-to-work program at your restaurant or food industry business? The professionals at RPA have a sole focus on the restaurant industry and are prepared to help you set up a return-to-work program. Our professionals are dedicated to our clients throughout the United States, ensuring they are both protected with the coverage they need and saving as much money as possible. Contact us today to speak to a representative in your area.