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Policies & Compliance

Return to work: What your team should know

When employees go on leave, your company should offer support every step of the way, easing their concerns about the process so they can focus on getting well and returning to work. And we know that final step— returning to work—is just as important as the initial request for leave. Why is it so critical? Because work absences now cost U.S. businesses as much as $100 billion a year. When an employee is out on leave, it places considerable strains on your business:

  • Lowered productivity
  • Increased workloads for fellow employees
  • More demands on supervisors and managers
  • Increased labor replacement costs (hiring temps, contract workers, etc.)
  • Reduced customer satisfaction
  • Decreased product quality
  • Declining employee morale

Helping employees transition back to work after an absence is critical to every company’s productivity—and bottom line. A return to work program can help you navigate this complex process. It can get employees back to work as soon as possible. And it is an effective strategy for controlling your organization’s costs.

Return to work options

A robust return to work program features options for different needs. This helps employees safely return to transitional or regular employment in a timely manner. Some employees can return to their regular job with no interruption. In other cases, employees may need to return to a different job. Sometimes a doctor may ask you to modify the employee’s responsibilities for a time. Fewer work hours or limited physical activity can help employees transition back to work. Modified (light duty) or temporary alternative work may also help. In rare cases employees may not be able to return to the same function level. In this case, you should look at whether you can make any accommodations.

Returning to work benefits employees

A return to work program allows you to keep a skilled employee on your team. This is great for productivity, but it also benefits the employee. Physically, it keeps them active, speeding medical recovery. Emotionally, it puts them back into contact with their co-workers, which can boost morale. It also shows employees you care about their health and well-being.


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