Every successful return to work program is based on productive and positive relationships in an organization. When all stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities, these relationships are easy to develop. Stakeholders include the employer, the injured worker, co-workers and the WCB.
What Is My Role as an Employer in a Return to Work Program?
As the employer, you are responsible to:
- Offer safe and suitable modified or alternate duties that are within the worker’s functional abilities
- Be flexible and tailor the return to work plan to meet the worker’s individual needs in their recovery
- Keep in touch with injured workers and the WCB throughout the return to work process – checking in with injured workers throughout their recovery helps them maintain a connection with the workplace and shows that they are valued
- Ensure supervisors and co-workers support injured workers during recovery and participate in the return to work process
- Educate your workforce on why return to work is good for business and outline the expectations for supporting a worker in a modified or accommodated role
- Outline the process your staff are to follow if they are injured at work.
The most successful return to work plans are those where the employer also has a designated contact person or return to work coordinator. This individual is the single point of contact with the WCB to ensure consistent handling and timely intervention.
What Is the Role of the WCB?
The WCB is here to work with you while you develop your return to work program. We are committed to providing a positive experience for you and your staff to ensure a timely and successful return to work. We will:
- Provide you (the employer) with the injured or ill worker’s functional abilities as soon as they are known
- Monitor the return to work plan and assist with wage loss payments
- Provide assistance if you or the worker requires financial or technical support to fulfill the return to work plan
- Facilitate and attend return to work meetings as required
- Become involved when concerns are raised about the return to work process or when there is a dispute about a worker's abilities or the work they are being asked to perform
- Determine if you have met your re-employment obligations.
What Is the Role of the Worker?
We expect workers to participate in their recovery and return to work:
- Take an active part in the return to work plan as agreed during all discussions
- Work and engage with the return to work plan provided by their employer
- Attend all healthcare appointments and follow the prescribed treatment plan
- Tell their healthcare provider about the type of work they usually do and that modified or alternate duties are available
- Return the requested Functional Abilities Forms in the time outlined by their employer
- Keep in touch with their employer and their WCB contact person to let them know about any medical changes or updates to their condition.
Where to Go Next
- Self-Evaluator – Take our quick and easy return to work self-evaluator quiz to assess your program and get direction on next steps!
- Key Principles for an Effective Return to Work Program – This guide outlines the key principles and best practices to ensure you have an effective return to work program in place to meet your organization’s needs.
- Return to Work Map – A quick snapshot to remind you of the key principles of return to work and the simple steps to follow during the return to work process for an injured worker.
- Sample Documents – Get samples of recommended return to work documents as discussed in Key Principles for an Effective Return to Work Program.
- Training – Sign up for our free monthly workshops to learn the basics of workers compensation and principles of return to work.