The wage expense in a Workers' Comp claim is usually the largest cost. Providing a light duty job allows an injured employee to return to work and continue earning their regular wage. The wage loss portion of the claim is then eliminated, which in turn will avoid any negative impact on Workers' Compensation rates. Bringing experienced employees back to work also saves the time and money that would be spent on recruiting and hiring replacements for those who workers who would not return after prolonged absence.
A return to work program can decrease the number of claims which may not be the employer's responsibility. Subjective or illicit claims often cost the most due to the cost of independent medical exams, lengthy investigations, and/or surveillance. Providing a light duty job discourages fraudulent or prolonged claims because employees know they will not be given the option of staying at home and collecting money.
Light duty work maintains communication between an injured worker and their supervisor. This allows the company to consistently know where the worker is in the recovery process. Additionally, injured employees who have been provided a physician-approved light duty job must report for work and take the job seriously. Failing to attend the job may result in termination of wage loss benefits. Being non-compliant with the physician approved duties assigned or specified work hours, may also be grounds for benefit termination. Tasks assigned as part of a return to work program should be taken just as seriously as work performed by every other employee at the company that is not hurt.
Studies have shown that the longer injured employees are away from work, the longer it takes to get them back to work. This happens due to a lack of employee engagement. Injured workers who stay at home are no longer tasked with daily communication with their supervisor or co-workers. They also break out of the habit of traveling to the workplace. Extended amounts of time away from work can even lead to feelings of uselessness or depression. Providing a light duty job keeps the employee working in some capacity, providing them with a continued sense of responsibility and avoiding these issues altogether. Employees who return to a light duty job are also provided a sense of job security and value. They do not have the fear of financial burden to lower their morale.