When an injured worker becomes temporarily disabled, forcing them to take time off from their job, the impact can be far reaching. Obviously, the employee has to deal with the physical and emotional ramifications resulting from the injury, however that is just the beginning. With a suddenly vacant position, the employer must now decide whether they will hire a temporary replacement or try to delegate the injured workers’ duties to other employees. In addition to the immediate issues resulting from an accident at work, out-of-pocket expenses and potential increases in workers compensation insurance are realities with which both parties must contend.
Many companies have realized the benefits of offering a transitional work program for injured workers. By providing an injured worker with options beyond sitting at home waiting for full recovery, both parties can benefit. The employee who may be suffering from depression because they feel both helpless and useless, will benefit by having some role in the company- even if it is in a reduced capacity. The employer will benefit by keeping the worker in the fold and feeling a part of the work community. Transitional work will offer the employee an opportunity to recover at their own pace without feeling the pressure to “go back to work” at their regular position. Although the transitional work may not be in the same department as the workers regular job, the employer is benefiting by having some of the work performed by an employee already familiar with the company.
Employers who make the effort to return injured workers to their previous position through transitional work find these programs boost employee morale and create a work environment of which employees want to be a part.