Workers' compensation can be confusing. However, the system is built on one thing: mutual accountability. As an employee, you put trust in your employer and insurer to promptly pay out your benefits. As an employer, you expect your employees to return to work as soon as possible. Everyone expects honesty.
While there are expectations, the workers' compensation system offers disincentives to employees who come back early. Many small businesses have workers' compensation systems that encourage employees to stay out of work as long as possible.
What You Need to Do
As a small business owner, you need to find a way to get your employees back to work as soon as possible. The quicker your employee gets back, the less money your workers' compensation program will cost you.
Here is how to reduce workers' comp costs and incentivize employees to come back quickly:
- Remove All Disincentives
If your employees have no reason to come back to work quickly, they won't. Look into your workers' compensation program and see where you can encourage employees to come back promptly by removing the benefits of staying out of work.
- Get Proactive
Look throughout your company and see how you can make improvements to the workers' compensation system without infringing on your employees’ rights. Many companies find the benefits employees receive when injured to be excessive upon further examination. Once you identify excessive benefits, it's easy to take proactive action and cut them out.
- Be Detailed
Employees will find a way to take advantage of any system – that is just human nature. Thus, you need to clearly communicate all policies regarding work injuries and set firm expectations. Give every employee written procedures and policies the day they are hired. Create guidelines to report an injury.
- Communicate Through the Process
It is imperative that small business owners communicate with the employee throughout the injury, recovery, and return. Find out how your employee is recovering and healing. Get updates. While you should never put pressure on an employee, you need to maintain contact and show support. Then, once the employee comes back, make sure you communicate what they can do through the healing process and what their transitional duties will be.
- Contest Claims If Need Be
If you believe one of your employees is abusing the system, do not be afraid to contest the claims that come in. This is especially true if the employee is non-compliant or seems to be extending the disability too much. Small business owners should also contest claims where new conditions develop after the injury. Just understand that contesting a claim will often require investigations, documentation, and medical examinations. These things will often require your resources as the business owner.
Encourage Your Employees to Work
The best way to manage your workers' compensation costs is through encouraging employees to get back to work. If you remove the incentive to stay away from work, you'll find employees come back faster than ever before. If you keep offering excessive incentives to employees who don't come back to work, your costs will continue to rise.
Have an employee or two abusing their right to workers compensation? Contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc. at (718) 267-6600 to voice your concerns.