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Getting workers back after illness, injury

Posted on November 20th, 2012 Read time: 2 minutes

Human resources departments are tasked with many responsibilities such as providing benefits, controlling payroll and screening potential new hires. One aspect of human resources obligations that is often overlooked is ensuring workers returning back to the company after experiencing a serious illness or injury undergo the transition smoothly and the company remains compliant with employer regulations.

If a company offers medical leave, disability coverage or other such benefits to employees, human resources departments must be prepared to follow through on these protections. When an employee has to leave work for a prolonged period of time due to health-related issues and certain benefits are in place, the worker is protected from being terminated on the basis of absenteeism, and accommodations must be made to aid in the transition. If a company fails to remain compliant with hiring regulations and employee protections, executives could face a serious lawsuit alleging discrimination or other illegal activity. The lawsuit can not only hurt the company's bottom line but also send a message to current and potential employees that the company does not care about its staff, Home Channel News reported.

When an employee is injured or sick, the lost manpower translates to significant cuts in productivity and revenue for a company. The work can often be transferred onto other workers, which could damage morale and strain resources. As a result, it should be a goal of human resources departments to get these workers back to the office with return-to-work programs.

When implementing these projects, companies should look to reduce costs related to workers' compensation, disability and medical insurance, while ensuring protections are guaranteed. Human resources departments can save money on hiring and training replacement workers by helping staff get back to work faster, and make adjustments to allow for remote connectivity to operations while they are recovering.

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