Disability management programs are sometimes referred to as "return to work programs". There are differences between these two terms, but for the purpose of this blog, they can be viewed as the same. There are many reasons why an organization should have a disability management program, some are described below:
Financial - Over the last twenty years, the duration of WCB claims has doubled. Add to that an increase in short and long term disability rates, and you have a costly situation. Research shows that for every dollar spent on direct costs, at least an equal amount is spent on indirect costs including overtime, additional supervision, hiring and training costs, and loss of productivity. For many organizations, these costs account for 20 percent of annual payroll.
Retention of Skilled Workforce - With today's labour market shortages, it is in the best interest of employers to retain their most skilled workers. These individuals have a wealth of knowledge about the corporation and the job, and by retaining these individuals, the employer maintains the knowledge base of the organization. Employees continue performing meaningful work, maintaining their income levels and securing their future pensions.
Increased Competitiveness - Today's global economy forces companies to offer the best products and services at the lowest cost. A company that can contain costs related to disabilities has an advantage. Large and small companies alike have found that by implementing sound return to work policies, they reduced costs and have become more competitive on the national and world markets.
Legal - The duty to accommodate injured and ill workers in the workplace is not an option, but a requirement under Canadian federal and provincial laws. The Canadian Human Rights Commission indicates that when an employer is approached with a request for accommodation, they are expected to:
- determine what barriers might affect the person requesting the accommodation;
- explore options for removing those barriers; and
- accommodate to the point of undue hardship.
Has you organization considered the value of creating workplace policy around Disability Managment / Return to Work plans. Many insurers offers tools and resources that can help facilitate these programs as well as provide educational materials to employees.
Talk to your trusted advisor to learn more about how to incorporate a strategy into your plan.