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  3. What is a Return to Work Program?

As an injured or ill worker, you understand the challenges associated with filing a workers’ compensation claim. You have to live on less income. You worry about returning to work. And, you may be concerned about losing your job if your absence is too long. In this post, we’re going to address Return to Work programs and how they are intended to help alleviate these valid concerns.

“Employers of all sizes need to pay attention to safety and the cost of workplace accidents to workers as well as to the employer’s bottom line. While accident prevention is the best way to reduce overall injury costs, an effective workplace Return to Work (RTW) Program is the best way to manage cost and improve recovery after an injury has occurred,” says the New York Workers’ Compensation Board.

For the employer, the longer the injured employee is away from the workplace, the higher the costs for the employer and their insurance carrier. These added costs include: lost productivity, overtime for other employees who are have to step in, increased insurance premiums, lowered morale, and of course, the hiring and training costs associated with hiring a new employee to replace the injured one.


As an injured employee, you may have not realized that your absence can cost your employer a lot of money, but it certainly can impact their bottom line. They DO care that you’re not there and you are missed.

Recognizing this costly issue, the Board encourages New York employers to establish Return to Work programs, which are early assistance programs that help injured employees return to work as soon as they are physically able.

According to the Board, practical experience and research has found that:

  • After a six-month absence, there’s only a 50% chance that the employee will return to work.
  • After a one-year absence, there’s only a 25% chance that an injured employee will return to work.
  • After a two-year absence from the job, there’s only a 1% chance the employee will return to work.
  • When an employer reaches out early and assists the injured employee, it allows the employee to maintain a positive connection with the employer.
  • RTW programs have shown to help relieve the fears and concerns experienced by employees receiving workers’ compensation.

If you were recently injured in a workplace accident or if you’re sick because of an occupational disease, you probably have questions and concerns about returning to work, which our Long Island workers’ compensation attorneys can help you with. To file a claim for compensation, contact us to schedule a free consultation.