Early and safe return to work
Return to work is a process that occurs when a worker suffers an injury or illness to help them stay at work and/or return to work as soon as functionally possible. The process can occur at the same time as the worker receives medical and rehabilitation treatment to improve their overall recovery. It starts as soon as the worker receives medical care.
We can help you and your employer at all stages of return to work. We have lots of experience integrating workers back into the workforce and we’re here to help.
Benefits of return to workReturn to work is beneficial to you, your employer and the compensation system as a whole.
For you as an injured worker, return to work:
- supports a safe return to the workplace as soon as possible;
- helps to preserve your pre-injury earning capacity;
- helps with your physical, social and mental healing and recovery;
- prevents the negative consequences of long-term absence;
- keeps your pre-injury skills;
- identifies suitable work; and
- bolsters your dignity and self-esteem.
Roles and responsibilities
We, you and your employer have responsibilities for return to work. Everyone on the return-to-work team has a role to play.
- Work with your employer to develop and participate in your return-to-work plan.
- Accept suitable work when it is identified.
- Talk to your health care providers about your work tasks and what you are able to do while you recover.
- Attend all scheduled appointments and follow the set treatment plan.
- Keep your employer informed about your recovery.
- Keep us informed about your progress.
- Provide creative opportunities for accommodating an injured worker’s functional abilities. As well, by participating in the case management team, the employer can help to facilitate and shape the stay-at-work or the return-to-work plan.
- Stay in contact with you, the worker, during your recovery period.
- Help create a return-to-work plan.
- Determine if suitable work is compatible with your capabilities and, where possible, if it pays the same.
- Provide us with any information about your return to work.
Workers' Safety and Compensation Board
- Monitor your recovery.
- Explore return-to-work options with you, your employer and health care providers.
- Assist all parties in the process for early and safe return to work.
- Establish a case management team, if necessary.
- Co-ordinate medical services and loss of earnings benefits.
- Mediate disputes, when required.
Health care providers
- Advise you about your medical recovery and provide the Functional Abilities Form.
- Provide treatment and other services necessary for your recovery.
- Provide a report to us.
- Work closely with other health care providers involved, if applicable, to facilitate your safe and timely return to employment.
Return-to-Work Guide for Employers
To help employers with the return-to-work process, we have published the Return-to-Work Guide for Employers and accompanying handy rack card.
The guide outlines the six steps for the employer to follow from the moment a worker is injured until they fully return to work. It also provides tools and best practices for achieving ideal return-to-work outcomes.
Contact us for more information or assistance.