RTW Showcase: Post-Return Support

Tasha Patterson@Work

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RTW Support Does Not Stop the Day an Employee Returns to Work

By Carrie Bibens, MBA, CRC

Director, Clinical Vocational and Accommodation Services, Group & Voluntary Claims
Sun Life

Regardless of the reason for an employee’s absence from work, an employer’s efforts to establish a culture of support can have a large, positive impact on successful return to work (RTW).

The employer’s role in the RTW process begins with established procedures, which might involve human resources (HR), risk management, or leave administration; each area communicates support and contributes to the RTW process. Industry research, surveys, and experience all tell us that RTW programs make an impact. Monitoring after return to work is equally important.

Employer planning creates more success when it includes clear expectations of the employee, such as when to contact their employer, which person to contact, and what to expect upon their return. A key piece that can be overlooked is the manager follow-up to verify how things are going for the returning employee on day one, week one, and so forth. Regardless of whether an employee returns to full duty or needs ongoing support during a transition, an employer’s role does not end the day that employee returns to work. It is important to have an RTW plan with active monitoring to confirm the plan is executed effectively.

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