Iowa – Written Return to Work Offer
A written return to work offer, also known as a light-duty return to work or transitional work offer, outlines the new duties of an injured worker until they are back to 100% of their previous working capacity. When it is possible for an employee to return to work with reduced duties, or in a different capacity than when they left due to a worker’s compensation claim, it is required that a written offer is made. Having a written return to work offer policy in place is not only required by the law, but it will also help save your business money and allow your workplace to remain productive after having an injured worker with a claim filed.
The law in Iowa was changed in 2017, which stipulates an offer needs to be placed in writing to the injured worker as to what their job will entail. This allows for a business to transition workers to multiple locations if need be. If an injured worker was previously a truck driver, for instance, and there is a corporate office they can work at with light duties, the law now allows for them to be able to continue to work in a different capacity. If an employee is given a return to work offer and refuses, that means the employee will no longer get weekly wage indemnity payment that the insurance company has been sending them.
From a cost-containment major this makes it imperative for a business to not only have a return to work policy, but that they make the offer in writing to the injured worker. The injured worker is not required to accept the offer, but the cost of them refusing the offer is they are no longer going to receive an indemnity payment because they choose not to work.
Create a Return to Work Program
When creating a program for your business in regards to returning injured workers to the workplace, you will need to create a detailed outline of what duties can be managed by injured persons. If you have more than one location, or you are a business that runs multiple types of businesses under your umbrella, identify any light-duty positions a person can take on. Having this outline will help in the event that a worker is injured, and allow them to return to work in less time than it would typically take to return to their previous position.
Allowing an injured worker to return in an alternate capacity than previous to their injury will reduce the burden on your worker’s compensation policy and help reduce your mod. Doing so will save you money on future premiums. Even if the employee refuses the return to work offer, you are reducing the cost burden and providing the employee with a viable option to continue receiving payment for employment.
See our forms library for additional resources on creating a return to work program for transitional work offers.
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