In Colorado, workers who must miss work due to an injury can eventually return to their jobs once they’ve recovered enough. If they’re unable to perform their regular job duties, the employer can modify their job duties according to recommendations from doctors.
In recent years though, the severe recession has made returning to work especially difficult according to a recently completed study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the WCRI evaluated data on workers’ compensation procedures and outcomes in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, two states with faster and higher return-to-work rates than other states.
In its report, WCRI says “Against a backdrop of high unemployment, some injured workers may face even greater challenges returning to work, potentially leading to increases in the duration of disability.”
Besides making it difficult to reinstate an injured employee’s job, many employers say the recession has made it difficult to offer modified job duties as well.
According to WCRI’s report, employers are even less likely to offer modified light duty during tough times, especially if it means they’ll have to lay off another worker.
If the injured worker decides to seek employment elsewhere, they’re experiencing much difficulty since many employers are hesitant to hire someone with permanent work restrictions.
However, the study also says that despite the challenges, the weak economy has given workers more incentive to return to work as quickly as possible, especially if it’s possible they will lose their temporary disability benefits.