An Employer's Guide to Administrating Modified Duty
An Employer's Guide to Administrating Modified Duty
Over 2.8 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses occur in the private sector of the workforce every year. At least 0.9 per 100 employees losing at least 1 day off of work.
Worker's compensation claims are costly. The total claims for all forms of injury add up to $41,003.
Modified duty is the way to get employees back in the workplace without straining them or facing these high costs. It involves performing less strenuous tasks, allowing employees to remain in the workplace.
It's up to the employer to decide what tasks to have their employees perform. The more meaningful they are, the more likely the program is to maintain employees and improve morale.
A modified duty program is one of the best things you can do to help injured employees and reinstate those who've been absent. Read our guide to learn what modified duty means, the benefits it provides, and how to implement it using our Light Duty Pathway® program.
What Is Modified Duty?
Developing a complete modified duty plan allows you to understand how the process can benefit you and your business.
Modified duty is also known as light duty. It involves placing employees with work restrictions on less physically and/or mentally demanding jobs.
The employer is responsible for developing a modified duty plan. It must be approved by a doctor and accepted by each employee who wants to utilize it.
Modified duty means a better workplace for all, inclusive of your injured workers while ensuring they don't reinjure themselves in the future. It's worth considering for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Benefits of Modified Duty
Modified duty benefits both the employer and their employees. The employer helps get associates back to work faster while providing them a better experience.
Modified duty programs are one of the best things you can do for the success of your business due to the wide-ranging benefits they provide. These programs are the best return-to-work methods for several reasons.
Modified duty has several benefits for the employer. These include minimizing turnover, improving relations, increasing productivity, maintaining compliance, and reducing costs.
Injured employees are more likely to stop working, leading to the need to hire and train new employees to fill their position. Modified duty reduces turnover by giving them a place and ensuring they still feel productive for the company.
A modified duty program with appropriate, meaningful tasks makes injured employees feel needed and cared for. This will improve morale and help them work more productively.
OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a set of guidelines every employer must follow. Those were released 30 years ago and are based on 7 key elements:
Hazard Identification and Assessment
Hazard Prevention and Control
Education and Training
Program Evaluation and Improvement
Communication and Coordination for Host Employers, Contractors, and Staffing Agencies
Modified duty programs can help you follow this and other regulations in your area. This prevents you from having to deal with costly fines and other legal issues.
The costs associated with handling an injured worker add up fast. These costs can include increased disability, medical payments, litigation, and increased insurance premiums.
Modified duty reduces these costs by getting employees back to work sooner. In some states, you may be reimbursed up to 50% of each worker's wages.
Modified duty also benefits employees. It does so by increasing job security, reducing social isolation, and improving skill retention.
Jobs are difficult to obtain in the modern economy, and lost-time due to an injury makes this even more difficult. Modified duty increases job security by ensuring each employee has a job to return to as they recover. It also keeps employees from losing the essential skills they've gained.
Injured employees who have to undergo extended absences may lose their connection to their coworkers and the company itself. This can lead to a sense of social isolation that can translate into less productive work and prolonged withdrawal. Modified duty prevents this issue by keeping the associate in the office and connected to everything your company stands for.
Modified duty tasks teach and reinforce new and familiar skills. Repeating them for a short length of time helps retention, ensuring employees perform effectively for years to come.
How to Implement Modified Duty
Modified duty is not a process that all businesses implement, and this is in part because of the effort it takes to do it correctly. The benefits of a safe and accommodating workplace are worth the time to implement the process to help you get the best results.
Beginning to use modified duty is a multi-step process. It involves setting up the system, creating a plan, getting it approved by doctors and employees, beginning the work, monitoring it, and transitioning employees back to regular work.
The good news is that Light Duty Pathway® removes all the guesswork and handles all 5 steps so that you don’t have to follow the traditional, time-consuming implementation of modified duty work.
Step 1: Set Up a System
Anything as complex as monitored duty requires a complete system to help you manage it. There needs to be a system that can help you manage each employee and see how they're doing.
Setting up a modified duty system is easy when you use Light Duty Pathway®. It takes less than 5-minutes and allows you to check on their progress at any time.
Subscribing to Light Duty Pathway before an injury occurs so that you’ll be ready should the need arise. Implementation of modified duty work has never been simpler.
Step 2: Develop a Plan
It's the employee's responsibility to determine what qualifies as light-duty work, what their employees should perform, and how often. This requires the development of a careful plan.
Consider what tasks each employee will perform each day given their medical restrictions. Ensure that they're purposeful and paired with safety training. This helps you avoid a lack of motivation from employees and prevent future accidents and injuries.
Light Duty Pathway® includes videos, quizzes, and interactive activities. Other types of modified duty work you may want to consider include job site supervisors or recorders, administrative tasks, inventory, maintenance, monitoring surveillance cameras, and janitorial work.
Step 3: Get the Plan Approved
Not every modified work plan can be instated. It must be approved by professionals and employees before it can be used in your business.
The employee's doctor must sign off on your plan before it can be put into practice to ensure the associate doesn’t find themself unable to perform the task required.
Once you have a plan approved by the doctor and put into place, the employees must sign off on necessary paperwork as well. You must show them a modified duty agreement form.
This piece of paperwork should give as much detail about what the employee will be expected to do as possible. It should include a modified duty job description, hours, pay, and more.
Workers do have the right to reject your modified duty plan. This only applies if they haven't exhausted their FMLA or Family Medical or Leave Act benefits. If they do reject it, consider going back to Step 2 and reassessing it to see where it's weak and proposing it to them again at a later date.
Step 4: Begin and Monitor the Work
If the employee does accept your plan, it's time to have them begin their modified duty work. They should perform their new tasks with as much vigor as their normal work.
You must ensure that every modified duty worker completes each task assigned to them. Light Duty Pathway® makes this easy by allowing you to check their progress with a few clicks.
Step 5: Transition Back to Regular Work
No employee can stay on modified work forever, and you must prepare for transitioning them back to their previous job. Have a plan in place for where they'll work and if they'll need any additional accommodations to perform as before.
A complete modified work plan will keep your business running efficiently and improve employee morale. They'll appreciate the effort you made to ensure they felt useful during their injury, and your business will benefit from the positive morale.
How to Sign Up for Light Duty Pathway®
Light or modified duty is a way to respond to the large number of injured employees and lost days of work. It involves placing employees in less strenuous tasks that benefit your business and keep them feeling valued.
Instating a modified duty plan is a multi-step process. It begins by getting the best possible software and developing a plan for what tasks each worker should perform. After having it approved by each employee and their doctors, they'll perform their work while being overseen by you until they heal and can transition back to their regular work.
Light Duty Pathway® is the best program to simplify modified duty in your business. Browse our plans and pricing to choose the best option for your business today.