California: Division launches return-to-work campaign to educate small businesses
According to the RAND Corp., both employers and injured workers benefit when employees return to the job quickly after a workplace injury. Comprehensive reforms to California's workers' comp system emphasized proper medical treatment to ensure injured workers return to the job quickly. Specifically, the state developed an incentive program that helps small businesses accomplish this goal by providing up to $2,500 in reimbursements for dollars spent on workplace modifications that bring an injured employee back to the job.
Officials said the "Bring ?em Back" campaign is a user-friendly Web site that provides specific information on how to apply for reimbursement for purchases to help employees continue working while they recover.
About the program. Any employer in California with fewer than 50 full-time employees and whose employee was injured on the job after July 1, 2004 may qualify for reimbursement. Up to $1,250 is available for workplace modifications that bring a temporarily disabled employee back to work and $2,500 for workplace modifications that bring a permanently disabled employee back to work. Reimbursement can be for any of the following expenses, provided they are prescribed by a physician or are reasonably required by work restrictions laid out in a medical report:
- Modification to the work site.
- Any other costs reasonably required to accommodate your employee's restrictions.
The state has provided reimbursement for a platform and extended eyepiece for a biological analyst, custom knee pads for a tile setter, and a computer keyboard tray and document holder for an office administrator.
While the program has some restrictions, division officials said getting reimbursed is as easy as filling out a few short forms and providing receipts. In addition, the DWC's return-to-work experts are available to provide consultations and presentations for employers or employer organizations.
May 14, 2009
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