Is there anything specific to the COVID situation that we should keep in mind with RTW?
- With a valid, reasonably continuous job in place, workers who were furloughed due to COVID were paid unemployment rather than time-loss. This is beneficial to you as an employer because unemployment is less expensive than time-loss.
- With the above in mind, it’s unclear what will happen next. Unfortunately, we have already seen a second shutdown. If there are workers on time-loss who have not been offered valid, reasonably continuous work, we will want to explore getting that in place as soon as we can.
Are there any new RTW opportunities that COVID may provide?
- Employers have been very successful with sanitizing positions. Some companies are still able to get workers back to work with Door Greeting/Sanitizing positions—even if their lobbies are closed—to give delivery drivers access.
- Employers can utilize workers with restrictions to check temperatures.
- Employers can utilize workers with restrictions to update the COVID policies and make sure that mandates are being followed.
Are there any RTW challenges specific to COVID?
There are quite a few challenges with the biggest being that some employers are not open or are open with extremely limited capacity. This is going to be a tough time-period and what you want to do is prevent as much time-loss as possible so that these claims don’t affect the bottom line for longer than they should.
There will be some employees who don’t want to come back to work for fear of contracting the virus. If this is the case, the worker should not continue to get time-loss. When work is offered, the employee is free to make a choice to accept or decline. With either decision, the worker is then no longer eligible for time-loss payments.