What is a Return to Work Program?

Return to work programs, true to their name, are a set of protocols and guidelines to help injured workers reintegrate into their employment position after they have taken time off due to injury or illness.

If you value your employees, you should know that the longer an injured worker is off work, the less likely they are to return. On average, if a worker is off for 12 or more weeks, there is only a 50% chance that they will return to the same job. If they’re off for more than 1 year, there is a less than 5% chance they return to the same job. Developing a coherent return to work program will help you keep your valued employees and ensure that they have a job after recovery. Here, we’ll go over two questions: “what are the benefits of a return to work program for an employer?” and “how does a return to work program benefit an injured worker?”

We’ll also give you some insights on how you can start creating your own program.

Benefits of a Return to Work Program for Employers

 1.   Lower cost.

The most appealing benefit for employers is that a return to work program will actually save a lot of money in the long run. Lower workers’ compensation costs eliminate the need for a new hire. This is more crucial than most think — keep in mind that hiring a new employee in place of an injured one costs both time and money. Collecting resumes, going through the interview/hiring process, training and bringing that new employee up-to-speed can take several months. A previously-injured and already-established employee could be fully recovered and already back at work by the time your new hire is at full productivity.

Another often overlooked cost-saving mechanism of return to work programs is that even if the injured employee were to work part-time until they’re fully recovered, they would collect fewer disability benefits while still contributing to your organization’s success. This is a major contributor of lowering workers comp costs.

2.  Reduce staff turnover rate.

Because you won’t need to hire new staff and expend time and resources to train them, you’re reducing the risk of staff turnover. The cost of turnover is largely dependent on the industry and the position. But some experts identify a correlation in how specialized the job is and the cost of replacing that position. For midrange to executive level positions, it’s estimated that hiring and training a new employee can cost anywhere between 9 months – 2 years of that position’s salary.

3.  Increase morale.

Employees want to know that, in exchange for giving you their time and effort, you have their backs. Injuries and illnesses happen — it’s just a fact of life. But tossing trusted employees by the wayside when misfortune strikes isn’t a good business practice for multiple reasons.

First off, if employees can’t trust you to be there for them in their time of need, they won’t give you their best work. By having a return to work program in place and educating the staff on how it works and what to expect, you’re telling them, “we value you and your skillset. It’s not a problem if you need time for recovery — get well and you’ll have a job waiting for you when you’re ready.” It may not sound like a lot, but this small validation and sign of care goes a long way in building mutual trust, improving staff morale and ultimately increasing productivity.

Read more about “The Power of a Phone Call.”

Benefits of a Return to Work Program for Injured Workers

1.  Relieves stress and uncertainty.

Having a return to work program eliminates all elements of uncertainty and stress for the injured worker. If there’s no established return to work protocol in place, an employee that experiences injury or illness will wonder: How will I pay the bills? Should I start job hunting? Should I try going back to work before full recovery? Is my boss already interviewing new candidates? Constant stress about job security and income aren’t very good recovery methods. A properly implemented return to work program will let the employees rest easy, knowing there’s still a place for them when they get better, allowing them to focus their attention on recovering and getting back to normal.

2.  Creates a sense of normalcy.

As stated above, return to work programs create a sense of normalcy for the injured or sick worker. By helping the employee focus on their return instead of their current condition, it retains their self worth. Depending on the situation, there might be room for the employee to come back to work before full recovery, even in a lesser capacity — working part-time, doing less stressful duties, etc. This more effectively helps them realize what they can and can’t do, making them feel useful and creating a smoother transition back into the workforce.

Ultimately, these programs take a giant weight off the employees’ backs so they can focus on recovering and not having to worry about how they’re going to pay the bills. Stress inhibits recovery, so guaranteeing that they’ll have employment and making seamless transitions between work and recovery go a long way in employee morale and productivity.

How to Develop Your Own Return to Work Program

The ultimate goal of a return to work program is to return injured workers to their jobs in a timely and medically safe manner. Most injured workers, when given the opportunity, can perform modified applications of their normal jobs, perform alternate duty work, and/or work reduced hours at adjusted wages.

So how do you begin your return to work program? In 7 easy steps:

For more information on how to develop your own return to work program, see our webinar on the topic or get in touch .

Download a free copy of your “Workers Compensation Return to Work Program Handbook.”

We will help your business design the best possible program to keep your business costs low and your productivity high! Find your local independent Society agent .

return to work benefits

February 3, 2021

Why early return-to-work benefits your employees and bottom line

Did you know that the longer an employee is off work due to an on-the-job injury, the less likely it becomes that the employee will ever return to work?

That's why employers and injured workers benefit from strong return-to-work programs. Even if injured employees can’t return to their regular jobs right away, bringing them back as soon as possible by providing modified-duty tasks or reduced hours helps them:

Employers benefit by bringing injured employees back to work as soon as they’re medically able because it:

Past workers’ compensation claims affect future premiums

You probably know that your loss history is taken into account when calculating your workers’ compensation premium, but you may not know exactly how it works.

Your state’s rating bureau calculates an experience modification factor (e-mod for short) for each employer over a certain minimum premium level.

If your loss history is average for your class of business, your e-mod will be 1. If it’s better than average, it will be less than one. Because your e-mod is used as a multiplier when calculating your premium, a better-than-average e-mod will lower your premium.

For more details on this, see our CompTalk on e-mods .

Preventing lost-time claims pays off

When calculating an e-mod, not all claim costs are treated equally.

If a claim remains medical-only, meaning the injured worker does not receive wage-replacement (also called lost-time) benefits, claim costs are discounted by 70 percent.

To keep a claim medical-only, you must bring the employee back to work before your state’s waiting period ends. The waiting periods are:

Split-point increases make return-to-work more important

When total costs for an individual claim rise above a split point that’s set by each state annually, those costs are also discounted for the purposes of calculating your e-mod.

The split point ranges from $17,000-$18,000 in SFM’s core states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota.

Example: How return-to-work impacts future premium

If you can bring an employee back to work before the waiting period ends, the impact of the claim on your e-mod and future workers’ compensation premiums will be significantly less.

Here’s an example:

Consider two assisted living facilities, each with about 13 employees and currently paying about $23,000 in workers’ compensation premium.

A certified nursing assistant at the first facility slips and falls while working. Her medical bills total $7,500, but she is able to start doing light-duty work filing and answering phones before the state’s waiting period ends, so the claim remains medical-only.

At the second facility, another nursing assistant has a similar accident, but her employer does not provide light-duty work, and she ends up receiving some workers’ compensation benefits for lost pay. The combined cost for her medical expenses and lost-time compensation total $7,500.

Although the total cost for both claims is the same, the impact on their respective employers’ workers’ compensation costs are very different, because only 30 percent of the medical-only claim impacts the employer's e-mod, compared with 100 percent of the lost-time claim.

What does this mean for these employers’ workers' compensation premiums? The claim that remained medical-only would cost the employer $2,850 over three years in terms of increased premium. To compare, the lost-time claim would cost the employer $9,494 over three years!

How to start a return-to-work program

If you don’t have a return-to-work program already, follow these four steps to start one:

1. Draft your policy.

Formally state that your company intends to bring injured employees back to work as soon as they’re medically able, and will provide adaptations or light-duty work when needed. For guidance, see SFM’s sample return-to-work program .

2. Appoint a claims coordinator.

This is an individual tasked with overseeing workers’ compensation claims and return to work. Have this person develop a plan for reporting injuries and communicate it to supervisors and employees. Having step-by-step instruction sheets around helps a lot. For more details, see SFM’s Comp Talk on claims coordinator duties .

3. Select a primary care clinic.

Establish a good working relationship with a local clinic where the physicians understand occupational medicine and return-to-work. If possible, meet with doctors at your preferred clinic to give them an overview of your organization and tell them you are committed to returning employees to work as soon as they are medically able. Suggest that your employees go there if they’re injured. Note that in most states, employees have the right to choose where to have their injuries treated.

4. Identify transitional jobs.

Transitional or modified-duty jobs provide opportunities for your employees to return to work even when medical restrictions prevent them from doing their regular jobs. That might mean having an injured employee work in a different department temporarily. To come up with ideas ask your managers, “What would you do if you had an extra pair of hands?”. For more ideas, check out our lists of transitional jobs broken down by industry .

See our infographic on return-to-work below:

Return to work infographic describing the benefits of return-to-work (faster recovery, reduced wage loss and less chance of litigation) and the fours steps to take.

This is not intended to serve as legal advice for individual fact-specific legal cases or as a legal basis for your employment practices.

Related posts

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Waiting periods

What they mean for bringing employees back to work

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Light-duty job ideas

Free return-to-work resources provide ideas for light-duty jobs

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Prevent re-injury

Keep your employees safe after they return to work


return to work benefits

18 Benefits of Using Return to Work Programs

Return to work programs help you get injured employees back to their normal or modified job duties as quickly and safely as possible.

Instead of paying for workers’ compensation costs and lost work days, you’ll save money by paying your employees their normal wages for doing light-duty work that the company needs done anyway. You’ll also be able to keep them on their regular work schedules, which is proven to increase their likelihood of returning to regular working duties sooner.

Benefits for Your Company

Return to work programs reduce employees’ days away from work, allow them to recover more quickly and foster a more positive work environment. Implementing a return to work program can benefit your company financially by:

Your company can benefit from a return to work program in other ways, including:

Benefits for Your Employees

Return to work programs don’t just benefit your company—they benefit your employees, too. Implementing a return to work program for injured employees communicates care and concern, and shows your employees that you value their well-being and want them back on the job as soon as possible. They benefit in the following ways:

Get Your Program Going

Many companies fail to implement return to work programs because they don’t have the resources or expertise to get started. Return to work programs must be organized and implemented efficiently. If you need additional articles, forms, policies, or even an evaluation/recommendation from our risk management team, please contact a member of the Assurance ‘A’ Team.

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Benefits of a Return to Work Program

Ask your workers comp insurer for help setting up your rtw program, advantages for employers, benefits for employees, where to find help, getting employees back to work, finalizing your policy, monitoring your program.

A return to work (RTW) program is a plan established by a business to return injured employees to the workplace as soon as they are medically able.   The goal is to enable injured employees to be productive during their recuperation and to maintain a connection to the workplace. An RTW program offers advantages to both the business and its workers.

Here are some ways an RTW program can benefit your business:

An RTW program also offers benefits to employees.

Suppose you want to create an RTW program for your small business. Where should you start? A logical place to begin is your workers compensation insurer. Many insurers offer advice and instructions on setting up a program. Some, like Employers Insurance, offer a structured RTW program.  

Another useful resource is the website for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor. ODEP offers a Return to Work Tool-Kit that can help you understand the return to work process.   It also provides a free service called the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN can help you choose suitable workplace accommodations that comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).   This is important since employees who have suffered on-the-job injuries may qualify as disabled under the law.

In addition to the ADA, an RTA program must comply with the Family Medical Leave Act, OSHA standards, and state workers compensation statutes.

Some employers can get help setting up an RTW program from a state agency. For example, the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation (CHSWC) offers an easy-to-read RTW handbook for small businesses.   Similarly, the Texas Department of Insurance provides detailed instructions on how to set up an RTW program.  

The purpose of an RTW program is to get injured employees back to the workplace as quickly as possible. To fulfill that goal, the program must have clearly-written procedures outlining the specific actions your staff will take from the time an injury occurs until the employee returns to the workplace. The following six steps are the CHSWC's best practices for returning injured employees to work:  

Note that each of the six steps described above will require written instructions so your staff members clearly understand what they are expected to do. For instance, the person who analyzes an injured worker's job will need instruction on how to distinguish essential job functions from non-essential functions. Similarly, the person who evaluates accommodations will need instruction on how to go about the process.

Your supervisory staff will require training on how to properly interact with employees who may be disabled and require an accommodation.

Once you've created your RTW procedures, you'll need staff to carry them out. Your first task is to enlist a trusted employee to serve as the Return to Work Coordinator. This individual will oversee the program and ensure that all employees and staff members perform their assigned roles.

Your next task is to divide the responsibilities outlined above among several staff members. For example, a human resources manager might be responsible for explaining the RTW program to an injured worker and helping him or her to fill out workers compensation claims forms. The worker's department manager might be responsible for helping the worker choose an appropriate accommodation.

Before implementing your RTW program, you'll need to evaluate each job and identify its essential tasks. If an injured worker cannot complete essential tasks, even with an accommodation, he or she cannot return to that job.

Once your RTW program has been implemented, you'll need to monitor its results to ensure it's working as you intended. Your program will be successful only if all participants are fulfilling their responsibilities. For example, physicians treating your injured workers should be communicating effectively with you and your insurer regarding the workers' physical condition, their capabilities, and any work restrictions they need.

IRMI." Return-To-Work Program ." Accessed May 21, 2020.

Hartford Insurance. " How Is Workers' Comp Calculated? " Accessed May 22, 2020.

Employers Insurance. " EMPLOYERS Return to Work Program ." Accessed May 25, 2020.

Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy. " Return-to-Work Toolkit for Employees & Employers ." Accessed May 22, 2020.

Job Accommodation Network. " Practical Solutions – Workplace Success ." Accessed May 22, 2020.

State of California Department of Industrial Relations. " Helping Injured Employees Return to Work ." Accessed May 22, 2020.

Texas Department of Insurance. " Return to Work Works ." Accessed May 22, 2020.

State of California Department of Industrial Relations. " Helping Injured Employees Return to Work, " Pages 6-10. Accessed May 22, 2020.

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Accident Prevention Program

Workers Compensation FAQs

The Kansas Department of Labor Workers Compensation Division is responsible for the administration of the Kansas Workers Compensation laws and rules. The division focuses on ensuring employees injured at work, employers, health care providers and insurance carriers receive timely, impartial and fair claim resolution.  

Injured Workers

I’ve been injured at work. what should i do.

Get medical help. Many injuries can become serious if not treated. Get first aid at your workplace. If necessary, go to the emergency room or health-care provider of your choice and tell them you were injured at work. Notify your employer immediately. Refer to the Workers Compensation Rights and Responsibilities (K-WC 40-A) guide below for more information about what to do if you are injured at work.

Do I need to file with the state?

No. Unless you are a state employee, your employer’s workers compensation insurance carrier should file with the state and pay your claim.

Will the state pay my claim?

Unless you are a state employee, the state of Kansas does not administer or pay workers compensation claims. In most cases, the claim will be paid by your employer's workers compensation insurance carrier. Your employer should be able to provide you with the name and contact information for the payer of the claims.

I am currently off work. How much of a weekly benefit will I receive?

The weekly benefits are based on 66.67% of your average weekly wage up to a maximum of 75 percent of the state's average weekly wage.

When will I begin receiving my weekly check?

Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits are not paid during the first seven days of lost time. If you are off work for 21 consecutive days or more, the first seven days will be paid to you. All days are calendar days, not working days.

What medical treatment can I expect to receive?

You are entitled to medical treatment reasonably necessary to cure and relieve the effects of the work-related injury. This would include diagnostic services and treatments such as surgery, physical therapy and any prescriptions. There are no deductibles or co-payments and no maximum limit. The employer/insurance carrier has the right to select an authorized treating provider.

Will I be compensated for any missed time from work for doctors appointments as well as my travel?

The employer/insurance carrier is not required by statute to pay the employee for time off work in order to seek medical treatment. You are, however, entitled to reimbursement for travel for medical-related mileage, providing the round trip is five miles or more. The mileage is reimbursed by the employer's workers compensation carrier.

I've been offered a settlement, how do I know if it is the correct amount by law?

There are two calculators (Currently Unavailable) on our website for calculating a final settlement. For more questions, you can also e-mail [email protected] . We can walk you through the calculations to better understand your settlement. Remember, a settlement offer will not be made until the authorized physician releases you from care.

I'm dissatisfied with the authorized treating physician. Can I seek a second opinion or see another provider for treatment?

You may seek medical services from an unauthorized provider. The services of the provider can be sought without application or approval. There is a $500.00 limit for the medical treatment payable by the insurer if your claim is compensable. The unauthorized medical allowance cannot be used to obtain a second disability rating.

I still need help. Who should I contact?

Yes, the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation provides assistance and information. You can contact them at (800) 332-0353 , (785) 296-4000 or [email protected] . The office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What is Workers Compensation insurance?

It is an insurance policy that is provided by the employer (by law) to pay employee benefits for job-related injuries, disability or death. The present law covers all Kansas employers except for those in certain agricultural pursuits or those with a gross annual payroll of $20,000 or less. All payroll is taken into account, including that paid in Kansas or elsewhere. If the employer is a sole proprietor or a partnership, the wages paid to the owners and any of their family members are not used in the computation of the gross annual payroll. Per K.A.R. 51-11-6, the provision in K.S.A. 44-505 excluding the payroll of workers who are members of the employer’s family shall not apply to corporate employers. A corporate employer’s payroll for purposes of determining whether the employer is subject to the workers compensation act shall be determined by the total amount of payroll paid to all corporate employees even when a corporate employee has elected out of the workers compensation act pursuant to K.S.A. 44-543.

Who is considered an employee under Kansas statutes?

Under the definition of   K.S.A. 44-508(b) , a 'Workman' or 'Employee' or 'worker' means any person who has entered into the employment of or works under any contract of service or apprenticeship with an employer." The technical definition is quite broad and lengthy and includes all employees whether or not they are full-time, part-time, seasonal, adults, minors or others who have been hired to do certain jobs. The critical test in determining whether or not someone is an employee is the degree of control the employer exercises over the worker.

Do all employers have to carry Workers Compensation on their employees?

Yes. All employers, except those in certain agricultural pursuits or with a gross annual payroll of $20,000 or less, must provide Workers Compensation insurance for all employees (including family members, part and full-time workers, and leased employees). All payroll is taken into account, including that paid outside Kansas. If the employer is a sole proprietor or a partnership, the wages paid to the owners and any of their family members are not used in the computation of the gross annual payroll. 

The provision in K.S.A 44-505 excluding the payroll of workers who are members of the employer's family shall not apply to corporate employers.

Which Kansas employers are excluded from Workers Compensation?

Employment categories excluded from the law are:

Can employers elect in or out of coverage?

Elections in or out of the Workers Compensation Act are options available to employers or employees. Depending on the circumstances, options may be available for:

What are the employer's responsibilities when an accident occurs?

Per K.S.A. 44-557, "it is...the duty of every employer to make or cause to be made a report to the director* of any accident, or claimed or alleged accident, to any employee which occurs in the course of the employee’s employment and of which the employer or the employer’s supervisor has knowledge, which report shall be made upon a form to be prepared by the director**, within 28 days, after the receipt of such knowledge, if the personal injuries which are sustained by such accidents, are sufficient wholly or partially to incapacitate the person injured from labor or service for more than the remainder of the day, shift or turn on which such injuries were sustained."

As outlined in K.A.R. 51-9-17 , all insurance carriers, group pools and self-insurers are required to use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to file First Reports of Injury (FROI) and Subsequent Reports of Injury (SROI) using the Release 3 standards. For details contact Techs and Stats, Division of Workers Compensation at (785) 296-4000 or (800) 332-0353 .

Immediately upon learning of an employee's injury or death, the employer must furnish written information to the employee or employee's dependents on available benefits (using K-WC 27-A or K-WC 270-A below), the claims process, an employer or insurance company contact for workers compensation claims, and other matters as required by law.

* As of January 1, 2014, by “make or cause to be made a report to the director” is meant that an employer must report to the employer’s insurer for workers compensation any accident witnessed by the employer, claimed or alleged with sufficient timeliness to allow the insurer to file the accident report with the division within 28 days, as required by K.A.R. 51-9-17.

** The requisite form for reporting by the insurer as of January 1, 2014 is outlined in K.A.R. 51-9-17.  

Can I purchase a Workers Compensation policy from the state of Kansas and if not, who do I contact?

No. Workers compensation insurance coverage shall be obtained by:

Can an employer pay claims out of pocket for Worker Compensation injuries sustained by an employee?

Employers must provide for payment of claims in one of three ways:

You can contact the division at (785) 296-4000 , (800) 332-0353 or [email protected] .

The Division of Workers Compensation has a Speakers Bureau with experts who can speak on fraud and abuse, coverage and compliance, medical services and the fee schedule and general Workers Compensation issues. 

Appeals Board

When must a request for review be filed with the board.

A request for review must be filed within 10 days from the effective date of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) order. The 10 days are counted as follows; The day after the decision is rendered is the effective date even if it falls on a Saturday. Then count 10 days excluding Saturday, Sunday and/or holidays. Thus, if a decision is rendered by the ALJ on Friday, the effective date is Saturday. Do not count Sunday. Start counting on Monday and then exclude the next Saturday and Sunday. Your request for review would then be due on the following Friday.

What information must be included in the request for review?

The case caption should include:

If multiple respondents or insurance carriers, please note who represents each respondent or carrier.

The body of the request should state the ALJ's name and the date of the order. It should also state the issue(s) that you are appealing. 

How do I file a request for review?

Please refer to pages 45-46 of the OSCAR Training Manual . Each regional office follows the same submission process. If you fax the request, you must still mail five copies to the division’s office.

I filed a request for review of a final order or award, now what?

When a request for review of an award has been filed with the division through OSCAR, a briefing schedule and hearing date notice is emailed by the Board to all parties. Appellant has 30 days from the date the application is processed in which to file a brief. The appellee(s) has (have) 20 days to file a brief thereafter. The appellant has 30 days from the date the application is filed to file a brief. Once the briefing schedule is established and a hearing date is scheduled, the appeals board will review the case and determine whether an oral argument is necessary.

If the Board finds that oral argument is not necessary, the case will be placed on the summary docket and a notice will be sent to all parties. Cases not set for oral argument will be deemed submitted the day after the last brief is due. 

Oral argument may be held in person or by telephone conference. The most convenient way to reschedule an oral argument is to call the Board office at (785) 296-4000 for a list of dates/times that are available. Once a date is agreed upon between the party and opposing counsel, notify the board office. A second notice will be mailed by the board confirming the change. Please remember, we schedule several months ahead of time.

I filed a request for review of a Preliminary Hearing Order. Now what?

Once a request for review of a Preliminary Hearing Order is filed with the Board, the Board will mail an acknowledgement of the application and briefing schedule to all parties. The appellant has 10 days from the date the application is filed to file a brief. Once the brief is filed, the appellee has 10 days to respond. The case then goes to a Board member to draft a decision for Board review. Reviews of preliminary orders are conducted without oral argument. 

General Information:

Post Award Medical: For purposes of review, appeals will follow the same procedure as final hearing orders.

Final Orders: For the purposes of review, the procedure for final orders will be the same as for preliminary orders.

Two or More Parties Requesting Review of an Award: If two or more parties request review of an award/order, the party who filed first is the appellant and all others are appellees.

Briefs: Briefs may be in letter form. If relying on the submission letter to the ALJ, please reference that in your brief.   Briefs should be uploaded under the AP number assigned to the appeal at the time the application is filed.

Extensions: Extensions to file briefs are not favored. However, the Board will issue an extension for up to 10 days on the first request. The request should be in written form uploaded to OSCAR under the AP number Motion to Board - Extension of time to file brief.

Dismissal of Case/ Case Settled or Resolved: When a case has settled or the issues are resolved, please notify the Board immediately. A letter will then be sent from the Board requesting that an agreed order of dismissal to be prepared and signed by all parties. The order should be prepared for signature by three Board members.

Certification of Record to Appellate Courts: Supreme Court Rule 9.04 gives responsibility for certification of the record for cases being appealed to the Court of Appeals/Supreme Court to the Director.

Why does the division now send Notices of Hearing by e-mail?

We know your time is important and immediate notification via e-mail means you can begin scheduling long before the posted mail arrives each day. E-mailing also reduces paper consumption and postage expenses.

When we receive an Application for Hearing, all parties with a valid e-mail address will receive the Notice of Hearing by e-mail.

I want to receive notices by e-mail. What should I do?

Submit your contact information to [email protected] to receive notices by e-mail. The division will then send any application that lists you as a party to a case to your e-mail automatically.

Required information:

Why am I no longer receiving hearing notices and applications for hearing by mail?

The adverse party is sent a copy of the application for hearing via their delivery method of choice. Electronic mailing is now included in the mailing requirement for hearing applications and/or notices of hearing (House Bill 2134 (2011 session)).

Why can’t my organization list more than one e-mail address to receive notices?

To processes on our end, we ask that you identify a single mailbox within your organization to receive notifications.

Why can’t you send an email notice of hearing to the employer or insurance carrier at the same time it’s mailed to the attorney?

All parties to the action should receive an e-mail notice of hearing if an e-mail address is on file.

I did not receive an e-mail copy of a hearing notice. What should I do?

Call the Application Unit at (785) 296-4000 to receive a duplicate copy. When you call, have your e-mail address ready, to help us match notices against the address on file.

My organization doesn’t have an e-mail address. What will happen to our hearing notices?

In our effort to go green, we prefer to use e-mail whenever possible. If you do not have an e-mail address, notices will be mailed to your postal address.

What are some key points about the e-mailing of notices?

Medical Care Providers

Where can i find a copy of the fee schedule.

You can find the latest copy of the Fee Schedule in the Workers Compensation section of this website.

Can a Provider be paid less than the Fee Schedule?

Yes, a Provider can be paid less than the Fee Schedule if an employer/carrier enters into a contract with a provider. Such contracts will supersede limitation amounts. Please refer to K.S.A. 44-510i and K.A.R. 51-9-17 for further clarification.

How should I resolve billing problems or claim denials?

In the event a controversy arises between the provider and the payer, an attempt should be made by the involved parties to resolve said issue(s).

If you still cannot resolve your issue, contact the Medical Services and Fee Schedule Unit at (785) 296-4000 (option 8) or [email protected] .

Can the Employer / Carrier refuse payment or adjust fees?

Yes. However, the employer must notify the provider in writing, within 30 days of receipt of the bill, explaining the reason for refusing payment or adjusting fees.

How often is the Fee Schedule updated?

The scheduled of maximum fees is revised when necessary at least every two years to assure that it is current, reasonable, and fair.

Who should I bill?

Employers must provide for payment of medical claims in one of three ways:

This program is administered by the Kansas Department of Insurance. All medical bills shall be submitted to the appropriate insurance for that employer.

How do I verify an employer’s coverage?

Please contact the employer directly.

Is there a hearing process for unresolved disputes?

If the dispute is not settled after the informal hearing, the director may schedule a formal hearing.

What does the Accident Prevention Administrator monitor?

Accident Prevention under the Workers Compensation Division of the Kansas Department of Labor monitors insurance company and group-funded self-insurance plan compliance with provisions of K.S.A. 44-5,104.

What information will be gathered under an Accident Prevention inspection?

An inspection ensures insurance companies and group-funded self-insurance plans licensed to write workers compensation coverage in Kansas are providing services when requested by a policyholder, submitting the annual report, using qualified field safety representatives, and printing the notice required under Kansas statute on the front page of every policy delivered or issued for delivery in this state.

Why should I, as an insurance company or group-funded self-insurance plan, participate?

Under Kansas statute K.S.A. 44-5,104, you must maintain accident prevention services and provide such services at the request of a policyholder as a prerequisite for authority to provide such insurance or coverage in the state of Kansas.

How can I submit my completed annual report (K-ISH 28) form?

As soon as you click the [Submit] button, your completed form is automatically sent to our server through a secure Internet connection. We no longer accept paper forms for this report.

If we are not actively soliciting business in the state of Kansas, do we still have to complete the annual report K-ISH 28?

As long as an insurance carrier or group-funded self-insurance plan has a license to write workers compensation in Kansas, the report must be submitted. Complete or update Section I. Check “No” in Section II, and enter your name and title in the Affirmation section as your “signature.” If your company or plan should start writing business in Kansas, we will have a record of the business.

Is the website we use to submit our information secure?

Yes, the connection is secure.

Will you accept other forms submitted by a Workers Compensation carrier?

No, for consistency and to provide what is required in the state statute, we will only accept our automated form and the Excel spreadsheet as found on our website.

Whom do I contact about the annual report or with other questions about Accident Prevention Services?

You may contact the Accident Prevention Administrator at (785) 296-4000 ext. 7360 or [email protected]ov .

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

What industry codes (dn025) will kansas accept.

Kansas currently accepts the 2017 North American Industrial Classification System codes (NAICS).

When is the DN68 (Initial Return to Work Date) required?

The Initial Return to Work Date should always be provided on a First Report of Injury (FROI), even if the injured worker returned to work on the same day. The only instances in which an Initial Return to Work Date would not be provided is if the injured worker has not returned to work, or if it is unknown if they have returned to work. Once the Initial Return to Work Date is known, a FROI 02 change report needs to be sent with that Initial Return to Work Date in order to update the First Report of Injury (FROI).

In what instance would DN154 (Employee ID Assigned by Jurisdiction) be used? What is the process for creating this ID?

If there is no available Social Security number for injured worker, then there will need to be an Employee ID Assigned by Jurisdiction sent in its place. This will be assigned by Kansas Division of Workers Compensation by contacting (785) 296-4000 or Dane Curtis at [email protected] .

What is the current EDI Release?

As of November 29, 2018, Kansas is using EDI Release 3.1.

When is a First Report of Injury (FROI) required to be reported (medical-only as well as indemnity)? Do all incidents, regardless of medical aid, get reported via EDI?

All claim types on a First Report of Injury (FROI) are reportable to the State of Kansas within 28 days of the employer being notified that an injury has occurred.

Either an Original First Report of Injury (FROI 00) or a Denial First Report of Injury (FROI 04), as applicable, must be submitted to Kansas Division of Workers Compensation following an accident or occupational exposure "…if the personal injuries which are sustained by such accidents, are sufficient wholly or partially to incapacitate the person injured from labor or service for more than the remainder of the day, shift or turn on which such injuries were sustained" (K.S.A.44-557(a))

Kansas Division of Workers Compensation understands that K.S.A.44-557(a) merely sets the statutory floor for the timeliness reporting requirement for an Original First Report of Injury or a Denial First Report of Injury. However, any insurance carrier, third party administrator, self-insured employer or group-funded pool may send a FROI 00 for all no-time-loss accidents that do not meet the statutory threshold for mandatory reporting. Reporting entities are strongly encouraged to report any and all injuries regardless of lost time.

When is a Subsequent Report of Injury (SROI) required to be reported?

Subsequent Reports of Injury (SROI) are required for all claims that are indemnity, or became indemnity. The Subsequent Reports of Injury (SROI) are not reported to the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation if the claim is medical-only or became medical-only. With that being said, all payment information is required on a reportable Subsequent Report of Injury (SROI), including any medical payments associated with the claim.

How do I know when a First Report of Injury (FROI) and Subsequent Report of Injury (SROI) need to be filed, and in what order to file them?

There are Event tables (FROI, SROI, Periodic) within our Release 3.1 EDI Tables that show which business events trigger each First Report of Injury (FROI) and Subsequent Report of Injury (SROI) to be filed with the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation. The tables show the report triggers for each maintenance type code and when the report is due.

The sequence for filing the reports can also be found within the Kansas R3.1 Edit Matrix in the table named "KS Sequence Table." This table shows whether a report (FROI or SROI) will be accepted or rejected based on the previous report that was filed.

Do we submit an EDI Subsequent Report of Injury (SROI) on claims for which we previously submitted a paper First Report of Injury (FROI)?

No, it will be EDI only going forward. EDI SROIs can only be submitted if you have filed an EDI FROI.

How do we use the Annual Report (AN)?

The annual report (AN) has now been changed into a true annual report. For any claims having indemnity being paid, the AN is required every calendar year that the claim is still open. The date of annual is based off of the date of injury; this report will be due on the date of injury every calendar year. These will be required every year until a final (FN) is reported which will close the claim.

What is a SROI PY? When is it used?

A PY identifies a lump sum payment/settlement report for indemnity claims only. If the first indemnity payment is included in a lump sum payment/settlement, do not send the IP or AP but send the PY.

What if I have reported a SROI PY (lump sum payment), but the claim is still open for possible future medical payments?

If the Trading Partner would like to leave a claim open on their end for possible future medical payments after a SROI PY, they can still file the SROI FN (final) report with the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation. If payments are in fact made, the Trading Partner can simply submit another SROI FN to report this information.

Where did the MTC code FS go?

The code has been replaced by MTC code EP (Employer Paid). Other than the name and acronym of the MTC code, there has been no change. Use the EP in all instances that an FS was previously used. Trading Partner Requirements

Where can I find the IAIABC Release 3 Implementation Guide? Where do I find the Data Dictionary?

The IAIABC website has the Implementation Guide available for purchase under EDI, Implementation Guides (Claims 3.0). The data dictionary can be found in section 6.

Do you have a list of approved vendors?

A list of EDI vendors that are currently submitting workers compensation claim reports in other jurisdictions and that have proven technical and business capability to comply with the Kansas EDI Implementation Guide can be found on the Workers Compensation OSCAR and EDI page .

How often do our Trading Partner documents need to be updated?

If there is a change to any of the information within the current Trading Partner documents on file with the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation, the Trading Partner is required to submit updated documents within 5 business days. 

Reminders will be sent out twice a year (in March and September) and the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation can provide Trading Partner with a copy of the current documents on file by requesting this information. You can send the request to Dane Curtis.

When reporting via EDI, what will Closed Claims Study (CCS) reporting obligations be?

Entities will no longer be required to participate in the Closed Claim Study, because the reporting requirements will be met through EDI.

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Home > Return to Work > Benefits of Return to Work

Benefits of Return to Work

An effective return-to-work program provides the following benefits for workers and employers:

What it means for workers:

What it means for workplaces:


Benefits of Return-to-Work Program

As an employer you may already know that returning workers to a light-duty capacity can benefit your bottom-line. It can control the costs associated with Workers’ Compensation premiums and help maximize your Retro refunds – if you participate. Knowing who is eligible and how to recoup wages can be the difficult part of the equation.

One financial incentive employers’ are given to bring their workers back at a modified capacity is the Stay-At-Work Program (SAW). Every state insured employer already pays for this through up-front composite premiums. To be eligible for the SAW reimbursement program you must meet the following criteria: Be paying workers’ compensation premiums to L&I; be the employer at the time of injury; or for an occupational disease claim, either a) be an employer whose experience rating is impacted by the claim because the worker was once employed by your company, or b) be the last employer to employ the worker when the allowed claim was filed.

The workers’ health-care provider must be given a description of the available light-duty work which indicates the physical requirements of the job-functions.

This light-duty job description must be approved by the workers’ healthcare provider to qualify. Archbright recommends having three light-duty job offers on file (back, upper extremity, and lower extremity) to help speed up the process and qualify quicker, recouping more reimbursements.

Once you have met the above criteria you can start the application process for reimbursement. Members of Archbright’s Workers’ Compensation program qualify to have Archbright file this on your behalf. Participants are eligible to recoup 50% of an employee’s wages while they are performing this approved modified job, for up to 66 days or $10,000, whichever comes first. The direct fiscal savings this provides can be quantified. However, there are many more indirect benefits to bringing someone back at a light-duty capacity that you may not immediately correlate to return-to-work.

For an employee, there are many benefits of returning to work at a light-duty capacity. For one, they continue to earn full-wages. If they rely on being paid out Time-Loss benefits from the state, the employee only qualifies for 60-75% of lost wages. Many studies have shown that employees who return to work at a light-duty capacity recover faster than those that collect Time-Loss benefits. Also, there is much less of a chance of compounding that injury further. Lastly, employees help instill a sense of trust with the employer and increases their job security. The longer they are off work, the harder it is to get back to their original job and wages.

Beyond the measurable savings that employers can recoup by bringing an injured worker back at a light-duty capacity, there are other benefits from Return-to-Work. It positively impacts employee engagement and company culture. High levels of employee engagement lead to increased retention, quality, safety, productivity, revenue, and profits. It also creates opportunities for cross-training and sharing of institutional knowledge. If your longest tenured machinist is the injured worker, ask them to help mentor and train employees that are newer to the company. This will strengthen teams, increase skills, and spread knowledge throughout the organization. All the while, your employee will earn the same income and your organization will recoup 50% of those wages, control up-front Worker’s Compensation costs, and maximize your Retro refunds (if in a Retro program).

As you can see, understanding the benefits of properly managing a workers return- to-work can be worth its weight in gold for your organization.

Picture of Tiffany Knudsen

Tiffany Knudsen

Tiffany Knudsen is a Content Manager at Archbright, responsible for creating and reviewing all safety-related content. She joined Archbright in 2006 as a Safety & Loss Control Professional providing Archbright’s Retrospective Rating participants with financial analysis, workers’ compensation advice, and safety-related assistance. She teaches many safety-related classes, is a certified Instructor Trainer through Medic First Aid, and is the Medic First Aid Director for ASW. Tiffany is a certified Safety Management Specialist and has over twelve years of experience working as an EMT, Firefighter, and National EMT Instructor. 

Recent Posts


What Is Return to Work and Why Is It So Important to Get Right?

What are the benefits of return-to-work, what are the challenges of return-to-work.

After an overnight adjustment to remote work and a year-long ‘few weeks’ working from home, it’s finally time for organizations around the world to return to work.

Return to work describes the reopening of offices that were closed due to the pandemic, with companies allowing employees to once again work from their workplace, rather than continuing to work from home. 

And with every US citizen made eligible for vaccination on April 19 , it’s imperative that the organizations that moved to fully remote work start to think about their next step and whether they want a full return to work. 

Is it best to stay fully remote, reopen offices at a reduced capacity for those who wish to return, or revert to full-time office work? Returning to work after COVID-19 is by no means simple, so it’s important to take the time to figure out what’s going to work best for your teams.

While some well-known companies anticipate that employees may now expect or at least favor more opportunities to work from home, others have disagreed that a return to work is the best way forward. 

Companies such as Facebook , Salesforce , and Google have decided to hold off on their employees going back to the office after working remotely until at least summer 2021. However, Google has already started accelerating its return to work and placed limits on working from home .

Similarly, Netflix’s Co-CEO says he sees the impact of working from home as ‘purely negative’ — their employees will be expected to return to work full-time six months after a vaccine. Goldman Sachs , Wells Fargo , and Amazon all intend on re-embracing office cultures and reopening by the fall of 2021.

Meanwhile, Twitter and Slack have decided to offer indefinite remote work to their employees in place of a full, company-wide return to work. Simply put, it’s a tough decision to make — one that relies on a lot of individual factors.

So, what are the advantages of going back to the office?

Although the advantages of working remotely have been well-documented (better communication, productivity, access to talent, and lower costs, to name a few), the practice inevitably comes with disadvantages, too. Here are the benefits of offering a return to work option for your employees:

It creates better focus

As computer science professor Cal Newport told The New York Times , our new ‘always-on’ work culture not only makes us unproductive but also miserable. Essentially, having a non-stop barrage of communication from our colleagues makes it difficult to concentrate on tasks and leaves us more anxious.

How does return to work help to tackle this? 

It’s estimated that 42% of workers miss the regular daily structure of an office. Studies show that environments we associate solely with a particular task (such as a busy intersection) can help drown out distractions. Our brains associate workplaces with work, but our homes are linked to many different distractions.

It increases work/life balance

Working from home has come with such a clear challenge that we have created a name for it — pandemic burnout . According to Bloomberg , working from home has added approximately three hours a day to our workday — potentially because of our lowered ability to block out distractions in our home, as described above.

Not only does working from home tend to end in logging more hours , but it also removes the 26 minutes each way that the average American spends commuting. Research at Columbia Business School found that commutes actually provide opportunities for accelerated learning, job satisfaction, and exercise.

It fosters better collaboration and communication

According to research by The Institute of Leadership and Management , a shocking 88% of distributed workers say they struggle with miscommunication (with 83% citing that they are overwhelmed by email). In fact, face-to-face meetings have been estimated to generate around three more ideas than remote meetings on average.

Deciding to return to work after COVID (at the very least, part-time) enables more opportunities for cross-team communication, informal information sharing and meetings, and more effective team building and relationship-building with colleagues and clients.


It decreases loneliness for employees

Even pre-pandemic, 70% of employees cited workplace friendships as the most crucial element to having a happy working life. Unfortunately, the first emerging studies on full-time virtual socializing by the University of California have found that the frequency of video calls has no significant positive impact on wellbeing.  

How does return to work help to tackle this?  

Going back to the office after working remotely decreases loneliness significantly by enabling employees to have in-person social interactions with an entire office full of people during their working hours, rather than just their household.

It limits technology issues

Not only does remote work open companies up to increased security risks due to issues such as varying WiFi setups and multiple location downloads, but it also creates an opportunity for cybercriminals. Some 41% of businesses experienced at least one cyberattack related to the pandemic. Plus, not every employee has access to sufficient WiFi connectivity.

The reality is that remote work caused overall internet speeds to decrease around the US . A return to work means that companies can provide each employee with the high-speed internet, stronger network security, and in-person IT support that they need to do their best work. Essentially, it lowers the likelihood that technology will hinder their ability to work.


Safety concerns will be paramount

According to an extensive survey of 54,000 workers by IBM , 68% say they are more concerned than ever about their families’ safety and health. Their top concerns about a return to work include healthy hygiene and sanitation (66%), enforcement of social distancing (53%), face coverings (48%), and health tests (42%).

What’s the best way to tackle this during a return to work?

Each company will need to consider many aspects for a safe return back to work. This may include everything from reorganizing the office to enable maximum levels of social distancing, consideration of rapid testing, or putting guidelines in place for rules around face coverings, disinfecting, and illness reporting. For more, take a look at our return-to-work guidelines . 

Costs may need to be recalculated

A vital consideration of returning to work after COVID-19 is that the overheads you once paid for office space may not still be necessary. A Harvard Business School Online survey found that 81% of workers either don’t want to return to work in the office or prefer a hybrid working model. You’ll need to reassess how much space you’ll need and whether it’s time to downsize before your employees return to work .

The most simple advice stands here — ask your employees. Think about launching an internal survey to find out exactly what your employees’ preferences are, their concerns about returning, and what puts them off full-time remote work. Then you can crunch the numbers and make informed financial decisions about the return to work costs.

Companies will need to offer flexibility

If the majority don’t intend to return to work in an office full-time, companies will need to work out their hybrid working offer. It’s estimated that the majority (61%) will want to go back to the office 2-3 days a week, but companies may need to consider flexible working too, outside of the 9-5. We’ll cover this later in the guide. For more, take a look at our advice around flexible working .

Again, you’ll need to consider employees’ expectations around returning to work after COVID-19. This may entail a survey or considering what is offered by other companies within your industry. However, as the vast majority of employees don’t want to return to work full-time, flexible and hybrid working may become a competitive advantage for attracting talent.


Management will need to invest planning time

Unfortunately, IBM found that only one in four workers trust their employers to make informed, ethical decisions around a return to work that considers the economy and human health. The more two-way communication, the more trust your employees will have, so all communication and plans must be made clear. 

Once you’ve ascertained employees’ needs, it’s advised that you communicate your return to work plan ahead of time. Communication should include return-to-work guidelines , important dates, and options for those who inevitably do not feel safe or simply do not want to return to work in the office.

Emotional support must be considered

The most recent research by the American Psychological Association found that nearly half (49%) of Americans feel uneasy about adjusting to in-person interactions once the pandemic is over, with no significant decrease after vaccination. Anxiety around return to work is widespread, and employers must take this into account in their planning.

This unease will impact everything from potential business travel to in-person team-building events to the day-to-day of whether employees want to return to work at all. Again, a two-way line of conversation is key here — companies must take great care to provide support and understanding to those who feel unsafe.

Further reading:

How to know what way of working is best for you, how to connect with co-workers you haven’t actually met.


EMPLOYERS Return to Work Program

We Help Your Injured Employees Get Back to Work

Our return to work program strives to minimize downtime and help get your employees back to work as quickly as their medical condition allows. An Early Return to Work program has numerous potential benefits:

More Benefits of a Return to Work Program

Collaboration among the injured employee, employer and treating physician can facilitate early return to work. Early return to work benefits may include the following:

EMPLOYERS Offsite Transitional Duty Program

A shorter recovery period often results in a quicker return to regular job duties, which benefits both your employee and your business. From the onset of any claim, your claim adjuster will be looking for opportunities to transition the injured employee back to work. There are often times when you as the employer are unable to make accommodations to facilitate return to work in a modified capacity when the employee has certain physical restrictions.

For cases like these, EMPLOYERS works with Coventry Workers’ Comp Services, Inc. (Coventry) to offer an Off-Site Transitional Duty Program that provides short-term work assignments for employees who have temporary medical restrictions that cannot be accommodated by their employer. It is a structured return-to-work program that provides meaningful and productive work at local non-profit organizations.

Learn more about the EMPLOYERS Offsite Transitional Duty Program .


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  1. Benefits of a Return to Work Program

    1. Lower cost. The most appealing benefit for employers is that a return to work program will actually save a lot of money in the long run.

  2. Why early return-to-work benefits your employees and bottom line

    Recover faster; Stay in the routine of working; Feel productive; Maintain workplace relationships. Employers benefit by bringing injured

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    18 Benefits of Using Return to Work Programs ; Anticipating and controlling hidden costs; Reducing the financial impact of workplace injuries

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    Benefits of Return to Work Program · return to work (RTW) program. · Frees the injured employee from financial stress. · Keeps the recovering employee's skills

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    Advantages For Employers · Retain Experienced Workers. Injured workers who remain at home for an extended period may become discouraged and leave

  6. Workers Compensation FAQs

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  7. Benefits of Return to Work

    What it means for workplaces: · Allows a skilled and experienced worker to continue as a valuable resource to the company · Keeps loss of productivity to a

  8. Benefits of Return-to-Work Program

    Many studies have shown that employees who return to work at a light-duty capacity recover faster than those that collect Time-Loss benefits.

  9. What Is Return to Work? Benefits & Challenges

    What are the benefits of return-to-work? · It creates better focus · It increases work/life balance · It fosters better collaboration and communication · It

  10. Learn About Our Workers' Comp Return To Work Programs

    More Benefits of a Return to Work Program · Advances the goal of permanent return to work · Promotes the healing process · Relieves stress due to occupational