The state government is expanding a state fund that helps employers cut costs by getting injured Ohio workers
back on the job more quickly. The program allows companies to modify a worker’s job duties so that they continue working in some capacity during an injury instead of taking time off. This has obvious benefits for employers, since it can allow them to cut their workers’ compensation costs, but how will it affect the actual workers?
Who will participate?
Originally, the program only included employers with a least one lost-time claim, but now the program is expanding to include the majority of Ohio businesses. The only limitation is that the Ohio Bureau of Labor will only allow companies which are on good terms with the bureau to take advantage of the program. Ideally, this will limit the number of potential abuses, since companies known for regularly breaking safety rules will not be able to reap the benefits.
How does the program work?
The government will give grants to companies who create plans to get injured workers back to work with modified job responsibilities. If an Ohio business gets its plan approved, the government will pay for 75 percent of it. This will help companies to lower their workers’ compensation costs. Additionally, the government will give grants to companies who apply their plans effectively with injured workers.
The takeaway for injured Ohio workers?
This may be suspect to some people, since it is providing employers with money while pressuring hurt workers to keep working. The concern is valid. Any potential changes to the way that workers’ compensation is handled should been taken seriously. It’s important to make sure that programs like these are implemented in a way that considers the needs of injured Ohio workers.
On the other hand, employees would be able to return to work and collect their full wages more quickly. This could be good, especially if the modified responsibilities don’t hamper recovery. Workers who would prefer to stay on the job in a limited capacity might view the program as mutually beneficial.
Overall, the program is clearly aimed at helping employers. Only time will tell if it truly benefits injured workers as well.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC is an Ohio workers’ compensation law firm that has been fighting for injured workers for more than 80 years.