Friday, June 3, 2016

Summer Can Increase Schools’ Workers’ Comp Exposure

It might seem strange to think about workers’ compensation claims during a time when many employees aren’t working. But at schools, the summer months can present high potential for workers’ compensation exposure.

Why? Because disability benefits tend to drag out longer when there’s no incentive for employees to secure a release to return to work. For example, if a teacher has a knee surgery right after the school year ends, his or her doctor might simply restrict the employee from working until just before the start of the next school year. Had the surgery occurred during the school year, the teacher might have felt an urgency about returning to the classroom as soon as possible, and therefore, been back to work much sooner than three months.

These extended wage-loss benefits increase the costs of the workers’ compensation claim, which can ultimately drive up a school’s future workers’ compensation premiums.

What you can do to control your workers’ compensation exposure

So what can you do about it? First, make every effort to get injured employees back to work at full wage before the end of the school year if possible. That shows that the employee’s earning potential has been restored, and there’s no need to continue wage-loss benefits.

If that’s not possible, it’s important to stay in contact with the employee over the summer to secure a doctor’s release as soon as they are medically able to work. This can be difficult after the school year ends, so make sure the employee knows you’ll be in touch and get current contact information.

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