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Business Sense

Return-to-Work: Good for Employees, Good for Business

An organization's workforce is by far its most valuable asset. And when an employee can't work due to illness or injury, it impacts not only an organization's productivity, but also its morale. This is especially true for small businesses with close-knit, interdependent staffs.

While many employers and employees may believe an injury or illness prevents someone from working, often that is not the case. Many can in fact return to work with a few simple job adaptations. Some examples of these return-to-work strategies include offering the opportunity to work part time and/or telecommute, modifying duties or schedule, or implementing reasonable accommodations to provide employees with the tools they need to carry out their responsibilities.

To aid employers in recouping their assets, a new online Return-to-Work Toolkit is now available. This toolkit helps employers understand the return-to-work process and provides resources to help them get employees back to work quickly and smoothly, to the benefit of employer and employee alike. Effective return-to-work approaches can help employees work while still recuperating, protecting their earning power and boosting an organization's output. Furthermore, in many instances, work itself plays an important role in the recovery process.

The Return-to-Work Toolkit was created by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and its Job Accommodation Network. For free, confidential guidance on workplace accommodations to assist employees in returning to work after injury or illness, contact JAN at or 800-526-7234 (Voice), 877-781-9403 (TTY).

For additional news and resources, sign up for ODEP's e-mail updates.