We received an email from an injured worker, who wishes to remain anonymous [for obvious reasons] sharing her/his experience with a – what we call – typical return to work program, which supports everything but the injured worker…
Another typical return to work program
Return to work program: in the injured worker’s words (*)
“[About one month ago] my [treating doctor] made a return to work program which was supported by all. Except my employer.[My employer], with the support of my [workcover] case manager [of course] suggested a different [return to work] program. [My employer] proposed return to work plan consisted of different hours and days than what had been requested by my treating doctor. My Employer also insisted I take their return to work plan to my treating doctor for approval [sign off]. The injured workers did not particularly see “an issue” with the new plan and thought that s/he was capable of working the extra proposed day.”
The injured worker’s treating doctor approved the new [employer modified] return to work plan.
The injured worker was also told that “we were to trial the extra hours over the next couple of weeks”. This was to commence the [following week].
However, the injured worker then discovered that her/his employer had actually given annual leave to a large number of senior employees and was short on senior staff.Meaning basically that, having the injured worker available and work on “those hours would in fact cover for those staff members on leave”.
The injured worker was NOT told of this “plan”, because, folks, her/his employer has – in fact – been desperately trying to claim that “they had no suitable work for the injured worker”!
The injured worker strongly believes that they no longer “want her/him” in the company.
Interestingly, the injured worker tells us that the “return to work plan” and “trial of those hours” in fact runs out when the staff on annual leave return back to work!
So, it is nothing but a scam of the part of the employer (and of course the insurer case manager) to use and abuse the injured worker, and it has clearly nothing to do with a legitimate, supportive and /or sustainable return to work plan or program.
We believe it is extremely “underhanded” that the employer requested to have the injured doctor change the return to work program. That the workcover case manager clearly collaborated with the injured worker’s employer to defy the initial doctor’s orders is disgusting, and most likely nothing more than a last resort attempt to obtain her/his ” return to work bonus money“.
They both clearly manipulated the injured worker and her/his doctor to accept a return to work plan to suit their staffing needs rather than the injured worker’s health and recovery needs. This is so calloused.Yet, this “scenario” or “tactic” happens every day to many injured workers.
What’s more it is almost guaranteed that both the employer and the case manager will claim and argue the injured worker’s ability to do the extra work around the time these employees are due to return to work from their annual leave.
Have you experienced a dodgy return to work plan? Please share your story with us!
(*) Note: workcovervictimsdiary.com modified some of the shared injured worker’s ‘words’ and omitted dates, days etc in order to assure ID protection of the injured worker.