Should a Small Business Have a Disability Management Program?

 In Business

One of the most consistent expenses that small business owners face each day relates to the loss of productivity, and therefore a loss of profitability, due to employee illnesses and injuries. Canadian employers spend billions of dollars each year due to absenteeism when employees are unable to work. Additionally, the impact of prolonged workers’ compensation claims on a business’s premiums can be significant.

Unfortunately, many small companies do not have disability management programs to help them manage the financial risks associated with absent workers. The good news is, no matter how big or small your company, there are disability management programs available to suit your needs.

What are disability management programs?

These programs include activities such as treatment interventions, case management, and return to work programs to help employees return to regular duties in the most efficient manner possible. This is especially important for small businesses, as each employee makes a critical contribution to the organization’s daily revenue. Whether the employee was injured on the job, has a chronic illness, or needs time away from work to address a mental health concern, a disability management program can help your small business protect its profitability.

How can disability management programs benefit small businesses?

Disability management programs are a proven opportunity to manage the health-related costs of your organization. There are a number of ways that these programs can benefit your organization and your employees:

  • Reduce Workers’ Compensation premiums. An integral part of any disability management program is a strong return to work strategy. Getting ill or injured workers back to work as quickly as safely possible will reduce claim costs.
  • Maintain productivity. Both habitual and unexpected absences can have a huge impact on the productivity of any business. Programs that eliminate or reduce time away from work due to injury or illness are proven to increase productivity, which results in greater profits.
  • Support the health and wellbeing of your employees. Show your employees that you are committed to their health, happiness, and fulfillment by providing continued support during their absences.
  • An established disability management strategy can reduce administrative burden. When your staff is educated on your specific processes and procedures in place in the event of a disability, not only are workers less likely to take advantage, but when there is a legitimate absence the appropriate steps can be taken swiftly and efficiently.

Why is this critical for small businesses?

Small businesses generally earn less revenue than corporate giants, so the costs of accidents in the workplace can represent a large portion of the company’s income. A single costly claim will affect premiums for several years, inflating WCB premiums unnecessarily, which can be devastating to a small company. Additionally, if you choose to hire another person while your employee is recovering from a injury or illness, the cost associated with such staffing changes can also be significant.

Therefore, even if you choose not to implement a complex program, your organization still needs sound policies and practices to help you reduce potential liability. However, a detailed, strategic approach to managing your disability expenses can have a significant positive impact on your organization’s productivity and performance.

Next Steps

Even for small employers, a disability management program can have a positive long-term impact on your employees’ productivity and your company’s bottom line. This is one of the most effective ways to manage Financial Risk while sending your employees a positive message. However, every organization is different with unique needs based on size and industry, so it is important when developing a disability management program to assess your risk, understand what causes injuries in your workplace, and design a program that is consistent with your employee’s needs to help you identify, reduce, and control your risks.

If you would like help implementing a disability management program for your small business, contact TeksMed today.

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