Instead of keeping workers home until they fully recover, return-to-work programs typically put ill or injured workers back to work sooner, often in lighter jobs with fewer hours, the Journal reported.
Rising costs have mostly created interest in the topic. A Mercer survey shows companies saw average worker's comp-related losses of $1.72 for each $100 of payroll last year, up about 10 percent from 2000.
And the National Council on Compensation Insurance shows medical costs continuing to rise dramatically. Costs of covering off-the-job injuries and illnesses also have gone up and getting workers back can cut those costs, the article reported.
Also, a new California law will subsidize the salaries of those returning to work, although funding for the program is up-in-the-air until that state solves its budget woes.
increasing number of companies and lawmakers are weighing the drawbacks and benefits of return-to-work programs, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal this week.