Project Title:  Employer Decision Making &  Return-to-Work Programs

Research Question: What are the determining influences that lead an employer to decide to implement or not implement a formal return-to-work program?

Expected Outcomes

  1. Gain insight to why employers do or do  not have a formal return-to-work program
  2. Identify employer strategies that protect the productivity of their work force

A brief introductory statement as to why returning an individual to work following an injury or illness is an important part of the employers’ overall efforts to protect the productivity of its workforce


The Burton Blatt Institute, in concert with its Employer Resource Consortium (ERC), sponsored a unique  initiative that will produce valuable  insight for employers on  protecting the productivity of their employees.  The initiative will analyze the factors that influence whether an employer has or does not have a formal return-to-work program.  Participating employers have the following characteristics

  • Employers with 100 to 10,000 + employees are invited to participate
  • Industries:  Manufacturing, Retail, Insurance/Financial, Healthcare, Service, Transportation/Utilities, Education, Construction, Hotel & Entertainment and Public employer

Participating employers completed an internet based survey that will identify the various factors that influenced the type of return-to-work policies and practices they currently have in place.

  •  The employers’ return to work efforts may be directed to all lost time claims to include worker’s compensation, short or long term disability claims or informally applied on an individual, case by case  basis.
  • The employer may not have or engage in any return to work activities.  If so, we are interested in why the employer has applied this business model.
  • The Internet based survey should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete.  It will focus on current RTW policies and practices.
  • There are no costs to participate
  • All responses will be confidential with only aggregate data reported by industry and workforce size.
  • Participating employers will be provided with the full report of the study prior to publication with the observations and recommendations related to best practices in developing and evaluating  return to work programs

If you would like to discuss the details of the study or if you have any questions about the research, you can contact the Principal Investigator Meera Adya, JD, PhD at or the Project’s Co- Directors Kenneth Mitchell, PhD at or Carol Cirka, PhD at with any questions.