To encourage small employers to find ways to return their employees to the job sooner after a workplace injury, Texas Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation Albert Betts has signed and submitted to the Texas Register a rule to create a Return-to-Work Pilot Program for Small Employers.
The pilot program was included in House Bill 7 passed by the 79th Texas Legislature to reform the state’s workers’ compensation system. The new rule to implement the program will be effective Feb. 22, 2006, the Division of Workers Compensation reported.
Under the rule, employers with 2 to 50 employees may be eligible to file an application to be reimbursed for expenses to bring their employees back to work to perform modified or alternate work within doctor-imposed work restrictions. Reimbursable expenses include: physical modifications to the worksite; equipment, devices, furniture or tools; and other costs necessary for reasonable accommodation of the employee’s ability to work within the doctor’s restrictions.
The pilot project will reimburse up to $2,500 per employer for qualified expenses. The program is funded from administrative penalties received by the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), not to exceed $100,000 annually.
For more information about the Return-to-Work Pilot Program for Small Employers, including how to apply for participation, visit the agency Web site at www.tdi.state.tx.us/wc/dwc under “Return to Work” or contact DWC Return to Work Services at (512) 804-5000.
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