This year has been everything but normal, but there is finally some predictability in 2020 – and that is injuries. ADA and FMLA are going to play a key role in the next 6-12 months as people start returning to the workplace.
Take a look at the NFL: this season there have been more injuries than in seasons past. This is due to COVID-19 limiting player readiness for the season. Having online workouts, limited in-person practice and social distancing across the practice facilities means that the prep each player and team does before a normal season was left out this year. Without proper conditioning, NFL players have been more susceptible to injuries. Without proper preparations, it’s not a question of if players are going to get hurt it’s when.
But what does this have to do with leave management? This is the exact same scenario that many companies will find themselves dealing with. Most of their workers are slowly coming back to work from COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean their bodies are used to the everyday strain of physical work. After 6+ months of furlough, many have lost the conditioning to do their jobs, be that standing or lifting or reaching for long portions of their workday. A lot of these workers will get injured on the job just doing everyday work functions that they were conditioned to before the pandemic hit. This leaves companies short-handed and needing to manage an increase in work-related leaves and accommodations.
Getting in front of this is going to be key for companies as their employees are going to be coming back into work with their bodies in a much more high-risk situation.
So how do I get in front of it?
One of the best ways is to take a look at your leave and accommodation process and practices. Make sure you have the right process and staff to handle return to work and the expected uptick in leave and accommodation requests. Review your policies to ensure they support the new normal of return to work. Then, start looking into software programs to support your leave and accommodation management needs. It’s great to know your policies, but staying organized and compliant is going to be key to making the transition back to the workplace smooth for employees and managers.
ADA and FMLA and returning employees to the workplace are going to be the talk of 2021. Make sure you are ahead of the game by diving deep into your leave management process.