Beginning in July, the cost of wages and benefits for Ohio University employees enrolled in the Workers' Compensation Transitional Return to Work (TRTW) Program will be charged back to the worker's home department, university officials said.
Currently, when TRTW employees with an occupational injury or illness are assigned to alternative departments, their wages and benefits are covered from the university's general fund. Starting July 1, those costs will be the responsibility of the department the employee worked for at the time of the injury or illness, officials said. The change applies only when the worker's home department will not accommodate his or her transitional work.
Jimmy Matthews, director of Ohio University Workers' Compensation, said the new charge back policy was implemented to make supervisors more conscious of the cost of injuries their employees might sustain. He said he hopes it makes supervisors work harder to increase safety and that many other universities have implemented similar charge-back programs.
"You think of things differently when it's coming out of your back pocket," Matthews said. "It's a good incentive to get supervisors involved in prevention and getting people back to work."
Matthews said that because the work done in the TRTW Program is considered "light duty" and temporary, the departmental switch is only valid for 60 days assuming the employee's health is improving.
-- Megan Greve