Getting injured employees back to work can make a huge difference in lowering the cost of workplace injuries. Return-to-work programs can help ensure employees’ success in recovering and getting back to the job.


But, what if your workplace can’t support temporary light duty for an injured worker? Temporary Transitional Employment programs, also known as “modified duty off-site” or simply “off-site return to work programs,” can be the perfect solution.


“Workers’ compensation claimants placed at TTE by Liberty Mutual or its Helmsman Management Services third-party administrator returned to work on average 67 days sooner than those who were not placed in such positions or who returned to light duty at their employers,” wrote Frank Radack for Property Casualty 360. Some programs place injured workers at local nonprofits, which can provide an additional morale boost and sometimes, even a charitable deduction for the employer.


Here are tips for helping your clients understand TTE programs, and for implementing a program they’ll want to participate in:


  • By tapping into a network of nonprofit partners and having a plan to manage hours worked and any performance issues, TPAs can provide administrative framework to make a TTE work for their clients.
  • TTE should be formalized within a client’s workers’ compensation insurance or TPA service agreement, and mentioned in all communications with workers.
  • “TTE is no different than returning an employee to onsite light duty,” Radack wrote.
  • The TPA or insurer will continue to manage the workers’ compensation claim and will communicate with the worker’s doctor about TTE programs.
  • Workers should be placed within 30 miles of their homes.
  • “TTE programs are springing up all across the country,” Bell wrote. “Several states are now even incorporating TTE programs into their statutory provisions, adding legitimacy and predictability to the overall concept.”
  • These programs are best for injured workers who are released for modified duty and whose restrictions are expected to late at least four weeks.