Barrhead's financial assistant Jennifer Mantay called it a "wow moment," although not in a good way.
When WCB account manager Andrea Dodd called to tell her the town's claim costs were a whopping 203 per cent higher than the industry average, the number alone practically gave her whiplash.
"We knew we weren't doing well because we already had a poor performance surcharge (added to our annual premium)," says Jennifer, "but we didn't realize how bad it was. It really was a 'wow' moment. We knew we had to make some changes and turn things around."
Jennifer says she and town officials were particularly taken aback when Andrea shared some statistics that showed the longer injured workers are off the job, the greater the chance they won't return to work at all.
"She also told us injured workers start getting depressed and start feeling as though they're not part of a team. Essentially, they don't feel valued, and that was unacceptable to us. We value our employees, and we wanted them to know that."
"This (modified work) program has already been beneficial for our employees, and will ultimately have an impact on us, premium-wise. It really is a win-win situation."
– Barrhead financial assistant Jennifer Mantay
The decision was made to develop a return-to-work policy.
Andrea was a tremendous resource, and Jennifer took all of her suggestions and ran with them. She took return-to-work workshops offered by the WCB. She asked for input from departments within the town to develop modified work duties for each position. She did her own research, networking with neighbouring municipalities who already had return-to-work policies in place. It was a lengthy process—nearly a year from start to finish—it was worth the effort.
"This program has already been beneficial for our employees, and will ultimately have an impact on us, premium-wise. It really is a win-win situation."
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