Austin, TX – The Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation’s (TDI-DWC) Research and Evaluation Group (REG) recently announced the release of its 2020 Return to Work Report.
One goal of the Texas workers’ compensation system is to return injured employees back to work quickly and safely. The report analyzes return-to-work (RTW) outcomes for the Texas workers’ compensation system between 2007 and 2017, including the percentage of injured employees who initially return to work after their injury; the percentage who remain at work; and the average days away from work.
Key Findings included:
- More injured employees returning to work in Texas – The initial RTW rate has steadily increased for injured employees in Texas between injury years 2007 – 2017, from 78 percent of injured employees returning to work within six months post-injury in 2007 to almost 83 percent returning to work in 2017.
- More injured employees are staying at work – In 2016, almost 65 percent of injured employees who went back to work within six months post-injury remained at work for at least three consecutive quarters, compared to about 60 percent in 2007. The sustained RTW rate has increased over time for all claim maturity levels.
- Median days away from work were lower in 2017 – Overall, the median days away from work is slightly lower in 2017 (24 days) than it was in 2007 (27 days), which means less lost income for injured employees and fewer disruptions to employer productivity. The mean days away from work shows a stable overall trend at roughly 42 days.
- RTW was highest for large employers – Employer size appears to have a proportional relationship with initial RTW rates. Large employers have the highest initial RTW rates within six months post-injury, averaging at roughly 82 percent. Larger employers tend to have more robust RTW programs than smaller employers.
- Industries with highest RTW rates – Public administration has the consistently highest initial RTW rates within six months post-injury at an average of roughly 87 percent. Employees in the mining/utilities/construction and agriculture sector have, on average, the lowest initial RTW rate at roughly 75 percent. Almost all sectors, except arts and accommodation, saw improvements in initial RTW rates over the last decade.
The analysis focuses on the RTW outcomes of injured employees who received temporary income benefits (TIBs) for their lost time. RTW rates are calculated using quarterly employee wage information from the Texas Workforce Commission.
It is important to note that several factors outside of the Texas workers’ compensation system affect RTW rates for injured employees, including the state’s economy, unemployment rates, industry changes, and changing employee demographics, among others. However, RTW rates are an important barometer of the overall effectiveness of a state’s workers’ compensation system.
Get the free report: TDI-DWC REG: Return to Work in the Texas Workers’ Compensation System