By Rebecca Dearth | July 21, 2014
Employers and employees in Virginia have cause to celebrate over an important development that can directly affect their worker’s compensation claims costs and outcomes. More importantly, Virginia employees can now reap the benefits of innovative Return-to-Work options, such as performing transitional duty with nonprofit organizations.
The Virginia Commission issued a full board decision late last year that employers can use non-profit organizations to accommodate light duty work when an employee is recovering from a worker’s compensation injury and released to light-duty work. By affirming Deputy Commissioner Robert H. Herring, Jr’s earlier ruling, Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission clearly supported the position that performing light duty work for non-profit organizations does not constitute “subsidized” employment, and not considered to be in a “sheltered workshop.”
In this case, ReEmployAbility secured a position for the Claimant in July 2013 at the local YMCA via its Transition2Work program. The transitional work assignment would require the Claimant to perform light duty tasks such as folding towels, wiping down machines, monitoring the gym, and handing out basketballs to members in return for their keys and membership cards. However, the Claimant filed a Motion for Protective Order and request for sanctions, alleging his employer, Safelite Group, was forcing him to accept “subsidized light-duty employment,” a mundane job that has no restorative rehabilitative value, which he asserted violated the Commission’s Guidelines for Vocational Rehabilitation.
Subsidized employment is often referred to as a “make work” position, usually mundane jobs that have no restorative rehabilitative value — such as counting paperclips. However, performing valuable community service as an option when the employer cannot provide on-site or in-house light-duty, provides productive employee benefits and helps employers retain their talent until the injured worker is capable of returning to full duty.
Virginia workers’ compensation Act encourages employers to procure employment suitable to partially incapacitated employees. (Code § 65.2-510). The unjustified refusal to accept the job offer will jeopardize the employees
Safelite pointed out that the goal of transitional employment enables employers to offer a temporary assignment utilizing a network of non-profit organization who can accommodate temporary restrictions. In turn, injured workers have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the community, boost self- confidence and become re-acquainted with the daily routine of being engaged in the workforce while receiving a paycheck.
“Our company successfully uses Transition2Work for nonprofit transitional work assignments across the US as part of its Return to Work program. It has allowed us to provide modified duty to match workers’ restrictions that we otherwise would not be able to accommodate with our options in-house. It is a beneficial program that has helped many of our employees and we believe our personnel in Virginia should be afforded the opportunity to participate,” said Nathan Hughes, Manager of Risk and Claims, Safelite Group.
ReEmployAbility worked with employer’s counsel, providing documentation and case law from other states to support the position that the YMCA assignment offer should be considered part of the employer’s return-to-work program, and is intended to be temporary until the employer can accommodate the claimant’s work restrictions.
In this case, the Commission was clearly persuaded that asking employees to participate in community volunteer activities for transitional duty was not a sheltered workshop or part of an employer-subsidized organization. We consider this ruling a strong victory for employers and employees alike. Specialty Return-to-Work programs utilizing non-profit transitional assignments help employers retain talent and allow the injured worker to remain connected to the workplace while providing the necessary time to recover from a work-related injury.
Read the full opinion and order on our website, http://www.reemployability.com/news/jurisdictional-updates/
By Rebecca Dearth | June 27, 2014
In this edition you can find:
- Fast Growth & Big Changes at ReEmployAbility
- WCI Educational Conference in Orlando
- Transition2Work Success Story
- Program Results
- Upcoming Events
By Rebecca Dearth | June 18, 2014
Exciting things have been happening at ReEmployAbility!
Our company has recently witnessed explosive growth, much of which has been fueled by the high demand for our Return-to-Work program, Transition2Work. The program matches injured workers to temporary modified duty work assignments at local nonprofit organizations when the pre-injury employer is unable to accommodate the worker’s restrictions onsite. By partnering business with community, we’ve exceeded our company goals, helped thousands of injured workers safely return to work faster, saved our insurance and employer clients millions in workers’ compensation claims costs, and provided volunteers to our nonprofit partner organizations across the United States.
We set new sales and claims volume records in 2013 and have continued to experience phenomenal growth during the first half of 2014. Some of our accomplishments throughout 2013-14 include:
- In 2013, claim referral volume nearly doubled over 2012 referral activity, increasing by more than 80% overall and by over 95% for Transition2Work!
- 2013 was a record-setting year for Transition2Work, with seven months setting all time high claim referral volume records. We’re continuing to set new records in 2014 and we’re on target to grow by at least 50%.
- New client accounts grew 37% year-over-year from fiscal year 2010 to 2013. We increased our client roster by 50% during 2013, and formed new return-to-work program partnerships with major clients such as Waste Management Inc. and ABM Industries.
- Our Company now contracts with three of North America’s top five insurance carriers, as ranked by direct written 2013 premiums by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
- Our ever-expanding nationwide nonprofit network has now surpassed 20,000 partners across the U.S. To date, Transition2Work has provided over 400,000 volunteer hours to local nonprofit organizations!
With this unprecedented growth, we’ve made some big changes at ReEmployAbility:
- In early February of this year we relocated our corporate headquarters to a new, larger 5,000 square-foot facility in Tampa, Florida.
- To manage the incredible Transition2Work program growth, we have increased our staffing levels by over two-thirds since 2011. Most of the new staff members are part of our team of Placement Coordinators who match injured workers restrictions with appropriate nonprofit work assignments and deliver the friendly and responsive service our clients have come to expect.
- We’ve added new leadership to accommodate our growing organization. Long-time Account Executive Kelly Lawless was promoted to Vice President of Sales, we recruited Rebecca Dearth as Director of Marketing, and added Arthur Freemon to manage information technology and data analysis. Former Transition2Work Supervisor, Brenda Lovely was promoted to Manager and now oversees our Transition2Work and Administrative team with the assistance of newly appointed Supervisor, Lindsey Pittard.
- We created a new sales and client service role to provide consultation and support to clients throughout Transition2Work implementation. Kristy Needham and Corie Wider were promoted to this role as Customer Relationship Managers.
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
— Benjamin Franklin
It’s humbling to reflect on how much we have achieved in just a few short years with our Transition2Work program. Since its inception in 2007, Transition2Work has managed to achieve fantastic results and we know the best is yet to come. ReEmployAbility is on track for another year of record setting in 2014, and, by bringing business and the community together, we’ll continue to achieve win-win outcomes far into the future.
By Rebecca Dearth | April 17, 2014
The annual RIMS Conference & Exhibition is fast approaching. This year will be our seventh consecutive year of attendance and we’re busy preparing for another successful event.
Our co-founders, Deb Livingston and Frances Ford, will be joined by our Account Executive Team (Kelly Lawless, Mary Bennett, and Davida Bloomberg) to showcase our specialty Return to Work and transitional employment programs at the conference to an audience of nearly 9,000 risk professionals.
We’re excited about having a presence at this important event. This year’s conference includes more educational sessions, networking opportunities, and three keynote speakers, including actor Ben Stein. As in the past, we expect RIMS 2014 will be an excellent forum for introducing our Transition2Work program and spreading the news about our program’s phenomenal results. Most importantly, we’re looking forward to the valuable opportunity RIMS provides to connect with our customers!
The ReEmployAbility display will be located in the main exhibit hall at booth #1609. If you’re attending the conference, please stop by to visit our team and to get “caricatured” by our two EventToons caricature artists. We will be hosting two artists who will quickly sketch live digital drawings of our visitors and provide you with a full color print on the spot.
RIMS 2014 Annual Conference & Exhibition is a three-day event that will take place from April 27 to 30 in Denver, Colorado.
By Rebecca Dearth | April 4, 2014
ReEmployAbility co-founder, Frances Ford, will be moderating and participating in a panel discussion at Workers’ Compensation Claims Professionals’ The 2014 Florida Bar Workers’ Compensation Forum on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 2:20 p.m., in Orlando, Florida.
As part of the Florida Bar Forum Lecture Program, Frances will be discussing light duty return to work using 501(c)(3) nonprofit placement. The panel will cover topics such as the importance of transitional duty, how transitional duty using nonprofit organizations works, and results that can be achieved by implementing such a program. Also on the panel are Kelly Kosmin of G4S Secure Solutions (USA) and Russell H. Young, Attorney, Sarasota.
The Annual Florida Bar Workers’ Compensation Forum is a two-day continuing education seminar for Florida practitioners, claims professionals, supervisors, risk managers, and executives interesting in advancing their knowledge of Florida workers’ compensation litigation.
If you are attending this seminar, be sure to catch this important discussion!
For more information about The 2014 Florida Bar Worker’s Compensation Forum, visit http://www.wccp.org
By Rebecca Dearth | March 26, 2014
ReEmployAbility’s Transition2Work program has matched thousands of injured workers with temporary modified duty assignments at its partner nonprofit organizations. As an extension of an employer’s existing return to work program, Tranistion2Work provides transitional employment with a nonprofit agency for an injured worker when the pre-injury employer is unable to accommodate a temporary light duty work release onsite. Injured workers who participate in the program are able to earn income while becoming reacquainted with the work experience, enjoy the camaraderie of a work environment, and experience the benefits of helping the community. In most cases, a successful outcome means the injured worker is able to quickly return back to his previous position with his employer. But every now and then, things work out differently and amazing opportunities develop!
One such case is that of forty-nine year old Jim,* who was a courier for a major storage and information management company. His job entailed picking up bins weighing as much as 70 lbs. and driving a company vehicle to transport client materials to company locations. He injured his right arm when he fell while trying to catch a falling container.
A few months after his injury, his doctor released him back to work on light duty. His employer, unable to accommodate those restrictions, enrolled him in ReEmployAbility’s Transition2Work program. He was placed at a nonprofit called Fifty Forward Donelson Station, one of the thousands of agencies in ReEmployAbility’s national network. This organization enriches the lives of adults age 50+ by providing pathways to health, well-being, and lifelong learning. For Jim, this was the first “office job” he’d ever held—and he was nervous.
Fifty Forward’s Program Director, Lisa Maddox, assigned Jim to the front desk, performing mostly administrative tasks, greeting guests, and giving tours. “We rely heavily on volunteers to help us run our nonprofit organization so we welcomed the help,” said Maddox. “Our members took to him right away! He was very well liked.”
Jim worked at Fifty Forward for four months while he continued treatment for his injury. He learned a variety of new skills, met many people, and reported that he enjoyed the organization and the people he met there. Once Jim’s doctor determined that he had reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), meaning he had healed to his maximum capacity but would have some permanent restrictions that impact his work duties, Jim could not go back to his original position at his company. The requirements of his old job were just too strenuous for what he was now able to do. While unfortunate for the company to lose a good worker, it was even worse for Jim because now he was without a job… or so it seemed.
Because of his newly acquired skills and his stand out performance while in placement with the nonprofit, as soon as Fifty Forward Donelson Station had a position available, they contacted Jim and offered him the job. Jim eagerly jumped at the chance and joined the nonprofit on a permanent basis performing the same job he had held during his participation in the Transition2Work program.
What started as an unlikely job became Jim’s new career. By participating in the Transition2Work, Jim had the opportunity to work, learn new skills, and gain valuable community connections while recuperating from his injury. The connections, experience, and skills gained during his placement with the nonprofit helped to earn him his next job. Once again, Transition2Work has provided a ‘win-win’ solution with positive impacts for all involved!
* Name has been changed.
By Rebecca Dearth | March 11, 2014
2013 proved to be another exciting and record-breaking year for ReEmployAbility’s Transition2Work Program! Today, we released our Program Results Summary, highlighting the Transition2Work program’s accomplishments in fiscal year 2013, as well as key results overall. The summary includes information about our placement success rate, client savings, growing national nonprofit network, as well as other key success indicators.
By Rebecca Dearth | February 28, 2014
Today we say “farewell” to our Project Manager and friend, Abby, and wish her “good luck” on her new adventure.
With Abby’s departure comes a time of reflection for us. You see, every business has “defining moments,” and, for our business, one of those moments was in 2010 when we hired Abby.
After having to scale back during the recession of the mid 2000’s, we were starting to see encouraging signs of growth. We were a much smaller operation back then — we had only 10 employees, a smaller office, and our Transition2Work program was in its infancy. The economy was recovering and we knew we were onto something big with our new program, but to get there we also knew we would need to invest in technology to make the program possible. It was at that point that we made the decision to hire someone, on a temporary basis, to help out with the data entry duties necessary to convert our office from our old case management system to a new, more robust, CRM system. One of our employees, Alia, suggested we call her sister, Abby, who she claimed to be, “way smarter than I am.”
Abby started with us as a “Data Entry Temp” shortly after and we very quickly realized that we had found someone of real value. It was apparent she had an analytical mindset and a seemingly limitless aptitude for IT, business processes, and administration. We found she had an uncanny ability to evaluate and understand our business needs and then translate those needs to our new system. She knew, better than we, what it would take to make us more efficient.
Soon after joining our team, Abby took the role of project lead to coordinate with our IT partner during the planning and implementation of our CRM software. She handled all of the customizations. She became our CRM and technology “guru.” She became the “brains” of our operation, our “go to,” indispensable person.
It’s difficult to give a person like Abby a job title, because her role never fit neatly under just one heading. While her official title transitioned from “Data Entry Temp” to “Project Manager,” she wore so many hats and was really so much more: IT department, support desk, graphic designer, photographer, public relations writer, social media manager, creative genius, client implementation manager, blogger, customer relations specialist, data analyst, report developer, workflow strategist, administrative support, and expert jib jab card creator… The list could go on!
When she came to work with us, she eagerly and confidently took the bull by the horns. She jumped in and created her own place in our company. Looking back it’s clear: when Abby joined our company we knew we were on the verge of something big but we didn’t know we had just hired the person who would get us there.
She evolved with us and she grew – in her role, in her skills – and in turn, our business grew. The two evolved together. ReEmployAbility wouldn’t be where it is now if we didn’t have her. We could never have made that leap, from our old system to the new, without her help. And that leap in technology was the impetus that drove our business forward. We couldn’t have continued, we couldn’t have grown with the old technology, and we certainly could not have grown without Abby’s help. She led us to where we are today. She evolved and our business evolved, together.
In late 2012 we reached another one of those “defining moments.” Abby came to us to announce her impending departure; her husband, Ricardo, had finished ROTC and his degree and the next step would be Initial Flight School (IFS). It was just a matter of time before he’d receive his orders and their family would relocate to Columbus, Mississippi. When we found out she was leaving we were happy for her but also we knew we were in trouble. How does one “replace” someone like Abby?
As it turns out you don’t – at least not with just one person. Abby’s departure was delayed time and time again, which worked out to be a good thing for us. In that time, we’ve found not one, but three people to fill her shoes: an IT Manager, a Customer Implementation Specialist, and a Director of Marketing.
Today, Abby begins the next chapter of her journey. She will have a new home, a new addition to her family, and a new career path as she studies IT/ MIS. What will we miss the most, when Abby has left? The ability to pick up the phone knowing we can ask her any question and get the answer right away. For so many years, she’s been the “brains” of our operation and she knows more about how it works than anyone else. Of course she does – she helped build it.
Words really cannot express what she’s done for us. She changed who we are as a company and her accomplishments mean so much to us, not just for the company, but also to us personally. We can’t ever truly thank her enough for what she’s done. She has helped to shape our future. We owe a large part of our success to her and we wish her all the best in the future.
We are confident she will build something wonderful.
- Deb & Frances
By Rebecca Dearth | February 18, 2014
Last week our founders, Frances Ford and Debra Livingston, spent an afternoon on the campus of The University of Tampa speaking with Entrepreneurship students. Frances and Deb were invited to the College of Business by Professor, Dr. Rustogi, to address his “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” class at the University.
The course, targeted towards aspiring entrepreneurs, provides an overview of important business start-up considerations such as legal structure, planning, and risk analysis, and requires students to develop a feasibility study for a new business venture.
Deb and Frances shared their business start-up story, explained to students the challenges and joys associated with building a successful business, provided advice, and fielded questions from the class.
Debra had this to say about the speaking engagement, “The experience was so much fun! It was energizing to speak to such an enthusiastic and motivated group of students. Several of them had already started their own business and they were all very eager to ask us questions about our background as entrepreneurs. We enjoyed recounting our company’s history, our important milestones, and sharing our vision of the future. ”
By Frances Ford | January 15, 2014
People usually resist doing things that are good for them because they are not sure they will like it. The conundrum is if you never try it, how will you know you do not like it? In the work environment, most employees do not like change; they are comfortable doing what they know. Years ago, the national business bestseller, Who Moved My Cheese, by Dr. Spencer Johnson, presented an allegorical tale of 2 mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two mice-size characters called “Hem” and “Haw” who suddenly discover their “Cheese” disappears from the “maze” they live in. Hem becomes angry and closed minded, resisting the change, even if it means he has nothing to eat. Haw, however, valiantly overcomes his fear of change and strikes out to look for new cheese. This mindset frees him to enjoy life again and he finds new cheese. Haw’s experiences lead him to several revelations such as “The Quicker You Let Go of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese!”
Learn some new ideas and discover how they can help your employees while your company “moves the cheese forward” in the article, The Benefits of Volunteering.
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