USPS Return to Work Programs Being Studied

The IG at the Postal Service is working to assess the effectiveness of a return to work program for postal employees put on injury compensation, an issue of particular interest to USPS but that is common across agencies.

USPS traditionally has had higher than average rates of employees becoming eligible for–and staying on–FECA status because of the physical demands of many of its jobs. During that time the associated costs are charged back to the employee’s work unit.

USPS operates limited duty and rehabilitation programs to help employees return to work. Under the former, employees who are temporarily unable to perform their regular functions are given work assignments within their medical limitations. Under the latter, employees who are deemed to have reached the maximum possible amount of recovery are given rehabilitation assignments, which can be outside their former duties and facility.

The IG said it is looking into issues including experiences with injured employees and returning them to work; reasons some injured employees never return to work; best practices and strategies for returning them successfully; and what types of assignments are available for injured workers.