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Disability Management
3 min read

The importance of managing disability files effectively

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What is disability in the workplace?

Disability is a work stoppage caused by medical reasons that are independent of one's job and that result in functional limitations that are incompatible with the performance of one's current duties. Work stoppage may be of short or long duration. The concept of workplace disability typically excludes employment injury cases handled by the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST).

What is disability management?

Disability management involves the entire process, from the onset of disability to its conclusion. These include stages such as the initial interview, information gathering, accompaniment of the worker, eligibility assessment, medical follow-up, use of appropriate strategies, follow-up with the applicable compensation plan, coordination of the return to work and relapse prevention.

Why is practicing a good disability management important in the workplace?

In Canada, although one worker in three will experience a period of disability exceeding 90 days during his or her career, scarcely one company in three (36%) practices rigorous management of disability files. 
And yet, absenteeism caused by disability can generate significant expenses for a negligent or ill-equipped organization. Whether the costs are direct (insurance premiums, salary continuation, claims administration and management, overtime, etc.) or indirect (replacement, loss of productivity, etc.), the cost can quickly escalate. 
Not to mention the intangible psychological costs associated with the morale of the employees present, who sometimes have to pull extra strings to compensate for the absence of colleagues on disability (or who may experience a sense of injustice, for example).
Moreover, there is a growing number of cases associated with mental health. According to the World Health Organization, 450 million people currently suffer from a mental illness. This category is the leading cause of disability worldwide. It affects more than 6.7 million Canadians. In fact, one Canadian in two is or was affected by a mental illness before the age of 40. It's no surprise, then, that inherent claims with mental health specialists are almost 2.5 times higher than in 2019.

Why should your disability management files be outsourced?

Disability management is often a delicate matter for a company. For one thing, it's a highly specialized niche with which those assigned to it are not very familiar. For example, to protect their relationships or avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, employers are reluctant to venture too far into case management. The people who manage such cases often walk on eggshells.
Evidence of their insecurity, the question heard most often in disability management files is "Am I entitled to...? Whether it's to contact an attending physician, carry out a shadowing operation, manage sick leave and establish the rules, or request justification for absence on medical grounds, this pervasive uncertainty reflects both their unease and their concerns in a host of situations.

What can an expert partner like Lussier provide in disability management?

Our specialists are impartial when it comes to disability management in the workplace, with extensive experience in insurance and human resources management. As a result, they are well equipped to assess cases and determine an action plan that will promote both the employee's well-being and your company's cost control.
Above all, our presence as a partner helps preserve the employer-employee relationship. Because we take care of the delicate aspects, the employer can maintain a warmer bond with the employee than in a purely administrative or compensation relationship.
Finally, the 360o approach of our disability management consultants is based on best practices and the law in human resources and labor relations. This means that our approach is not limited to the compensation aspect. Our global strategic approach enables us to manage all aspects of a disability file.