Presentation T P22

T P22 (Poster Presentation):
Financial incentive programs to improve return to work outcomes

Presented by: Sue Gargett


Gargett S1

  1. Trainee, Work Disability Prevention CIHR Strategic Training Program, University of Toronoto, Toronto, Canada.



Poor return to work outcomes after a work-place injury can have significant negative consequences for many. Given this a range of strategies are used to reduce the likelihood and impact of work disability including vocational rehabilitation, work-place and work modifications, health services interventions and legislation. Financial incentives are another option. The purpose of this study is to 1) locate and compare incentive programs for new employers designed to motivate them to hire a previously-injured worker unable to return to their original employer, and 2) to assess evidence on the effectiveness of such programs. Identifying interventions that are effective and can be implemented elsewhere is an important step in reducing the burden of work disability.


A three-stage literature review was conducted. First, peer-reviewed academic sources were searched. This was extended to grey literature sources specifically, the websites of 43 workers compensation (WC) authorities from Australia, Canada and the United States when little relevant data were located. Third, following identification of programs meeting the study’s inclusion criteria academic sources were re-searched using the titles of identified programs.


Ten relevant programs were located. These varied in terms of the incentives offered, features of included incentives, eligibility criteria and program duration. Wage subsidies, cost protection from future/previous injury, subsidised work-place modifications and exemption of the worker’s salary from the employer’s WC premium were the main types of incentives offered. Little evidence on the impact on return to work outcomes was found. Only one jurisdiction reported relevant data and although these were encouraging caution is need when interpreting them.


Some WC jurisdictions use financial incentives to encourage employers to hire workers with a previous work-related injury. This is despite a relative lack of evidence on the effectiveness of such measures. Using financial incentives to improve return to work outcomes is a complex policy area. Various implementation issues have been identified in relation to similar programs targeting other populations. Further research on the effectiveness and efficiency of the approach is required.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
12:45 - 13:45 Poster Viewing
Session: Disability management