Employers need to have strategies in place – such as transitional return to work – to preserve the productivity of older workers and bridge the gap to retirement. That was the message from Unum Assistant Vice President of Health and Productivity Kristin Tugman when she spoke recently to human resources directors, disability inclusion specialists and disability community activists at a forum jointly sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Business Leadership Network.
Tugman, who in June received her doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology, spoke about Unum's expertise in return to work and stay at work, especially with an aging workforce.
Her presentation, “Returning Injured or Recovering Employees to Work Makes Good Business Sense”, emphasized the importance not only of disability inclusion regarding disabled individuals not currently in the workforce, but also the importance of maintaining productivity of those in the workforce.
“Anyone who suffers a short term disability is at risk for continuing to long term disability and ending up on Social Security,” Tugman explains. “That risk is even greater today due to the aging workforce. Those 55 and older are at greater risk of being injured or having a chronic condition that puts them out of work, and they also recover at a slower rate than their younger counterparts.”
Other speakers at the conference included Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).