Research/studies Workers' compensation

Studies find injured workers who worry they’ll be fired take longer to return to work

Cambridge, MA – Workers who are concerned about being fired after suffering an injury on the job may remain on disability longer than those who feel secure, according to multiple studies from the Workers Compensation Research Institute.

Released on June 19, the eight Predictors of Worker Outcomes studies were based on interviews with 3,200 injured workers in eight states. During February to June 2013, researchers talked to workers who suffered a work injury in 2010 and received workers’ compensation income benefits.

The researchers found that workers who were concerned about being fired were on disability an average of four weeks longer than other workers. One out of five workers who were concerned about being fired after being injured on the job reported they were not working – double the rate observed in workers with job security, the studies state.

“Better information about the predictors of poorer worker outcomes may allow payors and doctors to better target health care and return-to-work interventions to those most at risk,” said Dr. Richard Victor, WCRI’s executive director.