Arguably, one of the more operational challenges facing school districts today is staffing stability. Locally and nationally, school districts have struggled to maintain staffing consistency, resulting in school closures, which have left parents and guardians scrambling to find childcare. This staffing dilemma is further exacerbated by staff time away from work due to a work-related injury or illness. Over the past 3 years, the Trust has intensified its efforts to support school district staffing stability which has resulted in mutually rewarding outcomes for individual school district members and the Trust itself.
Educational Continuity is one of four tracts contained in our Pathway to Change that focuses on supporting school district staffing consistency and stability through injury/illness prevention and reduced work-related disability days. To support our school district members in adopting best practice return-to-work strategies for injured staff that will result in reduced work-related disability days, three years ago, the Trust developed and launched a Return-to-Work Incentive Program (RTWIP) that rewards school districts for adopting return-to-work best practices. Our Return to Work Manager, Aliza Hauser, has been instrumental in working collaboratively with school district members on how they can receive their equity-based allocation of the $1.8 million annual incentive. So far, 20 school district members have been enrolled in the RTWIP.
Since its launch, our evaluation of the RTWIP reveals the following:
- 27% decrease in disability days in 2019 or 12,167 less wage loss days paid than the prior year.
- 18% decrease in disability days in 2020 or 22,141 less wage loss days paid than the prior year.
- 40% decrease in disability days in the last 2 fiscal years.
- Among school district members, the equivalent of 46 full-time staff* (FTE) and 85 full-time staff* were gained in 2019 and 2020, respectively, due to reduced disability days.
- *260 days/FTE (52 weeks/year x 5 days/week x 8 hours/day)
We encourage our school district members who are not yet participating in the RTWIP to touch base with Aliza Hauser to find out more about how they can have the same favorable experience as their peers. For school districts who are program participants, we encourage you to submit current salary information on eligible claims by December 31st to receive your FY 2020-21 incentive.
As we approach the end of the calendar year and enter the holiday season, we offer our appreciation and gratitude for the ongoing, strong partnership we have with you, our school district members. We will continue to center our school district members and their staff as we develop programs aimed at minimizing individual and collective cost of risk while maximizing injured worker outcomes.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season! We look forward to our continued collaboration in the new year.