The American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
ADA, originally signed into law in 1990, prohibits employment-related discrimination against disabled employees and job applicants.
The ADAAA, effective January 1, 2009, substantially broadened the definition of who may attempt to seek protection under ADA, making it easier for an individual to establish “disabled” for ADA purposes.
“It’s a reasonable assumption the ADA amendment will likely lead to an increase in the number and variety of workplace accommodation requests. Many employers aren’t sure what to expect and may struggle with putting the necessary pieces in place,” said Dr. Robert Anfield, chief medical officer for CIGNA’s disability programs.
CIGNA Workplace Accommodation Services Program
CIGNA launches the CIGNA Workplace Accommodation Services program to help disability clients address the new requirements coming from the recently enacted Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). Most of these services are included at no cost to CIGNA disability plan customers and help employees contribute to their full potential.
According to a study by the Job Accommodation Network, for every dollar invested in workplace accommodations, employers receive about $10 in return benefits including increased worker productivity and saved costs associated with training a new employee.
As part of CIGNA’s Workplace Accommodation Services program, employers can access counselors through a toll-free helpline and seek assistance with:
1. Identifying at-risk employees who may be headed for disability if steps aren’t taken to prevent it.
2. Create well-documented job descriptions assessing an employee’s or applicant’s ability to perform a specific job function.
CIGNA’s vocational rehabilitation counselors identify ways to keep people at work or return to work after a disability.
Workplace Accommodation Services’ Three Components
1. ADA Helpline and association with the Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
Provided at no cost, CIGNA’s ADA helpline gives disability clients access to experts who can help them more quickly connect to the right JAN resource and discuss CIGNA programs supporting ADAAA compliance. The helpline is staffed with certified and Masters-prepared vocational rehabilitation counselors, who have also attained Certified ADA Administrator designations and completed professional training from JAN.
2. Helping employees stay at work
Individuals with physical and/or psychological limitations associated with a progressive illness or condition sometimes fail to identify warning signs possibily leading to a disability. CIGNA’s counselors provide expanded intervention services, such as assessments of the employee’s ability to perform tasks required for the job position, ergonomic accommodations and assistance with equipment purchases, and an on-site review of the overall workplace environment. (workersxzcompxzkit)
In addition, CIGNA’s fee-based Job Analysis Service helps disability clients develop ADAAA-compliant job descriptions after a thorough review a position’s job functions within an organization and a process to identify a job’s physical and cognitive demands. This information helps a disability client objectively assess an employee’s ability to perform specific required functions and make informed job accommodation decisions.
3. Reasonable Accommodation Benefit
Available as part of CIGNA’s long-term disability plan coverage, CIGNA can help pay some of the costs required for a job accommodation, such as new equipment or technology that can return an employee to work.
Author Robert Elliott, senior vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers’ Compensation costs, including airlines, health care, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He can be contacted at: Robert_Elliott@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-786-8286.
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