While several policy proposals advocate for more employer responsibility in encouraging workers to return to work after injury and disability, few studies have analyzed existing employer-based return to work programs in the U.S. or considered employer and employee factors that may facilitate or inhibit employers’ incentives to accommodate workers after injury. Using administrative data from three unique accommodation programs in Oregon’s workers’ compensation system, we document dispersion in accommodation rates across arrange of worker, firm, and injury characteristics. Then, we use variance decomposition and Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition methods to estimate the extent to which variation in use of these programs can be explained by observable factors and the extent to which unobserved barriers may affect employer and worker decisions to pursue workplace accommodation after disability. Firm effects are the largest driver of accommodation for temporary disabilities, while injury characteristics explain more of the variation in accommodation rates for permanent disabilities and vocational rehabilitation.
WI22-02: Exploring Worker and Firm Characteristics that Drive Use of Accommodation for Workers with Disabilities