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Human Resources

Transitional Work Assignment and Return-to-Work

Providing temporary transitional work for an injured employee supports the mission of the University by maximizing our human and financial resources. The program achieves this by helping campus employees who have work-related injuries or illnesses return to work as soon as possible. When possible, temporary modified work is provided for employees who are unable perform their usual jobs. It is the intention of the University to provide this work for all eligible campus employees as soon as possible following the onset of an industrial disability.

In a situation wherein an employee has permanent disability the University, through a group called the Return-to-Work Committee, utilizes a collaborative, consultative decision making process incorporating the services of disability benefit programs, Human Resources, the employee’s supervisor and physicians, and other resources as appropriate.

Goals

  • University concern for employees injured at work is expressed by assistance with their speedy recovery.
  • Minimize the employee’s transition period from partial disability to full duty.
  • Maintain high workplace productivity.
  • Prevent deterioration of employee work skills, conditioning, and attitudes that could result in extending periods of disability and decreasing morale.
  • Reduce financial and other losses.


Transitional Work Assignment

A Transitional Work Assignment is a temporary work assignment which complies with all medical restrictions indicated by the employee's treating physician. It may involve modification of the injured employee’s job duties, i.e., tailoring work duties to the injured employee’s medical limitations and vocational abilities to maximize recovery, or alternate work that is compatible with the employee's job skills and experience.

Most transitional work assignments will be of short duration, allow for minimal to moderate work restrictions, and are provided with the expectation that full recovery will occur within thirty days. If work restrictions last over thirty days then the work assignment should be re-evaluated and documented with a written Transitional Work Assignment. This work assignment is temporary and will not exceed a period of 90 calendar days. The plan is signed by the injured employee and department supervisor or representative.

Eligibility

Employees with temporary medical restrictions are eligible for transitional work if they are expected to progress in their recovery from a work injury or illness and require temporary, short-term modification of their job duties. Employees with restrictions which permanently preclude them from returning to their usual and customary job are not eligible for participation in a transitional work plan.

Employees must obtain written medical documentation from their treating physician indicating their specific temporary work restrictions, including temporary limitations regarding the number of hours an employee can work, if such a restriction is appropriate.

In no event shall the transitional work assignment for casual or temporary employees exceed the duration of the temporary appointment. All Transitional Work Assignments must end no later than the last day of an employee’s casual or temporary appointment.


PROCEDURES:

Report Injury: To ensure that proper medical treatment and referral to the campus medical provider is accomplished, supervisors should report all injuries to Human Resources immediately.

Communication: It is important that the injured employee, their supervisor, the treating physician and the Workers’ Compensation Specialist communicate immediately after an injury and throughout the recovery process.

Initially the Workers’ Compensation Specialist should notify the treating physician regarding the University Return to Work program. The employee must provide a doctor’s note or work status report for their supervisor immediately following the appointment. The supervisor will work with the injured employee (and the Workers’ Compensation Specialist if necessary) to initiate the transitional work assignment.

Please note: Any discussions between the treating physician and the supervisor must be limited to information necessary to facilitate return to work. Diagnosis, prognosis, and most treatment information cannot be released without a demonstrable need to know.

Transitional Work Group: The primary function of this Group is to engage in a collaborative process to identify and create a temporary transitional work assignment that conforms to the temporary work restrictions. The group will normally include the employee, supervisor, Workers' Compensation Specialist, and other resources as appropriate.

Transitional Work Assignment: As soon as an employee's temporary work restrictions have been provided by the treating physician, the supervisor will provide transitional work if work is available. Modified work and hours are temporary in duration and subject to regular re-evaluation as new medical information becomes available. If the treating physician has not released the employee to full duty in thirty days then the Transitional Work Group will determine if work is available, and if so, develop a written Transitional Work Assignment. If the employee has not been released to full duty in sixty days then the Transitional Work Group should perform another re-evaluation in anticipation of the termination of transitional work at nintey days. The Transitional Work assignment will be terminated at nintey days.

There are times when temporary work restrictions preclude work, or work is not available and thus a Transitional Work Assignment is not possible. In this situation the employee will be eligible for Industrial Disability Leave or Temporary Disability benefits. If the medical condition of an employee on medical leave improves significantly then the employee may become eligible for a Transitional Work Assignment.

Employees will be paid at their current rate of pay for transitional work regardless of the transitional work assignment.

Employees or supervisors with questions are encouraged to contact the campus Workers' Compensation Specialist at ext. 2623.

Permanent Disability: Occasionally, a medical situation will become permanent and stationary and the employee will be left with permanent work restrictions and some degree of permanent disability. Should this be the case, a University Return-to-Work Comittee will be formed to participate in a collaborative, consultative decision making process to determine if, and how, an employee can continue in their customary job. This Committee will be comprised of the employee, supervisor, Workers' Compensation specialist, Human Resources, disability benefits, physicians or other entities as apppropriate. The interactive process and decisions of this Committee will be documented.

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