Return-to-Work and Transitional Work Plan

The Return-To-Work Program supports the mission of the University by maximizing our human and financial resources. The Program achieves this by helping Campus employees who have work-incurred injuries or illnesses return to work as soon as 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. The Return to Work Program utilizes a collaborative, consultative decision making process incorporating the services of Disability Programs, Human Resources, the employee’s supervisor and physicians, and other resources as appropriate.

Goals

  • University concern for employees injured at work is demonstrated by assistance with their swift 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 the disability costs of Workers’ Compensation claims.

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.

Eligibility

Employees with temporary partial disabilities are eligible for transitional work if they are anticipated to progress in their recovery from an industrial injury or illness and require temporary, short-term modification of their job duties. Employees with restrictions that would permanently prevent them from returning to the job and hours worked at the time of their injury are not eligible for participation in the Program.

Employees must obtain written medical documentation from their treating physician or treating health care professional indicating their specific work restrictions.

In no event shall the transitional work for casual or temporary employees exceed the period of duration of the casual/temporary appointment. All Transitional Work Plans 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 Manager communicate immediately after an injury and throughout the recovery process. The employee must provide a doctor’s note or Work Status Report for their supervisor immediately following the appointment. At this time, the supervisor will contact the Workers’ Compensation Manager, Cindy Darnall Stevens, to initiate the Return to Work process if necessary. 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.
  • Return to WorkThe Workers’ Compensation Manager will work directly with the Department Manager of the injured employee to engage in a collaborative, consultative decision making process to identify and create a temporary transitional work assignment that conforms to the temporary work restrictions.
  • Transitional Employment Plan: The transitional work plan will adhere to the injured employee’s work restrictions to ensure there is no further injury.

An injured employee’s Workers’ Compensation (WC) wage loss benefits will stop while the employee is doing transitional work provided the number of hours being worked under the transitional job is equal to the employee's regularly scheduled work hours.

Full-time employees, who return to a part-time transitional job will remain eligible for WC wage loss benefits. They may supplement transitional job earnings and WC wage loss benefits with sick leave up to 100% of their regular earnings. If you have questions contact our Workers’ Compensation Manager at (826-3626).

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

Employees participating in transitional work shall schedule medical appointments during non-working hours. Otherwise, with supervisor approval, sick leave or vacation time will be used.

  • Monitor Transitional Employment Plans: Modified and alternative jobs and work hours are temporary in duration, and subject to regular re-evaluation. With each medical re-evaluation, duties may be altered. Upon receiving additional information, the Workers' Compensation Administrator and the Department Manager may re-evaluate its ability to provide temporary, modified work and to increase or decrease the assigned tasks, based on the restrictions outlined by the physician. Normally, the maximum amount of time an employee may be on a transitional employment plan is 90 days, however, this transitional period may be extended an upon evaluation and approval.

  • Transitional Employment Plan is not available: In some cases it will not be possible to develop a Transitional Employment Plan in conformance with an employee’s work restrictions. In this situation the employee will be eligible for Industrial Disability Leave or Temporary Disability. The employee will continue on this benefit until either the employee’s medical condition becomes permanent and stationary or the injury/illness improves so the employee can be accommodated through modified or temporary alternate work duty.

  • Employees who cannot return to regular employment: In some situations, an employee will be unable to return to their regular job because of the severity and permanence of the injury or illness. At this time, the University will evaluate the situation and refer the employee to appropriate alternative resources.