Return To Work – We Have You Covered.
BIG provides policies to ensure meaningful work activity for employees who are temporarily unable to perform all, or portions, of their regular work assignments or duties. This policy applies to employees suffering from either work or non-work related injury or illness. The goal is to allow valued company employees to return to productive, regular work as quickly as possible. By providing temporary transitional or modified work activity, injured and recovering employees remain an active and vital part of the company. Studies show that a well-constructed Return to Work Policy reduces lost time days, allows workers to recover more quickly and makes for a more positive work environment.
All active employees who become temporarily unable to perform their regular job duties due to a compensable work related or non-work related injury or illness may be eligible for transitory work duties within the provisions of this program.
- Transitional duty is a therapeutic tool used to accelerate an injured employee’s return to work by addressing the physical, emotional, attitudinal and environmental factors that otherwise inhibit a prompt return to work. These assignments are meant to be temporary and may not last longer than 90 days, though multiple back-to-back 90-day assignments are allowable if it is medically warranted.
- Alternate duty is a part of ’s Return to Work Policy that is designed as a placement service for individuals who have reached maximum medical improvement and are still unable to perform the essential functions of their pre-injury job.
Length of Duty
- If work is available that meets the limitations or restrictions prescribed by the employee’s attending medical provider, that employee may be assigned transitional or modified work for a period not to exceed 90 days. Transitional or light duty is a temporary program, and an employee’s eligibility in these reduced assignments will be based strictly on medical documentation and recovery progress.
- An employee’s limitations and restrictions are effective 24 hours a day. Any employee who fails to follow his or her restrictions may cause a delay in healing or may further aggravate the condition. Employees who disregard their established restrictions, whether they are at work or not, may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
- Transitional or modified duty will be available to all employees on a fair and equitable basis with temporary assignments based on skill and abilities. Eligibility will be based upon completion of the Return to Work Evaluation Form by the employee’s attending medical professional. An employee on modified duty will be considered part of the regular shift staffing, with recognition of the employee’s limitations within the department.
The following responsibilities apply to various levels within the company.
- Senior management will ensure the policy’s enforcement among all levels at and will actively promote and support this policy and the Return to Work Program as a whole.
- Supervisors will support the employee’s return to work by identifying appropriate modified assignments and ensuring the employee does not exceed the medical professional’s set restrictions. Supervisors will also stay in regular contact with absent employees and communicate ’s attendance expectations clearly. They are also responsible for reporting any problems with employees and this policy to the return to work manager or program supervisor.
- Injured workers will notify their supervisors in a timely manner when their condition requires an absence. They will closely follow their medial professional’s treatment plan and actively participate in ’s Return to Work Program, which includes following all the guidelines of this policy. Injured employees will also help supervisors identify potential options for transitional duties. While supervisors are responsible for maintaining constant communication with the injured employee, the worker also has the obligation to maintain contact with about their condition and status. The injured worker will complete all required paperwork in a timely manner.
- Return to Work Program Manager will be trained in understanding the physical and psychosocial aspects of disability and will also understand the nuances of ’s Return to Work Program, policies and all associated forms. This individual will be able to testify in court as a vocational expert if necessary. He or she will provide program leadership by facilitating communication between union officials, employees, managers and medical providers. This manager will be responsible for creating and maintaining the Job Bank and will assist supervisors with on-site problem solving.
- will do everything in its power to tailor the restricted work schedule to the injured employee’s normal, pre-condition work schedule. However, depending on the job limitations, it may be necessary for the employee to take on a specifically designed, temporary schedule to accommodate these restrictions.
Payment of Wages
- If qualified authorities determine an employee’s injury is work related, will pay benefits and wages in accordance with the state workers’ compensation statute and with the company’s human resources policies. If an employee on modified duty is unable to report to work, the employee may then be charged for up to eight hours of sick leave per shift.
- Employees performing modified duty on a restricted work week (during the first 90 days of workers’ compensation leave) will receive payment for hours worked from the company, while hours not worked will be reimbursed according to workers’ compensation guidelines.
- An employee performing transitional duty for a non-work related injury or illness on a normal work schedule shall receive an hourly rate for all time worked that may not necessarily equal the full-duty hourly rate.
- Employees performing transitional duty on a restricted workweek following a period of short-term disability (STD) may receive a combination of regular pay and partial disability benefits. The employee and the Human Resources Department will work out this combination on a case-by-case basis.
- If employees take vacation or there is a holiday during restricted duty, they are entitled to their regular vacation selection or holiday pay as it would apply to normal, non-restricted duty.
- If an employee is unable to work in any capacity and the company approves of the absences, the employee must stay in constant communication with the Return to Work Program Manager and the direct supervisor. Each must receive an update of the employee’s medical status on at least a weekly basis. Failure to do so may result in a reduction in available benefits and discipline up to and including termination.
- does not allow employees to schedule medical appointments that interfere with working hours. Employees may use time off for medical appointments if they have it available and if they coordinate the absence in advance with their supervisor. Non-emergency medical appointments not scheduled in advance may be cause for denial of time off.
- The employee’s medical provider must complete the Return to Work Evaluation Form for each visit to evaluate the impairment. It is the employee’s responsibility to inform of his or her medical status after each doctor visit. This applies to both work related and non-work related injuries and illnesses that interfere with assigned.
- In the event an injury or illness is work related, report it to your supervisor immediately, or no later than the end of the shift on which the injury occurs.
- Complete and sign a Report of Injury Form.
- Let your supervisor know that you are seeking medical treatment and obtain a Return to Work Evaluation Form. The Return to Work Evaluation form must be completed for each practitioner visit regardless of your choice of physician and regardless whether the condition is work related or not.
- Participate in the Return to Work Program on temporary transitional work for up to 90 days while your medical provider and supervisor continuously review your condition.
REFUSAL TO PARTICIPATE
If you are unable to return to your regular job but are capable of performing transitional duty, you must return to transitional duty. Employees who choose not to participate in the Return to Work Program or follow all regulations in this Return to Work Policy may become ineligible for state workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, refusal to participate may be a basis for termination. Unpaid Family Medical Leave may apply upon refusal and disability benefits will cease.
FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE
In the case of reduced work time, the Family Medical Leave and Partial Disability programs may apply to compensate for lost wages due to fewer hours. Contact the Human Resources Department for further details.
Contact your BIG representative at (954) 800-6400 to discuss how you can implement a return to work program that is tailored for your firm.