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Early Return to Work (for Work-Related Illness or Injury)

Date: August, 2011
Contact: Human Resources, x4181

The purpose of this policy is to facilitate the early return to work by providing accommodations for a staff member who has a work related illness or injury.

When an employee is injured or becomes ill due to a work-related incident, the treating physician may find it necessary to return the employee to work with medical restrictions which will impact the individual‟s ability to perform their regular job function. In such instances, the first choice for the home department/office should always be to seek to accommodate the employee by adjusting the work assignment in such a way as to permit the employee to continue to perform the regular job while operating within the restrictions. When this is not possible, the next desirable approach is for the home department/office to temporarily assign the employee to other duties which he/she can perform within the parameters of the medical restrictions.

However, in some cases, a department/office will not be able accommodate the employee in any kind of light duty assignment. In such cases, the last option available prior to taking the employee off-work completely is to temporarily loan the employee to another department/office which can accommodate the restrictions.


  1. Department Reviews Release to return to work documentation.Upon return from the medical appointment, the employee will present the supervisor with the release-to-return-to-work paperwork prepared by the treating physician. If this release indicates light duty is required the supervisor has the following options.

    Options available

    1. Accommodations within regular position:Consider whether the employee‟s regular job can be temporarily modified to permit the employee to work within the restrictions.
    2. Accommodations cannot be met within regular position:If the restrictions cannot be met within the regular position, the supervisor will then determine if the employee can be accommodated in a special light duty assignment in their regular department.
      1. The employee will sign a participation form available in the Office of Human Resources indicating clear understanding of the responsibilities associated with the assignment.
    3. Accommodations cannot be met within the department: If restrictions cannot be met anywhere in the home department, the supervisor will send supporting documentation to the Office of Human Resources.
  2. Find a Host Department for Light Duty.The Office of Human Resources has on file a listing of self-identified light duty sites and will determine if any of the sites can accommodate the employee given the restrictions identified in the report.
  3. Arranging a Host Site.The Office of Human Resources will contact and make arrangements with a host department supervisor and follow-up with the home department supervisor if arrangements can be made. The employee and the site host supervisor will sign a participation form available in the Office of Human Resources indicating clear understanding of the responsibilities associated with the assignment.
  4. No suitable light duty. If no suitable light duty assignment can be found for the employee on the University campus, the employee will be placed off-work until such time as the restrictions are lifted or modified.