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Policy 5230

Return to Work

I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to facilitate an expedient return to work for employees who have suffered personal or work-related injuries/illnesses while observing the temporary physical restrictions identified by the treating physician. The institution considers this a productive way to utilize valued employees when they are rehabilitating from injuries without jeopardizing that recovery.

II. Applicability

This policy extends to classified, administrative and professional faculty and wage employees at Longwood University.

III. Definitions

  1. Work-Related Injuries or Illnesses:These are conditions that occur within the course of employment as defined in Section 65.2 of the Code of Virginia.
  2. Return-to-Work Coordinator:Designated Human Resources (HR) employee who acts as a primary contact for the Workers' Compensation Program and the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program communications and facilitates the Return-to-Work Program.
  3. Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI):The point at which an employee has recovered and no further progress is anticipated.
  4. Transitional Duty: A temporary situation where an employee returns from a work-related or non-work related injury or illness to medically restricted or modified duties. Duties assigned can be those identified by the employee's current Position Description/Employee Work Profile (EWP) minus listed duties inconsistent with the restrictions; or they can be a separate assignment in the current department or another department.
  5. Transitional Employment Plan (TEP):Documentation of duties the employee will perform during the transitional duty period.
  6. Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP):Program administered by the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) which provides employees with income replacement during periods of short and long-term disabilities.
  7. Workers' Compensation Program: This program provides wage-replacement, medical treatment and incidental expense insurance protection for employees. The program is administered by the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) for state employees in accordance with Section 65.2 Code of Virginia. See the Department of Human Resources Management (DHRM Policy Number: 4.60 - Workers Compensation for further details.)

IV. Policy

  1. Notice of Work -Related Injury/Illness:HR will provide a copy of the employee's EWP to the panel physician selected by the employee, and will complete and submit the Employer's Accident Report to the Worker's Compensation Program within ten (10) days of the incident.
  2. Communication with Treating Physician:The Return-to-Work Coordinator will manage communications relating to Return-to-Work option with the treating physician. The Return-to-Work Coordinator will submit the Position Description/EWP, physical demands, and the TEP if applicable, to the treating physician in order to facilitate a full understanding of the employee's normal duties and those in which he or she might be required to perform under the restricted duty assignment.
  3. Transitional Employment Plan:If the employee is released to work with restrictions, the Return-to-Work Coordinator, and the employee's supervisor will, within one business day, review the restrictions set forth by the treating physician and will determine if transitional employment is available for the employee. If so, the Return to work Coordinator, and the supervisor will meet, discuss and develop a TEP. This plan will outline the duties the employee will be expected to perform, and if applicable, their duration. If the employee cannot return to work in the pre-injury department, the Return-to-Work Coordinator will attempt to coordinate a return-to work within another department. The Return-to-Work Coordinator will review the TEP with the employee. Care should be exercised not to place the employee or co-workers at risk by virtue of the transitional employment assignment. The plan shall not include duties for which the employee is unqualified to perform or those which violate physician's restrictions.
  4. Monitoring Transitional Duty Assignments:The Return-to-Work Coordinator and the supervisor shall evaluate progress with the employee monthly and can, with the concurrence of the physician, modify or upgrade the duties consistent with the employee's progress toward recovery.
  5. If The Employee Is Not Released or Transitional Employment Is Not Available:The Return-to-Work Coordinator will make verbal contact with the employee, and if applicable, the Worker's Compensation Program, and the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program monthly and may communicate with the treating physician during this time if necessary to clarify issues or communicate pertinent information.
  6. Long-Term Restrictions:Under normal circumstances, transitional employment assignments may not exceed ninety (90) days. Approval for additional days of transitional employment may be granted by the Chief Human Resources Officer. If it is determined that the employee has long-term restrictions that result in his or her inability to perform the essential functions of the primary position, the provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act and other applicable laws will be applied to determine suitability for employment.
  7. Responsibilities: The Return-to-Work Coordinator is responsible for implementation of the program and dissemination of information regarding the program. Duties also include routine technical guidance to employees and supervisors, and file maintenance.

V. Procedures

Procedures for Return to Work - (www.longwood.edu/hr/index.html)

Approved by the Board of Visitors December 1, 2001.
Revised and approved by the Board of Visitors, September 7, 2002
Revised and approved by the Board of Visitors, September 14, 2007
Revised and reviewed by Cabinet, August 08, 2012.
Revised and approved by the Board of Visitors, September 14, 2012