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Early Return to Work Policy

POLICY

The health and well being of all employees is of great importance and concern to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. It is well documented that injuries affect the whole body and that effective rehabilitation and treatment must address the whole body. A part of that treatment includes the concept of keeping physically and mentally active within the restrictions of the particular injury. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will make every effort to provide its employees the opportunity to maximize their rehabilitation and physical therapy and enable their early return to work.

RESPONSIBILITY

The Office of Risk Management and Safety in the Administrative Affairs division in coordination with UW-System staff are charged with the responsibility of providing medical and disability benefits through the Worker's Compensation program, to employees who are injured on the job. The administration of a return-to-work program, including light duty or alternate duty assignments, is a responsibility of the Office of Risk Management and Safety in close cooperation with the Office of Human Resources and Diversity and the effected employee's department.

AUTHORITY

Executive Order 194 states "promote effective investigation and management of worker's compensation claims and the early return to work of injured employees using transitional work assignments and other rehabilitation strategies."

In addition to a positive return to work program, the University will make every effort to continue the employment of the employee within any permanent restrictions and within the spirit of the law.

SUPERVISOR

If it is determined at the time of any injury, that the disability will exceed five working days, the supervisor shall advise the Office of Risk Management and Safety of the employee's job duties and of potential alternate duty work available within the employee's department.

RISK MANAGEMENT AND SAFETY

Upon receipt of the injury report and supervisor's comments, the Office of Risk Management and Safety will consult with the treating physician regarding alternate duty assignments. With the concurrence of the treating physician, the University will be advised of the employee's release to return to an alternate duty assignment within the restrictions established by the physician.

SUPERVISOR/EMPLOYEE

The employee will be advised by the supervisor of the alternate duty chosen and will be assigned such duty for a period not to exceed 90 days or until such time as the restrictions are changed or withdrawn by the physician. The 90 day period may be extended upon recommendation of the attending physician so long as medical progress toward end of healing is being made.

DEPARTMENT/UNIT

If, at the end of the healing period, the employee's permanent restrictions preclude a return to their former position, it is the responsibility of UW-Whitewater to place the employee on the campus and within the restrictions whenever possible. Reasonable accommodations consistent with EEO and ADA guidelines will be made. The employing department/unit Administrator is encouraged to consult with other departments/units in an attempt to secure a job placement for the employee if none can be found in the employing department. The salary of the injured/ill employee will be the responsibility of the original employing unit until appropriate transfers have been made.

HUMAN RESOURCES AND DIVERSITY

If placement is not established within 30 days of the disability determination, after end of healing, the matter will be decided by the Director of the Personnel and Payroll Services. If suitable vacancies do not exist at UW-Whitewater, Human Resources and Diversity will seek other employment options within state service for the employee.