The University of Lethbridge has a progressive return to work program in place for its employees who are recovering from illness, injuries or surgery. The premise of the program is that employees are the U of L’s greatest asset and that health and wellness is critical to overall University success.
The goal of the Return to Work Program is to help U of L employees who are ill and/or injured to maintain their identity as valued members of the University community. Recovery occurs more smoothly, and the personal and economic impacts of injury and disability are minimized when employees maintain contact with their workplace and colleagues while under medical care.
The role of the Coordinator, Wellness is to work with the employee, the medical team, various rehabilitation programs involved and the Supervisor to ensure a safe and timely return to the workplace. This is achieved by adapting work hours and duties to an individual’s level of ability, based on input from a qualified medical professional. To support early intervention of this program, it is recommended that the employee and/or supervisor notify the Coordinator, Wellness as soon as known of pending medical or health concerns.
This same process is applied to employees who are injured on the job or in a job related activity. In addition the individual is requested to complete an incident report, which is automatically forwarded to Wellness and Risk and Safety Services. This allows the incident to be followed up on by the respective department to ensure the health and safety of the individual and future employees are addressed. An investigation may occur and this may result in corrective action being taken.
A note from a qualified medical professional is required to commence the return to work process. The note must identify when the employee may return to work, the type of duties he/she may undertake and any additional resources/guidelines the employee requires which could impact the Return to Work plan.
The Coordinator, Wellness, will meet with the employee and consult with the supervisor to review the expectations and to develop a Return to Work (RTW) plan for the employee. The plan will be based on the medical recommendations from a qualified medical professional.
The RTW plan may involve graduated hours, graduated duties or both, to support the employee’s return to work. Once the RTW plan is completed it will be sent to the supervisor, the employee and payroll by email. In the event the employee does not have access to email, they will be provided with a letter to identify the plan.
The Coordinator, Wellness, will maintain regular contact with the employee to ensure the plan is meeting his/her needs. This information will be communicated with the supervisor.
Pro-Active Medical Management - A similar process may be followed if an employee has a medical issue that requires job modification or coordination of medical treatment and work duties. This may allow the employee to remain at work while participating in medical treatment. In order to be most effective, it is recommended that the employee and/or supervisor notify the Coordinator, Wellness as soon as known of pending medical or health concerns.
This document outlines the general Return to Work process. Each employee’s return to work is individualized, and the process may vary depending on individual circumstances.