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 same principles can be applied to assist employees who may be coping and living with chronic illnesses or injuries and need workplace modifications to remain productive and at work. 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 Managed Care 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 Manager, Wellness and Recognition is to work with the employee, the medical team, rehabilitation programs, the supervisor and if the employee desires, the respective union or employee group, 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 Wellness and Recognition as soon as it is 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 or U of L Managed Care form
The Manager, Wellness and Recognition, will meet with the employee and consult with the supervisor to review the expectations and to develop a Return to Work (RTW) or Stay at Work plan for the employee. The plan will be based on the medical recommendations from a qualified medical professional.
The employee may wish to involve his/her respective union, employee group or advocate.
The RTW plan may involve graduated hours, modified 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 benefits (to ensure sick time entitlement is accurate) by email. In the event the employee does not have access to email, they will be provided with a letter to identify the plan.
Wellness and Recognition will maintain regular contact with the employee and supervisor 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 (physical or mental health) 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 Manager, Wellness and Recognition as soon as known of pending medical or health concerns.
University of Lethbridge Managed Care and Return to Work (RTW) Process
This document outlines the general Managed Care and Return to Work processes. Each employee’s return to work is individualized, and the process may vary depending on individual circumstances.
- Wellness and Recognition (either the Manager or Specialist) receives notification that the employee has experienced an injury, illness or is being treated for a medical concern. This notification can be conveyed via phone, email or in person.
- Manager, Wellness and Recognition, or designate, contacts the employee to review the process. This contact can be made by phone, email and/or letter, or in person.
- The initial contact with the employee will involve:
- Discussion of the role of Wellness and Recognition and the process.
- A review of the medical documentation that supports the medical leave, return to work or modification of work process. Effective dates and duties of RTW must be identified.
- Wellness and Recognition notifies the supervisor by phone/email of the employee’s general situation and provides information regarding the RTW readiness if known.
- Letters and/or documentation from a qualified medical professional should be sent to the Manager, Wellness and Recognition by – fax, email, mail or in person. *
- When a RTW date has been identified, Wellness and Recognition will meet with the employee:
- To review medical information.
- To identify a RTW schedule based on the illness and the information received from the medical professional, and will consult with the supervisor as well.
- The supervisor and/or manager will be consulted to provide input to the RTW plan.
- On reaching a reasonable plan, the Wellness Manager or Specialist will document the plan and copy the employee, supervisor and Benefits identifying the RTW plan. If the employee does not have access to email, a letter will be provided.
- Once the employee has returned to work, the Manager, Wellness and Recognition will maintain contact with the employee and supervisor as required to ensure the RTW plan is meeting their needs.
At any time during this process, the employee may wish to involve his/her respective union, employee group or an advocate.
*Any medical information is collected under the authority of Section 33(c) of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP), and will be used for the purpose of determining fitness to remain or return to work, payroll and benefit administration, and is protected by the privacy provisions of FOIP.