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Administration

Return to Work Program

When an injury occurs, it is incumbent upon the University to help the injured employee return to work as soon as possible.

The University structures the return-to-work program around each individual case. This program involves maintaining frequent contact with the employee and the treating doctor, to ensure that the employee is allowed to return to work without restrictions at the earliest possible time.

 

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Return-to-Work Provisions

The return-to-work program provides opportunities for any UHD employee covered by workers’ compensation insurance who sustains a compensable injury or illness during the course and scope of employment, to return to work at full duty. UHD does not have provisions for returning to light duty.

If the employee is not physically capable of returning to full duty, the employee will be granted leave time as needed for their condition to improve so they can return to regular duty. Assignment of any employee to a transitional position or modified regular position in accordance with the return-to-work program, including determination of the pay rate for the transitional position, requires the approval of the Benefits office. In the case of a faculty member who is released to regular duty but because of timing may not resume normal teaching duties, ESO will work with the Department Chair to determine other administrative or non-teaching duties that the faculty member may perform until the start of the new semester.

 

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Return-to-Work with Disabilities Provisions

This return-to-work program shall not be construed as recognition by UHD, its management, or its employees that any employee who participates in the program has a disability as defined by the Americans and Disabilities Act as Amended (PDF) . If an employee sustains an injury or illness resulting in a possible disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act As Amended, it is the employee’s responsibility to inform his or her supervisor, the ADA Coordinator or an employee in a management position that a condition may be impacting his/her ability to complete his/her job functions and that a reasonable accommodation may be necessary to perform the essential functions of his/her job.

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Prohibited Actions

The UH System complies with the Americans and Disabilities Act as Ammended(PDF) the Americans and Disabilities Act as Amended(PDF) , which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities.

It is a violation of the return-to-work policy, procedures, and state or federal law for any employee, supervisor, or manager of the U.H. System to discharge or in any other manner discriminate/retaliate against an employee of this agency because the employee:

  • Files in good faith a workers’ compensation claim;
  • Hires a lawyer to represent the employee in a workers’ compensation claim;
  • Institutes or causes to be instituted in good faith a proceeding under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act; or
  • Testifies or is about to testify in a proceeding under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.

 

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Temporary Assignments

If an employee is unable to return to regular duties, the employee may request a temporary assignment. Performance of a temporary job assignment is intended to return an injured employee to work at less than his or her full duties when a compensable injury or serious medical condition prevents the employee from working full duty. Two types of temporary assignments are modified duty and alternate duty.

The Claims Coordinator, ADA Coordinator and supervisor will determine if work in a temporary assignment may be approved according to the following criteria:

 

1. Modified Duty

Modified duty allows the employee to return to current employment in his or her regular job, and perform those duties and tasks that are within the capabilities of the employee, given the restrictions to duty imposed by the health care provider. Modified duty is a temporary arrangement until the injured employee can resume full duty

.

2. Alternate Duty

Alternate duty allows the employee to temporarily perform other duties and tasks that are within the restrictions to duty imposed by the health care provider. Such alternate duty may be physically located in the same department or in some other department. Alternate duty is a temporary arrangement until the injured employee can resume the full activities of his or her regular job

Once the employee’s health care provider certifies that the employee can return to work, the supervisor must adhere to the employee’s medical/work restrictions.

Supervisors/managers are responsible for providing the Claims Coordinator with a copy of the employee’s position description with any required modifications to accommodate the temporary assignment. An employee:

  • Who returns to work in a temporary assignment may be assigned to another work site within UHD, depending on the availability of vacant positions or the limitations or abilities of the employee.
  • Will not be placed in a temporary assignment/position if such assignment would displace another current employee.
    • In a temporary assignment is responsible for providing periodic reports from his/her health care provider during the period of the temporary assignment.

 

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Bona Fide Offer of Employment

A temporary assignment to any of the types of positions described in the previous section will be documented in a “bona fide offer of employment” letter to the employee. The bona fide offer of employment letter shall include the following information:

  • The type of position offered and the specific duties.
  • A statement that the agency is aware of and will abide by any physical limitations under which the health care provider has authorized the employee to return to work.
  • The maximum physical job requirements.
  • The wage rate of the job.
  • The assignment location.
  • The expected assignment duration.
  • That training will be provided, if necessary, for the position being offered.
  • The consequences of not accepting the assignment, in terms of duration and any income benefits payable under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, and any other relevant leave provisions. The letter is to state that the component university cannot guarantee that a position will be available should the employee fail to accept the assignment. 
  • The contact person if the employee has questions regarding the assignment, job modifications, or other relevant leave provisions.

The employee may accept or reject this bona fide offer of employment. The employee should be informed that rejection of the bona fide offer of employment will result in workers’ compensation temporary income benefits (if applicable) being stopped or reduced by the Workers’ Compensation Division as the state’s insurance carrier. If the employee accepts the bona fide offer of employment, then the employee shall perform the duties of the position for the term of the assignment or until the employee is able to return to full duty, whichever is sooner in the case of a temporary assignment. If the employee rejects the bona fide offer of employment, then the employee remains off work until the end of any approved leave period or until the employee is certified by the health care provider to return to full duty.

In the case of a temporary assignment, if the employee is unable to return to full duty by the end of the assignment period and/or by the end of the employee’s approved leave period, then the employee’s continued employment with the component university shall be considered based upon the business necessity of filling the employee’s position.

 

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References

Laws and Regulations

 

University of Houston System Administrative Memorandum: 

 

University of Houston-Downtown Policy Statement: 

 

Workers' Compensation Forms: 

 

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Last updated 7/21/2016 10:48 AM