As the largest university in the province, the University of Manitoba employs more than 6000 support and academic staff. The key role of this function is to provide an effective disability management program designed to minimize the personal and financial effects of disability.
Employee Wellness collaborates with injured/ill employees, physicians, healthcare providers, union representatives, university management, human resources and third party administrators to identify suitable return to work options. Of key importance is encouraging the safe return to productive employment by employees on sick leave and ensuring that applications for long-term disability benefits are made by employees who are disabled from performing their duties. This position also facilitates and coordinates graduated return to work programs for injured/ill employees and monitors progress during such critical periods.
- Administration of sick leave and attendance management programs;
- Collaboratively developing return to work plans that may involve special accommodations;
- Work with employees who no longer qualify for Long Term Disability benefits – attempt to identify jobs and return to work opportunities;
- Develop and facilitate training programs related to disability management and return-to-work initiatives.
Effective reintegration of disabled employees minimizes the loss of expertise, resources and productive potential, and is the best strategy for maintaining the employee’s potential and self-worth. The University’s principal goal, therefore, is to provide meaningful, productive, sustainable employment, subject to certain overriding considerations, including:
- the paramount concern for the safety and wellbeing of the employee, and coworkers;
- the unique rights and responsibilities as set out under the Human Rights Code;
- any relevant collective agreement provisions;
- the University’s right to manage their facilities and human resources as required to support their Mission and operational requirements.
Through a collaborative joint union/management approach to disability management, efforts are focused on minimizing the impact of illness and injury. To that end, the University, unions and employees all bear responsibility for ensuring the success of accommodation in the workplace.
The primary objective is to minimize the human, economic, and social cost of disability to the employee, University, and society. The fundamental principle is simple:
"The sooner an injured/ill person recovers and returns to work, the more it will benefit the individual, the employer, and society at large".
In accordance with this fundamental principle, the University achieves effective disability management by:
- Assisting employees in maintaining their dignity and self-respect when adversely affected by injury or illness.
- Attending to the wellbeing of affected employees and by doing so reducing the stressors associated with disability.
- Coordinating early intervention activities to promote early and safe reintegration of disabled employees to the workplace, thereby minimizing the economic and emotional impact on the individual.
- Promoting good communication between all stakeholders, while respecting the need to protect confidential information.
- Reducing the direct and indirect costs associated with occupational and non-occupational injuries and illness.
- Acting in accordance with accepted standards pursuant to relevant current statutory regulations (Human Rights), University policies, and collective agreements.
Modified Duties/Alternate Work Arrangements
The University will undertake to find suitable employment, based on medical documentation, for any employee who becomes temporarily or permanently unable to perform his/her regular work due to injury or illness. While the onus lies with the University in identifying and facilitating reasonable accommodations, Unions and employees share responsibility in ensuring the success of return-to-work efforts. A collaborative approach is essential to the effectiveness of this multi-party process.
In making such accommodations, the University may consider any job, task, function or combination of function or tasks which are meaningful, productive and can be safely performed by an employee who suffers from diminished capacity, temporary or permanent, without increased risk of re-injury to self or others.