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:
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 of the Employee Wellness program 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 and employee well-being management by:
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.
Case management activities are initiated by the Disability Case Coordinator upon notification of injury or illness in order to facilitate an early and safe return to work. An integral third party in the process is the employee's attending medical practitioner, who provides details of the individual's current physical capabilities and overall prognosis for functional recovery.
The Disability Case Coordinator may contact an employee to discuss treatment progress, fitness for work, and return to work options. A Workplace Capabilities Form may be requested at the onset of disability, and periodically thereafter, to assist in determining whether or not reasonable accommodations can be facilitated. It is very important that the disabled employee keep in regular contact with his/her supervisor to keep the supervisor informed of progress made towards recovery and return to work.
Where an employee has been medically cleared to return to modified duties and/or hours, the following steps are generally taken:
The Disability Case Coordinator, in consultation with the supervisor and other team members, is responsible for determining reasonable job accomodation, including part-time or transitional employment and changes in task assignment, shift or equipment. The employee's active participation and cooperation in efforts to promote recovery are essential to their successful rehabilitation and will also aid toward continuing eligibility for disability benefits.
The University is committed to providing a work environment that reasonably accommodates the special needs of it's employees as a result of injury or illness. The University recognizes that when disability does arise, modified activities and early mobilization are key to quick recovery.
A key priority of this process is to attempt to return employees to their former job, or work that is consistent with that to which they were performing prior to the injury or illness. In many cases, this will be possible without any modification to the job or work environment. While injury or illness may result in the need for medical treatment or therapy, a full return to regular work activities is often possible.
In some cases, an employee may require temporary accommodations during the period of recuperation from injury or illness, until a return to regular work activities is possible. In these situations, the University explores reasonable transitional return to work opportunities, which may include workstation modifications and/or changes to the work activities. The following options will be considered:
Situations may arise where the employee will not be capable of returning to regular work activities due to the nature of the injury or illness. If it is unlikely that the employee will ever be capable of returning to their former position, consideration will be given to:
Consideration will be given to alternate jobs provided they are meaningful, productive, reasonable, and in accordance with operational requirements. It is recognized that additional training may be required with such job transfers. Generally, the accommodation options to be explored, be it temporary or permanent, are considered in the following order:
The extent of the accommodation required depends on the particular circumstances of each case. Every reasonable effort is to be made to minimize disruption in the workplace and interference with collective agreement rights resulting from accommodations.
The successful implementation of this process requires the following elements: