Frequently Asked Questions About Return to Work

Faculty and Staff Member Questions About Return to Work

What is transitional work?
Transitional work is an assignment within an employee’s restrictions that is done for a short-term period (up to 90 days) in either the home or alternate department. This could be either a modified version of work within the normal classification or unrelated work that meets the employee’s restrictions.
I am an employee on a medical restriction and I am called to return to transitional work. Am I required to return?
Yes. Though a transitional assignment is not guaranteed, if work that is within the medical restrictions is identified to transition you back to full duty, you are expected to return to work. Work may be outside of your normal classification to meet the needs of temporary restrictions.
What do I need to know about returning to work in a transitional assignment before I am able or ready to return to my regular job?
An early return means coming back to work even before you are able to do your regular job. If your regular work is physically demanding, you may be able to return to a lighter transitional assignment while you recover. If your regular work is at a desk, some relatively simple modifications may allow you to return sooner. Recovery time for illness or injury can vary due to many factors and is determined by your medical provider. Early return to work means that a return is considered at the earliest time medical restrictions are given and a transitional assignment would be both safe and reasonable.
Will I receive my regular rate of pay?
In many cases, your regular rate of pay and benefits are provided during a return to transitional work, pending review and eligibility.
How can coworkers provide support when a colleague is recovering?
Coworkers often wonder where a team member is, how they are doing, and when they are returning. While the details of an individual’s medical circumstances should remain confidential, you can support your fellow staff member by pitching in as needed during the transitional return. An illness or injury can strike anyone at any time and an atmosphere of acceptance and teamwork can help everyone in the workplace to succeed.

Manager and Supervisor Questions About Return to Work

How can supervisors help to encourage staff members to return to work?
When supervisors take an active interest in the health and well-being of employees, everyone benefits. Employees who are off of work due to medical issues, whether receiving paid benefits or on a medical leave of absence, are still considered staff in the home department. Supervisors are encouraged to reach out to the staff member during the absence and also to welcome them back when they are ready to return by scheduling a return to work meeting. This can be done without addressing the medical issue.
When an employee has been out due to an illness or injury but is well enough to work with some restrictions, what can the supervisor do to facilitate his/her return?
Return to work in the home department is a priority. Supervisors/managers are encouraged to seek creative solutions within the department. If the employee’s regular work cannot be modified to meet restrictions, look for alternate work assignments within the larger departmental/organizational unit.
I’m a supervisor and would like some guidance on implementing a transitional work assignment. Who should I contact?
For more information about facilitating a transitional work assignment for a staff member, contact Campus Return to Work coordinator Claudia More or call 734-936-1141; or contact the Health System Return to Work Coordinator at (734) 615-3769.