Return to Work Program

Human Resource Department
414 4th Ave West
Hendersonville, NC 28739
(828) 697-4733
February 17, 2012

Table of Contents

Section I. Program Introduction Program Purpose and Objectives

Section II. Program Administration Return to Work Program Coordinator

Section III. Employee Responsibilities Reporting Injuries Medical Treatment Physical Restrictions

Section IV. Administrator/Supervisor Responsibilities Communication with Employee Transitional Duty

Section V. Transitional Duty Medical Case Review Employee Choice Wage Compensation

 

I. PROGRAM INTRODUCTION

Henderson County Public Schools is committed to the safety and welfare of all employees. However, in spite of our efforts to create a safe working environment, injuries or illnesses at the workplace still occur.

We believe that Henderson County Public Schools has a responsibility to return employees with work-related injuries and illnesses to their normal jobs as quickly as medically possible. To meet this responsibility to our employees, we are implementing the Return to Work Program as an important part of the Workers’ Compensation Program. We will make every effort to create a bridge to assist in the employee’s effort toward full recovery and return to full duty.

The Henderson County Public Schools Administration fully endorses this procedure for the Return to Worker Program, and solicits the cooperation of all employees to provide the necessary support to our injured workers.

Program Purpose

The purpose of this program is to develop a system for returning employees to work quickly and safely after injury or illness, and to improve the identification and appropriate management of temporary and permanent disabilities.

Program Objectives

Support employees in their recovery from injury or illness by providing modified or alternative assignments.

Minimize the amount of absence and resulting impact to both the employee and employer due to work or non-work related injuries and illness.

Return the employee to their regular job assignment as soon as medically possible.

Prepare employees for the anticipated return to work sequence prior to injury.

Help restore employees to the highest level of physical and mental health possible in a shorter period of time by implementing temporary or transitional work positions, approved for the employee’s particular medical condition.

II. PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION

When an employee of Henderson County Public Schools sustains a work-related injury or illness that is compensable under current workers’ compensation legislation, and the treating physician releases the employee to return to work with temporary restrictions that preclude the injured employee from performing his or her regular job duties, the system will make all reasonable efforts to enable the employee to return to work within the temporary, physician-imposed physical restrictions.

Return to Work Coordinator

The Senior Director of Human Resources and/or his designee will serve as the Return to Work Coordinator. The Return to Work Coordinator shall be responsible for administering the Return to Work Program established through these procedures.

The duties of the Return to Work Coordinator shall include but are not limited to the following:

1. Ensure all potential workers’ compensation claims are reported to the insurance carrier.

2. Maintain effective communications with all parties involved in a workers’ compensation claim. This will include, but not be limited to, the following: employee, supervisor(s), medical care provider(s), insurance representative(s), and administrative personnel.

3. Coordinate the timely implementation of transitional duty assignments.

4. Return the injured employee to his/her regular job assignment when the treating physician releases him/her to return to full duty.

III. EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES

All employees of Henderson County Public Schools have designated responsibilities including:

1. An employee must report any work-related injury or illness to the employee’s supervisor immediately upon discovery. (Failure to report a work-related injury or illness in a timely manner may result in denial of workers’ compensation benefits.)

2. Following a work-related injury, the employee must provide a written description of any temporary physician-imposed work restrictions. If the employee is seen by a physician during normal working hours, the employee must report back to work after receiving medical treatment, unless otherwise instructed by the attending physician or the employee’s supervisor.

3. If a physician sees the employee after normal working hours, the employee must report to work the day after the injury at his/her normal reporting time, unless otherwise instructed by the attending physician or employee’s supervisor.

4. The employee must follow the physical restrictions imposed by the treating physician.

5. The employee must report any change in temporary physician-imposed physical restrictions (in writing) to his/her supervisor and the Return to Work Coordinator immediately upon gaining knowledge of such changes in physician-imposed restrictions.

6. The employee must not, under any circumstances, return to work until the treating physician releases him/her. The Henderson County Public School Return to Work Form must be completed and returned to his/her immediate supervisor.

IV. ADMINISTRATOR/SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES

Under this program, an administrator or supervisor of Henderson County Public Schools has certain responsibilities. They include:

1. When an employee is away from work due to an injury or illness, the administrator/supervisor will maintain an open line of communication with the employee. The employee should be contacted periodically while they are away from the worksite. In addition, an employee with physician-imposed restrictions at the worksite should be contacted for condition updates.

2. Administrators/supervisors must assist the Return to Work Coordinator in identifying appropriate transitional work assignments for employees who, after injury, have returned to work, with restrictions.

3. Administrators/supervisors must ensure that an employee does not, under any circumstances, return to work until the treating physician releases him/her. The Henderson County Public School Return to Work Form must be completed.

4. After an employee’s return to work, administrators/supervisors need to ensure restrictions are not violated by assigning duties that are outside the restrictions.

5. Administrators/supervisors must keep the Return to Work Coordinator informed of the status, condition and progress of all employees assigned to transitional duties.

V. TRANSITIONAL DUTY

Medical Case Review

When an employee is released to return to work with medical restrictions, the Administrator / Supervisor shall review the imposed restrictions with the Return to Work Coordinator. If possible, a temporary job description may be developed based on the relative medical information provided from the attending physician.

Employee Choice

The Administrator / Supervisor shall brief the employee on the assigned transitional duty position. At that time, the employee shall be given no more than three (3) days to make a decision on acceptance of the transitional duty position assigned and approved by the attending physician.

The employee may, at his/her discretion refuse to accept the assigned transitional duty position. If the employee accepts the position, all necessary worksite accommodations shall be made and the employee shall return to work.

If the employee refuses the position, the claims adjuster of Henderson County Public Schools’ workers compensation insurance carrier will be directed to file an application (Form 24) with the Industrial Commission of the State of North Carolina to have compensation terminated. Compensation will be paid until the Industrial Commission gives approval for termination.

The employee is required to acknowledge the refusal to accept transitional duty. The statement shall include specific information concerning the transitional duty that was offered to the employee, the date of the offer, and that the employee voluntarily declined the transitional duty with the full and complete understanding that workers’ compensation payments may be affected.

If efforts to contact an employee fail, a certified letter shall be mailed to the home address of the employee. The letter shall state information concerning the medically approved transitional duty, the rate of pay assigned to the transitional duty and an expected return to work date. If the employee fails to return to work within (2) two working days of the designated return to work date, the employee’s refusal to return shall be considered a refusal of the offer of transitional work duty.

Wage Compensation

When the employee returns to work full time, but with medical restrictions, he or she will receive compensation at his/her regular salary rate. If an employee has limited work hours, he or she will receive regular salary for the hours worked, and receive workers’ compensation benefits for the remaining hours that make up the workday. The amount of workers’ compensation is based on sixty-six and two thirds percent (66-2/3%) of the average wages earned during the 12 months preceding the date of injury or illness.