|Title:||Workers’ Compensation Light Duty Policy|
|Policy Owner:||Payroll Department|
|Applies to:||All University Employees|
|Campus Applicability:||Storrs and Regional Campuses (see details below)|
|Effective Date:||August 19, 2014|
|For More Information, Contact||Payroll|
|Contact Information:||(860) 486-2423|
REASON FOR POLICY
The University strives to provide a safe and healthy work environment and is committed to returning employees to work, as appropriate, from a work-related injury or illness. Administering a policy on light duty provides benefits to both the injured worker and the University. Statistically, employers that facilitate return to work programs have a higher percentage of injured workers achieving full recovery over employers who fail to provide such programs. Additionally, employers that utilize such initiatives have lower direct costs associated with workers’ compensation than those who do not.
This policy applies to all permanent and temporary employees at the University of Connecticut, Storrs and Regional Campuses who are paid salary or wages by the State of Connecticut are covered by the State’s Workers’ Compensation Program, and are eligible to participate in the light duty program. This includes faculty, staff, student labor, work study, special payroll, and graduate assistants provided that the injury occurred while performing a function related to their employment with the University.
Injured Worker: An employee who initiates a workers’ compensation claim pursuant to the State of Connecticut and the University of Connecticut’s injury reporting requirements.
Temporary Modified/Restricted Duty: A work capacity given to an injured worker by their treating physician stating that the employee is not capable of performing their regular job duties, but is capable of working in a modified or restricted capacity within their normal job classification.
Regular Duty: A work capacity given to an injured worker by their treating physician stating that the injured worker is capable of returning to work without restrictions or modifications to their normal job classification.
The University of Connecticut provides a light duty program for all employees who sustain a workplace injury or illness. The University will provide modified or light duty assignments, as available, to an employee with an approved workers’ compensation claim, once they have been released to temporary modified/restricted work by a licensed medical professional. Placement into a light duty position is on a temporary basis and should never become permanent. Light duty is not guaranteed and may be modified, or ended, at any time, even if the employee’s physician has not released him/her to regular duty. Employees who are working a light duty assignment will be held to the same standards of accountability for performance and conduct standards as an employee on regular duty. An employee working on a light duty assignment is to abide by the restrictions imposed by their treating physician and should not exceed those restrictions until released by the doctor. It is also the employee’s responsibility to immediately inform their supervisor and the Workers’ Compensation Administrator of any changes made to their work capacity while working a light duty assignment.
If a light duty assignment is offered by the University, an employee’s refusal to accept the offer of light duty may affect the employee’s right to workers’ compensation benefits and will be determined by the third party administrator.
Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and the University of Connecticut Student Conduct Code.
An injured employee should immediately notify their supervisor and the Workers’ Compensation Administrator once their treating physician has released them to any type of modified or restricted work. The employee must also provide the Workers’ Compensation Administrator with a signed, written copy of the modifications/restrictions given to them by the treating physician. The Workers’ Compensation Administrator will coordinate with the employee’s supervisor to determine if a light duty assignment is available. If such a position exists, the employee will be contacted and expected to return to work on the next scheduled business day. Under no such circumstance should an employee work outside their prescribed restrictions until cleared to do so by their treating physician. Supervisors should monitor the tasks being completed by an employee working temporary modified/restricted duty to ensure that the employee is working within their prescribed restrictions.
If a light duty assignment is not available, the employee will be continued on their workers’ compensation leave. Should a light duty assignment become available prior to a change in the employee’s work capacity, the employee will be notified by either their supervisor or the Workers’ Compensation Administrator, and would be expected to return to work on the next business day. An employee with a light duty work capacity that cannot be accommodated may be required to do job searches at the discretion of the third party administrator, in order to continue to receive payment.