If your company offers employee assistance counseling, an EAP counselor can be a resource to the manager and staff in dealing with disability absences and sensitive issues, such as:
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If an employee can return to work but not in the same occupation, the employee may be able to perform transitional work instead. Transitional work is a temporary assignment to different work than the employee's regular job. It offers accommodations to the employee returning to work from a disability and keeps an employee productive during his/her recuperation from an illness or injury.
Transitional work assignments are generally composed of tasks that are not otherwise part of anyone's regular job. These may be tasks that need to be performed but are unassigned or tasks assigned to a position that has been eliminated.
Once the job tasks are identified, transitional work assignments can be developed by combining various job tasks to make up part-time or full-time work. The essential functions and associated demands of the tasks can be matched to the physical and cognitive capabilities of the individual returning to work.
The job tasks themselves may cross departments, and the transitional work assignment is intended to be temporary. It will change over time, as the employee improves in his or her "hardiness" during the course of recovery.
The characteristics that define transitional work are:
Transitional work may include the following options:
If an employee who is on transitional work calls out from work, you must ask the employee if the reason for the absence is related to the disability, without asking for specifics about the employee's medical condition.
If the incidental absence is not related to the disability, you as the manager will decide how that time is accounted for (i.e., a sick day, a vacation day, a personal day, etc.) in accordance with company policy. Such absences should have no effect on the transitional work, which will continue upon the employee's return from the absence.
If the absence is related to the disability, you should call the claim manager to determine if the transitional work will continue or if this will be treated as a new claim.
Some scheduled absences may be approved while the employee is on transitional work. You should contact your Human Resources representative to discuss the specifics in each individual case.
An employee may be released to return to work but not report to work or may call out from work during a transitional work arrangement.
In this situation, you should follow these steps:
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