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Managing Return to Work Requests > Workers' Compensation > Manager > HR Home

Managing Return-to-Work Requests

When employees experience work-related injuries or diseases, this may impact their work situations. After you complete the initial forms associated with workers' comp injuries/diseases, collaboration with the employee’s manager will be essential to facilitate a timely return to work.

Department Responsibilities

Return-to-Work Employees

The doctor will periodically provide the employee with Work Status Reports (DWC-73) that indicate the employee’s work status and return-to-work date. Depending on the Work Status Report, take one of the following steps:

Modified-duty Assignments

Based on the Work Status Report (DWC-73), your department must identify a modified-duty assignment and notify the employee of the expected return-to-work date via a modified-duty offer letter. The employee must return to work upon receiving notification from your department, and failure to return to work when notified could place the employee's job in jeopardy.

During the modified-duty period, the supervisor and employee should carefully follow the doctor's return-to-work instructions as described in the Work Status Report, Part III. Work limitations may change as the employee continues to recover from the injury. When restrictions change, the treating doctor will issue a new work status report. Your department should prepare to adjust the employees' duties accordingly.

The initial modified-duty period is limited to 90 calendar days. If the employee is not released to full duty by the end of 90 calendar days, then HR should be consulted in order to determine if an extension is warranted. Extensions are based on a positive medical prognosis from the employee’s treating physician. The Return to Work policy allows for a maximum of three (3) extensions of 30 calendar days each. Modified-duty assignments should not exceed a total of 180 calendar days.

Alternative Placement for Return-to-Work Employees

In the event that your department isn't able to create an appropriate modified-duty assignment for injured employees, you or the employees’ manager should contact the HR Benefits representative. You'll then work with them to begin a campus-wide search for assignments elsewhere at the university. In these cases, the injured employee’s parent department will remain responsible for the injured employee’s salary until the employee is able to return to work in their home department.

Modified-duty Offer Letter

A modified-duty offer letter, also known as a bona fide offer letter, must be in writing and must be signed by the employee and the employee’s manager prior to the start of the modified-duty assignment. The employee’s department should mail the letter, or, with the employee’s consent, give it to the employee upon their physical return to work.

If the manager mails the offer letter, he or she should send it regular and certified with copies to HR – Leave Management Office. The manager should calculate ample time for delivery (three to five days), and make sure that the return-to-work date allows for this delay. If the letter is presented to the employee upon their return to work, then a signed copy should be forwarded to HR – Leave Management.

The modified-duty/bona fide offer must be in writing and must contain the following elements:

Note: Employee's restrictions often change during the modified-duty period. If this happens, make sure the manager drafts a new letter with appropriate signatures.