Why Return to Work?
Returning to work, even with modified or alternate duties, can help you:
- Speed up your recovery and get back to normal activities at work and at home
- Maintain relationships with co-workers and keep your work skills up to date
- Maintain your emotional well being
When you return to work, even with modified duties or alternate duties, you will earn your regular salary and continue to accrue vacation and make contributions to EI, CPP, and other private insurance plans provided by the workplace.
What is Return to Work?
Return to work is based on the philosophy that safe and suitable work is part of the recovery process. To that end, a return to work plan will help you get back to work as soon as safely possible, taking into account any physical or mental limitations caused by your injury.
A successful return to work plan is a partnership between you, your employer and your healthcare professionals. Your union, health and safety committee representative or WCB contact may also be involved.
Our main goal is to help you return to your original job. Depending on your injury, you may not be able to return to your original job right away. In that case, you and your employer will work together to decide how your how your job can be changed to allow you to return. This may include you doing modified or alternate duties, sometimes working reduced hours, or using different equipment to help you work. This is called a gradual return to work.
Below are some examples of returning to work.
Return to same work, modified, with same employer
Example: Laura is an assembly line worker with a back injury. The WCB indicates her workplace restrictions include no prolonged sitting or awkward reaching. Laura's job is modified to include a sit/stand stool which makes it easier to change body positions and a tool shelf is moved closer to her. These changes allow her to continue with her original duties.
Return to different work with same employer
Example: Scott is a delivery driver who suffers a permanent ankle injury. He can no longer do the job because of the walking and standing it requires. The delivery job cannot be changed but the employer wants to keep Scott employed. With WCB support, Scott takes some basic computer training and is able to work as a dispatcher for his employer. This job involves more sitting so Scott can manage.
What should you do?
- Attend all healthcare appointments and follow your prescribed treatment plan.
- Tell your doctor or other healthcare provider about the type of work you usually do, and ask about what you can do while you recover.
- Keep in touch with your WCB contact person and your employer to let them know how you are feeling. Tell your employer what kind of work you might be able to do as you recover, to help them plan for your return to work.
- Take an active part in the return to work plan as agreed during all discussions.
What will the WCB do?
Your WCB adjudicator or case manager will keep an eye on your return to work plan and help with wage loss payments as needed.
If you and your employer need help deciding on a return to work plan, we will work with you. This can include, as needed:
- helping to identify safe and suitable modified or alternate duties that are safe and within your abilities
- arranging a review of your work area with you, your employer, and your union
- attending return to work plan meetings as a part of the planning team
- becoming involved when there is a dispute or clarification is required about your abilities or work that you are being asked to perform
- paying for financial or technical support to help your return to work
- determining if your employer has met re-employment obligations.
More Info About Return to Work and the WCB