BEST PRACTICES IN FEDERAL
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION:
SUPERVISORY COURSE
SUPERVISOR’S ROLE IN RETURN TO
WORK
(LIMITED DUTY AND PERMANENT JOB OFFERS)
OBJECTIVES
 Identify supervisor’s role and responsibility in returning
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injured worker to suitable work
Discuss components of an acceptable work statement
and use in affording suitable assignment to injured
worker
Recognize the difference between a limited duty
assignment and permanent job offer
Identify necessary components of a limited duty offer and
permanent job offer
Explore methods and options to afford an injured worker
suitable work
SUPERVISOR’S ROLE
 Advise employee of responsibility to :
 Keep supervisor advised of work status-written
 Provide SPECIFIC written limitations, if any, and duration
 Return to work when work capacity exists
 Advise of next follow-up appointment
 Request permission to be absent due to injury/condition
 Supervisor is responsible for:
 Instructing employee of above responsibilities
 Affording suitable work to the injured worker – in writing
 Ensuring work status is obtained following EACH medical visit
 Acting on related leave/LWOP requests
LIMITATIONS
 Must be from the attending physician
 Must be in writing
 Must be specific
 Should not be open-ended
 Should
have a “to” or “end” date
 “indefinite” as end date is not acceptable
WHAT IS A LIMITED DUTY ASSIGNMENT?
 Normally not a permanent, long-term assignment
 Does not always result as permanent job (but may)
 Not an assignment to a graded and classified position
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description or functional statement
Must be in writing
Verbal offers allowed but must be offered in writing
within 2 business days of verbal offer
Assigns duties commensurate with physician’s
recommended limitations
May or may not be in same unit, same tour, same
schedule, same position…
What if…
 Limited duty is not on same tour or schedule and
employee loses pay?
 If eligible for COP, COP will cover loss of pay to the
extent otherwise prohibited by law.
 If no COP, employee may claim loss of wages with
OWCP by filing a CA-7 through the WC Office.
 Supervisor will need to provide tours and work
schedule for employee to reflect what these would
have been “but for the injury”
WHY OFFER LIMITED DUTY ?
 Employee is injured, not totally incapacitated for all work
 Regulation requires when work capacity exists, employee
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must seek work
If employer fails to offer suitable work, employee may
receive COP and eventually compensation until suitable
work is offered.
Decreases chargeback and COP costs to the employing
agency
Studies show improved recovery period
Improves moral of employee(s)
WHEN TO OFFER LIMITED DUTY?
 Work status indicates existence of work capacity
 Employee indicates desire to return to work*
 Nature and severity of injury is not consistent
with recommendation of total disability*
 Immediately (if any of the above exist)*
* In absence of work status or release to work with limitations, coordinate list of tasks
with WC Specialist to submit to attending MD for review and approval.
HOW DO I OFFER LIMITED DUTY?
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Determine specific limitations (work status)
Offer in writing (or if verbal, follow in writing)
Include beginning date, tour and work schedule
Include tasks to be performed
Re-state specific limitations recommended by MD
Include contact for instruction and leave request
Acceptance/Declination by employee and signatures
Duration of assignment
 Indefinite
vs.
 Specific ending date (“temporary”)
SAMPLE-LIMITED DUTY MEMO
Date: May 29, 2013
To: Employee Name (118)
From: Supervisor’s Name, Nurse Manager (118)
Subject: Limited Duty Assignment
In reference to your traumatic injury (or occupational
condition if applicable) on April 3, 2013, the following
limited duty assignment is offered to you in Nursing Service
based on your physician’s recommendations dated May 28,
2013. Your tour of duty will initially be 7:30am-4:00pm,
Monday through Friday. This assignment will be effective
today, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. Your duties will consist
of:
-answering and referring phone calls
-monitoring residents north and south end
-documentation in CPRS
-assisting in feeding all residents
-vital signs using electronic devices
-passing medications/treatments such as passing
ointments, creams, etc. from med cart. (Note: Push/pull
force for med cart is 12 pounds on tile)
These duties are within the restrictions as specified by your
Attending physician of lifting/carrying, pushing/pulling up to
20 pounds. It is also noted by the physician to keep trying
to reach above the shoulder but not in excess of 1
repetition per minute throughout the workday.
If you encounter any problems or difficulties in relation to
your injury/condition, please advise your supervisor
immediately and contact your physician as soon as
possible if needed. Your assignment will be continuously
re-evaluated following any medical visits and/or receipt of
additional medical information. This is to assure
compliance with your physician’s recommendations and
to meet the needs of the medical center.
This assignment does not affect your employment status.
you remain employed as a Nurse, VN-0610, Level 3,
Grade 1, currently step 21 with salary of $55,363 per
annum. Your assignment will continue until such time as
additional restrictions are imposed or modified. If you
have any questions, please contact your supervisor or
the FWCP office (ext. 9991 or 9996.)
________________________
___________
Supv Name, title
Date
------------------------------------------------------------------------Initial one:
____ I accept the above assignment and will adhere to
my restrictions and observe safe work practices.
____ I decline the above assignment because (specify
reasons): _____________________________________
____________________________________________
________________________
___________
Employee Name
Date
WHAT IF…
 the employee accepts the offer?
 the employee declines the offer?
 the employee refuses to sign with acceptance or
declination?
 the employee doesn’t agree with all the tasks
assigned?
 the employee doesn’t want to change tour or work
schedule?
 the offer is not appropriate; not suitable?
BEST PRACTICE PROCESSES-Limited Duty
 WC Office receives copy of work status
 Sends email to supervisor and next level of need to offer
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limited duty
Includes copy of work status and/or states limitations
Includes template or sample to follow
Indicates date required (immediate)
Follow-up after deadline
Next follow-up to next level supervisor and so on…
No Limited Duty Available?
 Supervisor replies as such with reason(s) to all on email
 Service Chief or Service Line Manager certifies no limited
duty exists in service.
 Notification is forwarded to HR staffing (et al) to
coordinate limited duty across organizational lines with
copy to facility leadership.
 Identified limited duty is provided to supervisor and
limited duty offer is made in writing.
 “Home” service incurs cost of employee while assigned to
another service
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION AND WORK
COMP
 Two (2) separate programs for permanent conditions
 Reasonable Accommodation
 Separate
from workers’ compensation
 Does not retain the pay of injured worker
 Permanent Job Offer
 Separate from Reasonable Accommodation
 May protect the pay and benefits of the injured
worker
 Cannot share information between 2 programs without
specific written release from employee
Permanent Job Offers
 Employee has work capacity but cannot perform
the full scope of DOI (Date of Injury) position
 Attending MD (or in some cases OWCP) has
identified permanent limitations
 Compare permanent limitations with physical
demands of DOI position
 Determine if adjustments can be made to tailor
the duties and demands of the position to
comply with recommended limitations….
CONTINUE IN DOI JOB?
 Revise position description or functional statement to comply
with limitations
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Ensure physical demands re-state recommended limitations or are clearly
compliant with recommended limitations.
Ensure description of duties or functions are void of any possible
interpretation of being noncompliant with limitations.
 Request review of revised description/statement by WC
Specialist
 Request review and classification by Classification Specialist
(include OF-8 if applicable)
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Do NOT identify position as limited duty or OWCP position.
Identify position as “incumbent only”
 Following classification, WC Spec will prepare permanent job
offer letter for presentation or mailing to employee
Needs a Different Job?
 Follow same process as with non-availability of limited
duty.
 WC and HR staffing will coordinate identification of
appropriate position
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Offer existing vacant position compliant with limitations
Offer existing vacant position with adjustment of duties/demands to
comply with limitations
Create new position
 Following identification and classification of position, WC
will prepare job offer letter for presentation or mailing to
employee.
Permanent Job Offer-Loss of Pay or Grade
 Permanent job offer can be developed to afford pay
retention
 Indefinite
 Protects employee’s salary-based benefits
 Pay is set at less of DOI pay or 150% of top step salary of
grade of position offered
 Any remaining pay loss can be claimed by employee with
OWCP – known as an LWEC (Loss of Wage Earning
Capacity)
Paid to employee tax free
May result from loss premium pays such as night
differential, Saturday, Sunday, Holiday and/or on-call
pay that cannot be included in pay retention
calculation.
REQUIREMENTS
 Must offer classified and graded position
 Must be same employment tenure as when injured
 Temporary job offer is not suitable for an injured permanent
employee
 Temporary job offer may be suitable for an injured temporary
employee (time limit must be appropriate)
 Location of job offered must be within 50 miles of
employee’s geographic location
 Must consider other conditions/limitations that may
have occurred or changed since DOI
REQUIRED INFORMATION
IN A JOB OFFER LETTER
 Description of duties of position (i.e., Position
Description)
 Physical requirements of the duties
 Work schedule (include tour)
 Organizational and geographic location of the job
 Date on which job offer will first be available
 Date by which employee is to notify employer of
decision to accept or refuse offer
 Provide pay/position information (Title, Pay Plan, Series,
Grade, Step and Salary )
USEFUL INFORMATION TO INCLUDE
 Assigned Service of Position
 Person to report to, where and what time and
day.
 Effective date of job change or re-employment
EMPLOYEE RESPONSE
ACCEPTS
REFUSES
 Notify WC and HR
 No response is considered
staffing of decision
immediately.
 Prepare SF-52 to effect
job change
 Advise WC on effective
date of employee’s actual
return or report for new
position.
a declination
 Notify WC and HR staffing
of decision immediately.
 If employee is working,
make every effort to
continue current work
assignment pending
suitability decision by
OWCP.
Reasons for Declination
Potentially Not Valid
Potentially Valid
 Working elsewhere
 Condition has worsened
 Medical information was
not current
 Physician submits position is
not within physical capacity
 Agency withdraws offer
 Position no longer available
 Tour of duty/work
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schedule
Does not wish to relocate
No promotion potential
Receiving constructed
LWEC
Is retired or elects to retire
or separate
Personal dislikes of offer
Continue Limited Duty Pending Suitability
 Upon notification to OWCP of employee’s declination:
 OWCP must determine suitability of position offered
 If
suitable, OWCP will afford the employee 30 days to reconsider
their decision or face possible termination of benefits for failure to
accept suitable work.
 If NOT suitable, OWCP will advise employee and employer requiring
the job offer to be revisited.
During 30 day period, make every effort to continue to afford
the employee suitable limited duty
 Following 30 day notice from OWCP, if employee provides no
medical evidence or valid reason(s) to support declination of
offer , final 15-day notice to employee will be issued by OWCP
to allow employee to ACCEPT position offered.
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FAILURE TO ACCEPT SUITABLE WORK
 Loss of employment-Removal/Termination
Management has the right to assign work
 Employer is not required to offer another position the
employee would prefer
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 Loss of compensation benefits
Compensation for wage loss is terminated at the end of 15 day
notice if employee fails to accept suitable permanent job offer
 Medical benefits may continue
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 Employee may wish to pursue retirement or
voluntary separation
LET’S LOOK CLOSER…
LIMITED DUTY AND PERMANENT JOB OFFERS
EXERCISE 1
Jane Smith, Food Service Worker in Nutrition & Food Service
slipped in hot syrup that had been spilled on the floor, fell and
injured her right ankle. She has been off work, per doctor’s
orders since the injury. Her claim was accepted for Right Ankle
Fracture. She has had surgery and the physician has released
her to return to work with the following limitations:
Sedentary
work only
Limited walking
No prolonged standing
Follow-up appointment indicated on work status as
“4 weeks”
EXERCISE 2
On 1/10/13, an LPN filed a traumatic injury claim for right
rotator cuff tear and is placed off work at time of injury.
Claim is accepted for same and surgically repaired in
November 2010. Claimant is released to return to work
7/15/13 with limitations of:
No
pushing, pulling or lifting greater than 25 pounds
No reaching above the shoulder
Follow-up appointment on work status states: “PRN”
EXERCISE 3
Joe D. (RN) provides a return to work statement from MD
indicating the following restrictions due to an accepted
back injury:
No lifting greater than 2 pounds
 No pushing or pulling
 No overhead reaching
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The supervisor offers the following written limited duty:
Answering telephones
 Clerical duties
 Charge Nurse with no direct patient care
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EXERCISE 4
Clarification was requested from attending MD and
received regarding MD’s recommended limitations for
Jane Smith (Food Service Worker with right ankle
fracture).
No
lifting greater than 20 pounds
No pushing or pulling greater than 10 pounds
No standing or walking more than 30 minutes at a time
EXERCISE 5
Jane Smith (Food Service Worker with right ankle injury)
was offered limited duty by her supervisor in a telephone
conversation on Monday 6/18/12, to return to work
Tuesday 6/19/12. She agreed and accepted but did not
return to work until Monday, 6/25/12. She has filed a CA7 requesting compensation for loss of pay for 6/19
through 6/24. A Report of Contact from the supervisor
dated 6/18/12 was provided to the workers’
compensation office to document the limited duty
offered via telephone.
EXERCISE 6
Peter Piper provides a work status from his MD indicating
release to return to work with limitations:
Sitting
up to 4 hours continuously
 Walking up to 2 hours/ standing up to 1 hour
Reaching above shoulder 1 hour
Climbing ½ hour
Pushing, pulling, lifting up to 25 pounds
No twisting, bending, stooping, squatting or kneeling
The following duties were stipulated in the written limited
duty offer:
Sedentary
duty to include clerical work in support of service
Receiving patients/visitors and referring to appropriate office
Picking up mail twice daily
Answering phone, messaging and referring callers
EXERCISE 7
Tommy Tonka provides work status indicating
restrictions of no climbing more than 4 feet; no
kneeling, squatting or crawling. May occasionally walk
up to 50 feet at a time, may lift up to 30 pounds as
tolerated. The supervisor lists the following tasks in the
written limited duty offer:
Normal duties minus what your physician stated
 Light duty tasks
 Complete all installation work orders
 All other duties as tolerated
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EXERCISE 8
Xander, Nursing Assistant, was offered & accepted a
written limited duty assignment 2/7/13 compliant with
his physician’s recommended limitations of:
No
lifting, pushing or pulling over 30 pounds
Standing and walking limited to1 hour alternating minimum 15
minutes sitting
Bending limited no more than 15 minutes per hour
He provides the supervisor with a work status dated
8/12/13 indicating same limitations as permanent.
QUESTIONS
CONTACT INFORMATION
Jacqueline “Jackie” Wiser
VISN 9 FWCP Product Line Manager
MidSouth Healthcare Network
210 Glenis Drive
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
615-225-6981 (o)
615-898-6594 (f)
[email protected]
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VA BEST PRACTICES IN FEDERAL WORKERS` COMPENSATION