3.1.10 Short Term Disability

Policy Section: Leaves of Absence

Policy Number and Title: 3.1.10 Short Term Disability
Applicable to: All Employees
Effective Date: January 1, 2012

Roles, Responsibilities & Procedures

Introduction
Employees, their health care providers, department supervisors, the Office of Employee Health and Human Resources are jointly responsible for ensuring that the required paperwork is processed in a timely manner so that there is continuation of appropriate salary. Each party plays a critical role to ensure that benefits are processed accurately, timely, equitably, confidentially and in accordance with established medical and statutory guidelines.
Employees
Notification,  Application & Medical Certificate
Notify supervisors of their absence from work due to a medical condition as soon as possible.
 
Complete the Application for Temporary Disability Benefits and return to the Office of Employee Health promptly and by no later than two weeks from the onset of the disability.
 
Sign and provide the medical certificate to the appropriate licensed health care provider(s) for completion.
 
Follow up with health care providers to ensure that they submit all required medical certificates to the Office of Employee Health promptly and by no later than two weeks from the onset of the disability. Updated medical certificates will need to be provided throughout the disability period.2
Update & Return to Work Communication
Keep supervisors and the Office of Employee Health informed on a regular basis of the expected date of return to work.
Return to work
Prior to returning to work, employees must schedule an appointment and present their medical certificates to the Office of Employee Health. An employee may not return to work until the return is apporved by the Office of Employee Health.
 
If employees return and are then absent from work with the same short term disability illness or injury within 30 consecutive days of return, the absences from the workplace are counted as the same or continuing disability for purposes of long term disability.
 
Employees who are members of a union are subject to the return to work provisions of their representative collective bargaining agreement. Employees and their supervisors should consult the applicable contract to determine the appropriate return to work provisions.
Overpayment If an employee receives a short term disability overpayment, the employee must repay the University.
Temporary Restriction (including “light duty”)
When the employee’s medical provider identifies temporary work restrictions, which the Office of Employee Health approves and the supervisor reasonably can accommodate or provide a “light duty” assignment that the employee medically is able to do, the employee must accept the offer.
Permanent Restriction (i.e. accommodation for handicap/disability)
When the employee’s medical condition requires a permanent restriction, the employee may request accommodation and engage in a good faith interactive conversation with Human Resources, the supervisor and the Office of Employee Health to assess and determine whether:
  1. the employee can fulfill the essential job requirements with or without restrictions and
  2. there are reasonable accommodations that would permit the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.
Supervisors
Forms Required
Promptly send employees the required forms or refer the employees to the HR website for form retrieval.
 
Advise employees of procedures to be followed.
Temporary Replacement
Confer with Human Resources and/or Budget Office on temporary replacement, as necessary.
Charging Time
Ensure appropriate charging of time3, and if eligible, charge time to federal FMLA leave (see 3.2.1 Family and Medical Leave Policy).
 
Advise employees about how time will be charged.
Communication During the Disability Leave
Maintain contact with the employee, and, as necessary, Human Resources and the Office of Employee Health during the disability period to ensure:
  1. appropriate reporting and recording of the absence,
  2. appropriate planning for coverage of the employee's area of responsibility and
  3. the employee has provided the necessary documentation to support his/her absence.
Supervisors should focus their communications on the employee’s ability to perform the job duties or plans to return to work rather than on the employee’s underlying medical condition or diagnosis.
Return to Work
Confer with the Office of Employee Health and Human Resources, as necessary, to determine whether light duty work is available and to plan for the employee’s return to work.
 
Provide information about the job duties to the Office of Employee Health when IMEs, FCEs or medical case management reviews by a designated third party provider are needed.
Temporary Restriction (including “light duty”)
When the employee’s medical provider identifies temporary work restrictions, the supervisor should determine whether or not they can be accommodated, or, alternatively they can provide a “light duty” assignment that the employee medically is able to do. In either case, the employee must accept the offer.
Permanent Restriction (i.e. accommodation for handicap/disability)
If the employee’s medical condition requires a permanent restriction(s) and the employee requests a permanent accommodation, the supervisor should engage in a good faith interactive conversation with the employee, Human Resources and the Office of Employee Health to assess and determine whether:
  1. the employee can fulfill the essential job requirements with or without modifications and
  2. there are reasonable accommodations that would permit the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.
Office of Employee Health
Review & Approval of Medical Information
Reviews and maintains confidential medical certificates and information received from health care providers.
 
Makes clinical determination of employee’s eligibility for benefit based upon medical information from appropriate treating providers.
 
Notifies the employee, supervisors and Human Resources that the short term disability leave has been approved or not approved and for how long (expected return to work date).
 
Arranges for IMEs, FCEs, and/or third party medical case management reviews, as necessary.
 
Follows up with employees or health care providers for additional information or clarification, as needed.
 
Obtains necessary medical documentation directly from the treating health care provider with assistance from the employee, as needed.
Communication with Employee
Maintains contact with employees as necessary regarding medical condition and return to work dates.
Communication with Human Resources
Confers with Human Resources and the supervisor, as necessary, regarding the employee's ability to return to work and assume the duties of the job or whether any work appropriate to the disability is available, with or without restrictions or modifications.
Return to Work
Works with employees, their provider, the supervisors and Human Resources to clarify temporary and/or permanent work restrictions.
 
Keeps Human Resources and supervisors informed of return to work dates.
Human Resources
Policy & Procedure Oversight
Works with employees and managers to ensure that correct policies and procedures are applied.
 
May authorize withholding salary and/or disciplinary action, if proper documentation is not received.
Data Entry
Coordinates dates with the Office of Employee Health to ensure employee's PeopleSoft record accurately reflects status.
Communication
Sends letters to employees and their supervisors to confirm approval of the short term disability leave of absence.
 
When requested by the Office of Employee Health, may contact the employee if the Office of Employee Health has not received the employees’ medical certificates.
 
Sends follow-up letters to employees and their supervisors, as needed, to request additional medical certificates and/or to confirm the return to work date provided by the employee’s licensed health care providers.
Coordination Regarding Return to Work
May work with employees and managers to facilitate the employee's return to work. In cases that involve temporary restrictions, including light duty; permanent restrictions, including accommodations for a disability or handicap; or long term disability, Human Resources functions as a liaison to facilitate the process.


Employees who do not submit appropriate documentation by the end of the second week of absence or at any subsequent time throughout the period of disability may be subject to discipline up to and including termination and may result in the denial of disability pay to the employee.
3 Unless appropriate and timely documentation is submitted to support their application for short term disability leave, employees will have their time out of the workplace charged, with supervisory approval, to other paid absence time or leave without pay until documentation from the health care provider has been received, reviewed and approved.