Return to Work Policy

It is the University’s policy to retain our valued employees, achieve a safe and timely return of injured or ill employees to the workforce, and reduce costs related to disability associated with work-related injuries and illnesses.

The policies and procedures provided here apply to Classified, Faculty, and Wage employees who are restricted in the performance of their essential functions due to compensable work-related injuries, and who are expected to return to their pre-injury positions. They must be employed at one of the following institutions:

  • University of Virginia (Agency 207)
  • University of Virginia’s College at Wise (Agency 246)
  • Southwestern Virginia Training Center (Agency 948)


  • Return-to-Work Coordinator
    Designated agency staff who will act as a primary contact to the Workers’ Compensation Program and will facilitate the return-to-work program.

  • Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
    Point at which employee has recovered and no further progress is anticipated.

  • Transitional Duty
    A temporary situation when an employee returns from a work-related injury or illness to medically restricted or modified duties. Duties assigned can be those identified in the employee’s current job description with restrictions or another assignment.

  • Transitional Employment Plan (TEP)
    Documentation of the duties the employee will perform during the transitional duty period.

  • Workers’ Compensation Program (WCP)
    Program administered by the Department of Human Resource Management for state employees in accordance with § 65.2 Code of Virginia.


When Injury Occurs

  • Employees must immediately notify their supervisor or departmental designee of a work-related injury
  • Supervisors must immediately report it to Kathy Woodson, Workers’ Compensation Division by telephone at 434.924.1425 or email
  • Supervisors should present the employee with the UVA’s Workers’ Compensation Attending Physician Panel Form, then forward the completed form to the Workers’ Compensation Division of University Human Resources

Determining Work Options

Within 48 hours of the employee’s visit to a panel physician, the Return-to-Work-Coordinator communicates with the attending physician to discuss return to work options, including the University’s ability to provide transitional duty.

If, at the initial appointment, employees are

  • not released to pre-injury position: Return-to-Work-Coordinator submits Physical Demands Form to physician with the assistance of the employee’s supervisor (before follow-up appointment); physician is expected to take the enumerated demands into consideration when making a return-to-work recommendation

  • released to return-to-work and can perform essential functions of the pre-injury position: physician will provide a release form that the employee will give to supervisor so a return-to-work date can be set; return-to-work date should also be communicated to the Workers’ Compensation Coordinator, who will file a supplemental report indicating this return-to-work date to the WCP

  • released to work with restrictions: in coordination with the supervisor, coordinator reviews the restrictions set forth by physician and determines whether the agency is able to provide transitional duty for the employee; transitional duty must meet the agency’s staffing needs and accommodate the employee’s medical restrictions.

Planning the Return to Work

Return-to-Work-Coordinator schedules initial return-to-work meeting with injured employee and supervisor to coordinate the return to work. Together, they develop transitional duties that recognize both the employee’s abilities and medical restrictions.

  • If transitional duty is not possible for an employee within the agency or the employee is not released to work, maintain communication with the injured employee, WCP, and the attending physician in order to obtain the employee’s prognosis and assess the employee’s work status.

  • If transitional duty can be arranged, complete a Transitional Employment Plan, review it with the injured employee and supervisor, obtain their signatures, and submit it to the attending physician for approval; once approved, coordinator submits a supplemental report to WCP describing this return-to-work arrangement

During Transitional Duty

  • Return-to-Work-Coordinator meets with injured employee monthly to discuss concerns and evaluate progress
  • In coordination with the supervisor, coordinator amends transitional duties if employee demonstrates improvement or regression
  • Changes must be submitted to attending physician for approval and forwarded to WCP

Transitional duty may not normally exceed 90 days.

After Transitional Duty (90 Days)

At the conclusion of the 90 days, the supervisor in consultation with University Human Resources may terminate the transitional duty assignment with the expectation that the employee will return to the pre-injury position.

If the employee has permanent restrictions that result in the ability to perform the essential functions of the pre-injury position, the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or other applicable laws will be applied to determine the suitability for employment.

Updated: June 2013