Return to work
About return to work
Return to work is a process that occurs when you, as a worker, suffer an injury or illness to help you stay at work and/or return to work as soon as functionally possible. The process can occur at the same time as you receive medical and rehabilitation treatment to improve your overall recovery.
The return-to-work process starts as soon as you receive medical care. Broadly, the process includes the following forms and actions.
- Your health care provider completes a Functional Abilities Form and provides a copy to the worker. This form provides an independent assessment by a doctor of what you can do. Knowing your immediate limitations is the first step to getting you back to work.
- Your employer completes the Employer’s Report of Injury/Illness form and submits it to us within three days.
- You, the injured worker complete the Worker’s Report of Injury/Illness form and submit it to us and to your employer.
- The employer contacts you as soon as possible to discuss plans for a safe return to work and keeps in regular, frequent contact with you throughout their recovery.
- You and your employer identify suitable and safe work.
- You and your employer together create, implement and monitor your personalized return-to-work plan.
- If needed, we set up a case management team to help with quick and early intervention for your medical condition to make sure you heal well, receive benefits and get back to work as quickly as possible. The team includes you, your employer, your union (if you are a member), your family, your YWCHSB case manager, doctors, nurses and other health practitioners.
- Your doctor tells you when your recovery has progressed to the point where it is safe for you to return to work. Your YWCHSB case manager may also tell you it is safe to return to work based on the medical information we receive.
We can help you and your employer at all stages of return to work. We have lots of experience integrating workers back into the workforce and we’re here to help.
Benefits of return to work
Return to work is beneficial to you as the injured worker, to your employer and the compensation system as a whole.
For the employer, return to work:
fulfills legislative requirements including the duty to accommodate under the Human Rights Act;
retains experienced, skilled and knowledgeable workers;
improves worker morale and relations;
demonstrates the value the organization places on its workers;
provides a consistent process to guide injured workers back to work;
decreases workers’ time away from work, which reduces time-loss claims, prevents disability and keeps assessment rates down;
reduces hiring and training costs;
improves the health and safety culture;
reduces the risk of similar injuries occurring by identifying and controlling hazards; and
enhances company image.
For you, the injured worker, return to work:
- supports a safe return to the workplace as soon as possible;
- helps to preserve your pre-injury earning capacity;
- helps with your physical, social and mental healing and recovery;
- prevents the negative consequences of long-term absence;
- keeps your pre-injury skills;
- identifies suitable work; and
- bolsters your dignity and self-esteem.
You and your employer have responsibilities for return to work. Everyone on the return-to-work team has a role to play.
- Work together with your employer to develop and participate in your return-to-work plan.
- Accept suitable work when it is identified.
- Talk to your health care providers about your work tasks and what you are able to do while you recover.
- Attend all scheduled appointments and follow the set treatment plan.
- Keep your employer informed about your recovery.
- Keep YWCHSB informed about your progress.
- The employer plays the most influential role in the RTW process by providing creative opportunities for accommodating an injured worker’s functional abilities. As well, by participating in the case management team, they can help to facilitate and shape the stay-at-work or the return-to-work plan.
- Stay in contact with the worker during their recovery period.
- Help create a return-to-work plan.
- Discuss suitable work. Determine if the work is compatible with the worker’s capabilities and, where possible, if it pays the same.
- Provide Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) with any information about the worker’s return to work.
- Monitor the worker’s recovery.
- Explore return-to-work options with the employer, worker and health care providers.
- Assist all parties in the process for early and safe return to work.
- Establish a case management team, if necessary.
- Coordinate medical services and loss-of-earnings benefits.
- Mediate disputes, when required.
Health care providers
- Advise the worker about their medical recovery and provide the Functional Abilities Form.
- Provide treatment and other services necessary for the injured worker’s recovery.
- Provide a report to YWCHSB.
- Work closely with other health care providers involved, if applicable, to facilitate the worker’s safe and timely return to employment.
Return-to-Work Guide for Employers
To help employers with the return-to-work process, we have published the Return-to-Work Guide for Employers and accompanying handy rack card.
The guide outlines the six steps to follow from the moment a worker is injured until they fully return to work. It also provides tools and best practices for achieving ideal return-to-work outcomes.
In summary, the six steps are as follows.
Step 1: First aid/medical treatment
- Provide first aid/medical aid. Call 911 for serious injury;
- If needed, provide transportation to the nearest medical centre; and
- Request that your worker provide a copy of the Functional Abilities Form they received from the health care provider at their appointment.
Step 2: Report the injury
- Complete the Employer’s Report of Injury/Illness form within three days of becoming aware of an injury; and
- Remind the worker to complete their Worker’s Report of Injury/Illness form.
Step 3: Communicate and collaborate
- Contact the worker as soon as possible after the injury to discuss “stay at work” or “early and safe return to work;”
- Maintain regular, frequent contact with the worker throughout their recovery;
- Contact YWCHSB regularly to share updates on the suitable work options and return-to-work progress; and
- If there is a job demands analysis or job description, please provide a copy to YWCHSB.
Step 4: Identify suitable work
- Discuss the functional abilities with the worker and identify suitable modified work;
- Consider the job demands, the worker’s functional abilities and identify barriers; and
- Be creative.
Step 5: Create your worker’s return-to-work plan
- Meet with your injured worker to develop a return-to-work plan;
- Identify a key contact person at work to monitor and adjust suitable or alternate work;
- Create an informal or formal return-to-work plan, as needed; and
- Inform YWCHSB of the return-to-work plan.
Step 6: Implement and monitor
- Return the worker back to work according to the return-to-work plan;
- Check in with the worker regularly;
- Provide updates to YWCHSB as needed or requested;
- Communicate any progress, problems or concerns with YWCHSB; and
- Monitor until completion of return-to-work plan and advise YWCHSB when completed.