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PG-59 Return to Work Program for Occupational Illness or Injury

Policy: PG-59
Subject: Return to Work Program For Occupational Illness or Injury
Approval Date: 12/16/2004


To define modified duty placement in accordance with Workers’ Compensation and the Family & Medical Act of 1993.

The health and welfare of all employees is of great importance to Morehead State University. It is well documented that injuries affect the whole person and that effective rehabilitation and treatment must address the whole person. Part of the treatment includes keeping physically and mentally active, within the restrictions of the particular injury or illness. Morehead State University will make every effort to help employees maximize their healing and facilitate the opportunity to return to work.

The Return to Work Program is designed to assist employees who are injured on the job, suffer from an occupational illness, and are temporarily restricted from performing their regular assigned duties by, when possible, modifying their work assignments for a period of time generally not to exceed three calendar months. Continuation of the program after three months will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Modified duty is defined as alternative work arrangements for employees who are recovering from an occupational injury or illness. This may involve a temporary reassignment of the employee to an entirely new job or it may consist of allowing the worker to perform his/her regular job with modified duties. Modified duty may also include a temporary exclusion of certain tasks from the employee’s regular job duties.


Any regular, full time or part time employee of Morehead State University who:

  1. Sustains an injury or illness that arises out of the course and scope of employment and is a compensable injury or illness as defined under Kentucky Workers’ Compensation; and
  2. Is temporarily unable to perform his or her full duties as determined by their treating physician; and
  3. Is capable of carrying out work of a modified nature as evidenced by a written statement from a physician with the expectation of returning to full duties.


The department head or other appropriate department representative shall fully consider and attempt a modified duty placement of the injured employee.

Employees eligible for Family and Medical Leave, PG-52, who can perform the full range of job duties, have the right to return to work on a reduced hours schedule and use FML entitlement on an intermittent basis. Employees who require a reduction or hours and an alteration of duties may be entitled to use Family and Medical Leave entitlement.

In deciding the practicality of modified duty placement solely involving altered duties or when an employee has exhausted Family and Medical Leave, management must address each situation on a case-by-case basis. Such factors as medical considerations, physical restrictions, work availability and demands, flexibility in scheduling, and/or other interests of the University should be considered when reviewing such modified duty placement.


  1. The employee shall provide the supervisor with a fitness-for-duty medical certification completed by the attending physician. This certification shall indicate that the employee may return to work with noted limitations or restrictions for a specified period of time.
  2. The employee’s supervisor may communicate with the attending physician or the Office of Human Resources to clarify and obtain specifics on the physical restrictions and limitations relative to job duties and responsibilities, work availability, workload demands, etc. in determining the practicality of modified duty replacement.
  3. Every effort will be made to place the employee in a modified duty assignment within the employee’s current department or unit.
  4. If it is determined that there are no modified duty jobs available in the employee’s current department, the modified duty assignment may be made by the Office of Human Resources.
  5. If it is determined that a modified job assignment is possible, this offer will be made in writing to the employee identifying the new assignment.
  6. The employee will signify his or her acceptance by signing the letter of offer. Failure to report to work on the start date of modified duty, as written in the job offer letter, will be interpreted as refusal of the offer.
  7. In the event that an employee refuses a modified duty job offer that is within the employee’s medical restrictions, the employer is not obligated to provide alternatives. The employee may also be subject to termination and/or cancellation of income benefits under Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
  8. In the event that an employee’s physician determines that the employee’s injury/illness has resulted in a permanent disability as defined in the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the employee should notify their supervisor and the ADA Compliance Officer.


The employee’s wages under this policy will continue at their current base salary.

Wages will be paid from the employee’s regular department salary account. If modified duty assignment is outside the employee’s current department, wages will be paid from the employee’s regular departmental salary account and then reimbursed by the Workers’ Compensation account.

Contact Human Resources

Human Resources

301 Howell-McDowell
Morehead, KY 40351

EMAIL: humanresources
PHONE: 606-783-2097

View Human Resources Staff