Job Descriptions for Return to Work Plans

posted in: People, Plan 0

When an employee is seriously injured, on or off the job, getting a doctor’s release so they can go back to work can be difficult. Unless you can tell the doctor exactly what the job entails physically, he or she is unlikely to sign off on anything other than a completely healthy patient – which may take a long time past when the person could functionally return to work. One way to resolve this and get the employee back to work as soon as possible is to have descriptions for each job category in your company, focusing on the physical demands of the job.

To make your life easier, the Montana State Fund has started a bank of job descriptions that do exactly that. Jobs are broken up into three dozen categories and each job has a form that you can modify for your business. (MSF continues to add job titles to the bank.) The forms include what percentage of time is spent standing, sitting, and walking; physical tasks such as climbing, twisting, and lifting; essential functions of the job; and the types of machinery used. When you fine-tune the forms for your business, you will have an accurate picture of each job’s physical requirements to give the employee’s doctor, making it easier for them to know when the employee can be cleared to return to work.

You can combine similar job titles under one description, since these only address the physical demands of the job, not responsibilities or tasks. For instance, most office workers will probably fall under one of the Clerical categories, possibly with a little modification.

Note that these do not replace job descriptions for hiring or evaluation, although they can be incorporated into the latter, especially for physically-demanding jobs. These job descriptions are a useful place to start for laying out essential functions for disability-related accommodations.