A CASE MANAGEMENT APPROACH TO THE REHABILITATION OF ILL AND INJURED EMPLOYEES

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Attachment 1 Absenteeism/Workcover Management Project Report (INSERT INSTITUTE NAME) TAFE A CASE MANAGEMENT APPROACH TO THE REHABILITATION OF ILL AND INJURED EMPLOYEES March Table of Contents Purpose
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Attachment 1 Absenteeism/Workcover Management Project Report (INSERT INSTITUTE NAME) TAFE A CASE MANAGEMENT APPROACH TO THE REHABILITATION OF ILL AND INJURED EMPLOYEES March 2005 2 Table of Contents Purpose Page 3 Philosophy Page 3 Definitions Page 3 Principles/Characteristics Page 4 & 5 Staff Members Responsibility Page 5 Supervisor s Responsibility Page 5 Rehabilitation Provider/s Page 5 Procedures Page 5 to 7 * Initial Advice Page 5 * Absences of 5 Days Page 6 * Absences of 10 Days Page 7 * Absences Over 13 Weeks Page 7 Return to Work Options Page 8 Responsibility for Costs Page 8 Responsibility for Management Page 8 Reports Page 8 Training Page 9 Related Policies List (?) Page 9 Attachments List (6) Page 9 3 Case Management Rehabilitation of Ill and Injured Employees Purpose (INSERT NAME) TAFE is committed to an effective and early rehabilitation of injured/ill employees, irrespective whether the injury or illness is caused as a result of working at the Institute. Philosophy This commitment is driven by a Council philosophy that the health of the Institute is dependant on the health of our employees, and the Institute has a responsibility to care. Rehabilitation begins at the moment, or as close to the moment, of injury or illness, and it continues until the employee is as fully rehabilitated as possible. The procedures outlined below provide a preventative and/or early intervention approach to people management issues that address the individual and the organization. See framework at Attachment 1A and 1B. Definitions Case management is the process whereby a team, usually a Case Manager and a supervisor/s, who are supported by the Human Resources Manager, treating medical practitioner/s and multi-disciplinary providers, together actively manage a longerterm injury/illness absence with the purpose of an early and effective return to work as the outcome. Case Managers (INSERT POSITION/S) will manage the rehabilitation and return to work processes and will form partnerships with supervisors, senior managers, the OH&S Coordinator and a range of medical and multi-disciplinary providers to ensure longer-term absence incidents are case managed effectively. Rehabilitation is defined as the restoration of injured or ill employees from ill-health to the fullest physical, mental, social, vocational and economic condition of which they are capable. It incorporates a multi-disciplinary range of skills in addition to the medical management of an injury/illness e.g. physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology, ergonomics and counselling. Return to Work Coordinator refers to a staff member (INSERT POSITION) who is appointed to maintain injured workers at work and manage the return to work of injured employees. Supervisor includes all managers, coordinators and supervisors who are directly responsible for the management of staff. 4 Principles/Characteristics Identification of potential and actual absenteeism management cases and trends through regular review of absenteeism records and reports. The use of a case management approach as the means of facilitating an early, safe and lasting resolution of an absence as well as providing appropriate support to the employee. Early and regular contact with employees from the point of referral to minimise the development of adversarial relations between the employee, colleagues and supervisor. Effective partnerships developed to allow open and regular communication between injured and ill employees, the Institute s workcover insurer (when appropriate) medical practitioners, other multi-disciplinary providers, supervisors, HR staff, the OH&S Coordinator and others as required. Ensuring supervisors understand their role in leading and supporting the early resolution of issues identified during the risk assessment process. Involving employees in the development of a case management plan as part of the resolution process. Respect and integration of treating professionals recommended injury/illness management. Development of individual and organisational recommendations that are promptly acted on. Addressing health and safety or stress/injury prevention issues that have been identified in the case management process. Engaging union support as part of the implementation of a case management solution. Ensuring stakeholders are continually updated and informed and their interventions co-ordinated with respect to their roles, expertise and contribution to the case. Facilitating regular and well planned case conferences with the employee and stakeholders. Involvement of key decision makers at case conferences to better plan the case management direction and activities for each case. Barriers to absenteeism resolution, such as conflict between an employee and their supervisor, dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner by the Case Manager assigned responsibility. 5 Feedback of key learning into training programs, policy development and other relevant aspects of the rehabilitation model as part of a continuous improvement approach. Staff Members Responsibilities Members of staff are required to co-operate in their rehabilitation program, with the agreed primary goal being an effective return to work. This requirement fits within the requirements of Section 25 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985 which states: (1) While at work, an employee must a) Take reasonable care for his or her own health and safety and for the health and safety of anyone else who may be affected by his or her acts or omissions at the workplace, and b) Co-operate with his or her employer with respect to any action taken by the employer to comply with any requirement imposed by or under this Act. Supervisors Responsibilities Supervisors, when carrying out their supervisory role and/or as a member of a case management team, play a critical role in enabling injured or ill members of staff to safely and effectively return to meaningful work. Open and non-judgemental communication and regular contact with absent employees will demonstrate that they continue to be valued members of a work team/s. It s also important that supervisors encourage positive attitudes about the absent member of staff amongst other members of his/her team. Members of staff who are begrudgingly accepted back to work by supervisors or colleagues following absences, will more than likely have an unsuccessful return to work. A Checklist to assist supervisors work through the procedures is at Attachment 2. Rehabilitation Provider The Human Resources Manager will appoint a preferred rehabilitation provider/s. However, other rehabilitation providers, including those appointed by the Institute s Workcover insurer, will be accessed from time to time depending on the type of injury/illness to be case managed. Procedures Initial Advice of Absence Due to Injury or Illness (see Attachment 3) Members of staff who are unable to attend work are required to advise their supervisor well in advance of their scheduled starting time, and in accordance with their Department s published procedures (mobile phone if necessary), on their first day of absence, of the reason for their absence, the estimated duration of the absence, and any program and/or other commitment details, especially matters that need to be passed on to others. 6 In the event their supervisor is not available when they contact the Institute, the member of staff is required to leave a contact telephone number with the person taking the message. The supervisor will then make contact as soon as possible, but before mid-day of that day, to acknowledge their absence, to identify if the absence is a work related matter and to offer/suggest any appropriate support. If the injury or illness is work related, the member of staff is to be advised that they are required to: complete an Incident Report as soon as possible (if not already completed); have their medical practitioner complete the appropriate Workcover Certificate of Capacity ; and they should contact the Return to Work Coordinator in Human Resources as soon as possible to complete a Workcover claim form. If the absence is a sick leave absence, the member of staff should be reminded that a medical certificate is required for absences in excess of 3 or more consecutive days and/or if they have taken sick leave during the current calendar year in excess of 5 days. If the illness or injury is serious and/or requires hospitalisation, the supervisor is required to advise the relevant Case Manager as soon as possible (only by agreement of the employee if a sick leave absence). Following contact with the member of staff, the supervisor will determine what if any back-fill requirements are necessary and make appropriate diary notes of the conversation with the absent member of staff. Absences of 5 Days (see Attachment 3) If a member of staff is absent for 5 days continuously, their supervisor is required to once again make contact with them to inquire about their state of health and to offer any appropriate assistance. A reminder about the requirement for workcover/medical certificates should also be given at this time. Prior to making contact, it may be appropriate for the supervisor to contact the relevant Case Manager in Human Resources to refresh their memory on the range of support that is available. If the absence continues through the following week, another contact should be made. Case Managers can be contacted for advice or assistance during this period. Diary notes should be made of each contact. Absences of 10 days (see Attachment 4) 7 If a member of staff is absent for 10 days continuously, the supervisor is to make contact with their Case Manager to enable the commencement of a Return to Work Plan. This plan must be completed for any workcover absence, but will only be completed for a sick leave absence with the agreement of the absent member of staff. The Return to Work Plan will be developed by the Case Manager and the relevant supervisor (Case Management Team), with input from the Human Resources Manager when required. The absent member of staff will also participate in this process. The Return to Work Plan will be informed by advice from medical practitioner/s and other multi-disciplinary providers, the employee, the supervisor and any other person/s deemed appropriate. It is more than likely at this point that the Human Resources Manager will seek agreement from the employee to authorise their treating medical practitioner to provide a detailed report of their condition and return to work prospects. The Case Manager and the supervisor will continue to case manage an absence with weekly meetings, including some form of regular contact with the absent employee. Regular contact will also be maintained with treating medical practitioners and multi-disciplinary providers. The case management of workcover absences will include staff from the Institute s insurer and be informed by information and reports obtained through the insurer. The Case Manager will be required to regularly brief: the relevant General Manager of any organisational issues arising from a case management process. In the event an absent member of staff on sick leave does not agree to the completion of a Return to Work Plan, the supervisor will ensure regular contact is maintained. Absences 0ver 13 Weeks (see Attachment 4) Case management of extended absences will be managed by a Case Management Panel (CMP) comprising the: relevant supervisor; relevant general manager; case manager; Workcover Agent representative (when appropriate) 8 rehabilitation provider. The Human Resources Manager will provide advice and assistance to the panel as required. Once a sick leave absence reaches a 13 week consecutive period, the Human Resources Manager will be entitled to negotiate with the employee on an agreed registered medical practitioner (ARMP). The ARMP will be requested to examine the employee and provide a report to certify that further leave is necessary, and what treatment or support can be put in place to activate a successful return to work. Return to Work Options Case Managers and CMPs are encouraged to be creative when considering the range of options for return to work. Options could include: return to full duties; return to modified or changed duties; return to part-time duties; or, redeployment (short or long term). This process will be given strong support by the Executive Team. Responsibility for Sick Leave/Workcover Costs Sick Leave (INSERT INSTITUTE ARRANGEMENTS) Workcover (INSERT INSTITUTE ARRANGEMENTS) Responsibility/Accountability for the Effective Management of Sick Leave and Workcover General Managers, Department Managers and the Human Resources Manager share responsibility/accountability for the effective and efficient management of staff absences on either sick leave or workcover. Each of the above managers will have measurable indicators for these functions included in their annual performance plans. The Institute will set annual targets to be met in line with industry, other Government Business Enterprises and the TAFE sector mean averages of performance for both sick leave and workcover. Benchmarking will be undertaken from statistics available from Worksafe Victoria, the annual Mercer Human Resource Consulting (Corporate Benchmark Monitor) and other appropriate benchmarking tools. Reports General Managers and Department Managers will be provided with a range of easily understood reports at the conclusion of each month. The Human Resources Manager may wish to follow up with particular managers on performance or trend issues. Managers may be requested to respond in writing to particular issues. 9 On the successful return to work of a member of staff who has been absent in excess of 10 days, Case Managers will complete a written report (Attachment 5) of the experience, making any recommendations as deemed appropriate. The report will be forwarded to the relevant General Manager/s and other appropriate staff for necessary action and feedback. Training It will be mandatory for all supervisors to attend specific training annually relating to this process. The Human Resources Manager has responsibility to ensure this training occurs. Related Policies: (INSERT RELEVANT POLICIES) Attachments: 1A. Approach to Managing an At-Risk Employee 1B. Intervention Strategy - Stress 2. Checklist for Supervisors 3. Flow Chart for Short Term Absences 4. Flow Chart for Long Term Absences 5. Case Managers Report
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