The objective of the Early Return to Work Program (RTW) is to return Texas A&M University employees to safe and productive work as soon as medically possible following an injury or illness. The RTW program applies to eligible Texas A&M employees who experience injuries or illnesses that are both work- and non-work-related. This program is part of System Regulation 24.01.02: Workers' Compensation Insurance Program.
Departments are obligated to attempt in good faith to provide a meaningful temporary work assignment (TWA) which corresponds with the employee's knowledge, skills, and physical capabilities within the limitations specified by the employee's physician. Supervisors are not required to create work or to return an employee who has had an injury/illness if there is no appropriate work available.
Benefits of the Early Return to Work Program
Early return to work following an injury or illness is beneficial to both Texas A&M University and the affected employee. Those benefits include, among others:
- Benefit to Employees
- Employees will remain active and productive;
- Employees experience less disruption to their personal and professional lives;
- Pre-injury/illness benefits will be maintained; and
- Contact and support from co-workers will be maintained.
- Benefit to Texas A&M University
- Employee productivity is maintained;
- Expenses for hiring, training, and/or replacing the injured employee's position are reduced; and
- Workers' Compensation costs, if applicable, are reduced when injured employees safely return to work.
- An employee's participation in the RTW Program is limited to 45 calendar days for each injury or illness.
- Employees may decline to participate in the RTW program; however, employees who decline a temporary work assignment while receiving wage replacement benefits from a compensable Workers' Compensation injury may be subject to discontinuance of those benefits.
- Supervisors should contact the Employee Relations Office at (979) 862-4027 if the injured employee's circumstances warrant a review of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
- The Early Return to Work Program and FMLA Leave
- Employees who are covered under the FMLA may choose to use eligible FMLA leave rather than participate in the RTW Program.
- Employees who are eligible for FMLA leave and accept a TWA with reduced hours will have the time away from work coded as FMLA leave where appropriate.
Early Return to Work Process and Forms
Supervisors should review the following processes and information regarding the Return to Work Program if an employee is placed under medical restrictions following an illness or injury: