A Guide to Returning to Work

Time away from work due to an injury or illness can be difficult and unsettling. With this in mind, your employer may provide a special program to assist you in regaining your health and returning to your full job duties full time. This program, called Transitional Work or Modified Duty Work, is specifically designed to ease the pivotal period from injury to return to full-time job duties.

Why am I receiving this guide?
Your employer values you as an employee. An opportunity to perform transitional or modified duty work may help you recover from your injury, and return you to your full job duties faster. Please take a few minutes to read this guide. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to speak to your employer, medical doctor or your Travelers claim or medical professional. Communication is the key to ensuring your successful return to work.

What are Transitional or Modified Job Duties?
Transitional or modified job duties are temporary alternative work tasks which fit your current physical limitations. It is an opportunity for you to do productive work while you recover and until you can return to your full job duties. Transitional work will likely help you to recover more quickly and completely. Simply put, transitional job duties are an important part of your medical treatment and recovery plan.

Will I be paid for lost earnings if I am able to return to work, but am able to work fewer hours than I did before the injury?
In many cases, if the job modification results in reduced work hours or reduced pay, you will be entitled to compensation. However, because the regulations in each state and the facts of each individual claim are different, we encourage you to contact your claim professional to see if you are entitled to compensation for lost pay.


Who is the most important member of your return-to-work team?
You are! You should focus on remaining productive and getting better during your recovery period. Let your treating physician know of any problems or changes in your condition. Give transitional modified job duties a chance to work for you. Call your employer or your Travelers claim representative or nurse to discuss a transitional or modified job duty plan today. Your Travelers claim professionals are always available to discuss additional questions and concerns you may have regarding assignment options, duty descriptions and time frames.

Why are Transitional or Modified Job Duties helpful to me?
In many cases, injured or ill workers can remain at work during their recovery period. When you stay at work through transitional or modified job duties, it is very likely that you will return to your regular job sooner,. You will also maintain communication with your employer and co-workers, and help ensure your financial security.

How can I contribute to return to work?
Return to work is a partnership between you, your employer and your treating physician along with your Travelers claim representative or nurse. First and foremost, you need to be open to returning to work and recognize that it is an important step in the recovery process. Communication is also important; if you have a problem or if there is a change in your medical condition, if you feel you can do more at work, or if you feel the modified duty job is making your injury worse, you need to be sure to let your treating physician, employer and your claim representative or nurse know about it.

Is recovery at home an option?
When your injury or illness prohibits you from performing any job duties at all, home recovery is typically advised. However, if transitional or modified job duties are available to employees, they are considered a viable option during the recovery process. When you remain at home too long, lack of daily exercise and activity tends to wear down general muscle tone and fitness. This may increase the likelihood of re-injury when you return to full duty.

Transitional or modified job duties are the bridge between your initial recovery at home and your return to performing your regular job duties. An evaluation by your treating physician will determine your physical capabilities and establish appropriate job duty modifications for you.

What do I need to do?
You, your employer, your physician, along with your claim representative or nurse will design the best transitional or modified job duty plan by working together. It is a team effort. Think about what duties and assignments you would be able to handle on a temporary basis. Share your ideas and goals with your treating physician and employer and ask for their recommendations.


What about my medical treatment?
Your medical treatment will continue as directed by your treating physician. Transitional or modified job duties are part of your medical treatment plan. An important point to remember is that transitional or modified job duties are tailored to your specific physical needs and, therefore, any medications, medical procedures, physical/occupational therapy and/or follow-up visits will continue as recommended by your treating physician. Transitional or modified job duties will not interfere with your medical treatment, but rather are designed to aid you during the recovery process.

How long do transitional or modified job duties last?
The length is different for each person. You and your treating physician should discuss your expectations and goals, which should focus on remaining productive and getting better. You, your employer, your physician and your claim or medical professional make up your recovery team. Your recovery team will set goals and determine what length of time the transitional or modified job duties will best suit you.

What happens if medical changes occur?
If your medical status changes during the transitional or modified job duty period, your job duty assignments may be reassessed. Contact your treating physician as soon as you notice any changes to your condition. Your employer will work with your treating physician's recommendations to make appropriate adjustments. Remember, this program is designed specifically to adjust your regular job duties to your physical capabilities.

What do transitional or modified job duties involve?
Transitional or modified job duties involve a personalized, monitored plan based upon your physical capabilities as a result of your work-related injury or illness. Your recovery team will create a unique set of temporary, modified job tasks and assignments, in line with your physical capabilities, designed to meet your physical capabilities.

Should I be concerned about re-injury?
A transitional or modified job duty plan is designed with your health and recovery as the top priority. The plan includes approvals and recommendations from your treating physician. Careful monitoring of your physical limitations and modified job duties reduces the chance of re-injury. Your recovery period may actually be shorter if you return to work with transitional or modified job duties. Working will allow you to gradually rebuild your strength and remain active - two key components of the recovery process.