How do I get back to work after an injury?
If you miss time from work because of a work injury, getting back to work depends on a number of things, such as:
- how serious your injury is
- what you need
- the types of duties your employer has for you to do
If you and your employer disagree about whether you are able to return to work, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) can decide whether you are healthy enough to do:
- the main duties of the job you had prior to your injury/accident, or
- another available job with your employer or another employer, that uses your skills, is safe for you to do, and, if possible, pays you the same amount.
This is called a return to work decision.
The WSIB calls the process of returning to work with the employer where you had your accident/injury “Work Reintegration”.
During this process, everyone needs to co-operate, including:
- your employer
- health professionals who are treating you
- representatives, if you’re in a union
- the WSIB
The WSIB wants people to continue to work while they’re recovering. It may set up what it calls work transition plans. These plans include training to help injured workers get back to work, either at their existing employer, or at a suitable job with a different employer.
Doing other duties
If you can’t do your regular job while you’re recovering, your employer may be able to give you other work. If this work is safe and productive, the WSIB says that you must return to work. That way you can work while you’re recovering and go back to your old job when you’re ready.
Your employer also has a duty to your needs under the Human Rights Code. See Step 4 for more information.
Doing another job
If your employer has 20 or more employees and you have been working there for over a year, your employer may have to offer you another job if:
- your doctor says you’re not going to get any better, either in the short-term or long-term, and
- your doctor or other health specialists say you’re not able to do the essential duties of your old job even with
You will work with your employer, your doctor, and special case workers at the WSIB to figure out what’s best for you. The WSIB will set up a work transition plan for you.
Even once you are in the new role, your employer has a duty to accommodate your needs if you require it.