Integrating the ADA and RTW for a Smooth Transition
By Magdalena M. Torres
Provident Bank has found several advantages in integrating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) interactive process into our return-to-work (RTW) process after an absence or disability leave. The two processes travel together to create a better experience for both the employee and the organization.
Helping employees return to work after a leave involves managing many details. And for employees who have never been out on leave or are suddenly dealing with a chronic medical condition, the leave process can add unwanted stress that may hinder their RTW effort.
Making sure your employees understand the process for approving a disability claim — preferably before the leave begins — can significantly assist with claim approval and timely return to work. Guiding employees through the steps regarding their claim, leave eligibility, and rights and responsibilities will help them understand what they need to do for a smooth claim approval process. This, in turn, will give them more recovery time that is free of worry about their leave or disability claim status.
Because the leave and accommodation processes so often run on parallel tracks, disrupting one can force hiccups in the other. We begin our RTW process as early as possible. Especially for employees with known chronic, ongoing conditions, it has proven helpful to contact supervisors for the availability of potential accommodations such as work schedule modifications, even before all the medical information has come in.
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