Benefits – Return to Work (RTW) Interrupted
Effective date: January 1, 2019
Approved date: November 19, 2018
Application: Applies to all claims.
Policy subject: Return to work and vocational rehabilitation
To establish guidelines for determining earnings loss benefits if a worker’s return to work (RTW) is interrupted because of a layoff, strike, lockout, termination, weather or state of emergency.
Layoff, for the purpose of this policy, means the temporary, indefinite or permanent interruption of a worker’s employment by an employer due to a lack of work. This includes, but is not limited to:
- The end of a contract or season, casual/part-time work, or a school year.
- A temporary or permanent shutdown of operations.
- A position being eliminated or company restructuring.
- Employer bankruptcy or receivership.
Termination, for the purpose of this policy, includes situations where the employer initiates the worker’s separation from employment for any reason other than a layoff.
Suitable productive employment, for the purpose of this policy, means work that:
- The worker can do given their employability assessment and transferable skills analysis.
- The worker can functionally perform, given the medical restrictions imposed by the work injury and any non-compensable medical restrictions existing at the time of the injury.
- Will not endanger the health and safety of the worker or others.
Contributes meaningfully to the operation of the business.
- If an injury to a worker results in a loss of earnings beyond the day of the injury, the WCB will determine the loss of earnings resulting from the work injury (Section 68(1)).
- A worker must (Section 51):
- Take all reasonable action to reduce earnings loss resulting from an injury, and
- Co-operate with the WCB in the development of a RTW plan.
- An employer must co-operate with the WCB and the worker to achieve the worker’s early and safe return to work (Section 53).
- The WCB may terminate or reduce payment to a worker where the worker’s loss of earnings is not related to the effects of the injury (Section 101).
- Workers entitled to compensation are required to provide any proof of claim that the WCB requires (Section 44(2) and Section 47(1)).
- The Saskatchewan Employment Act provides guidelines for job protection and an employer’s duty to accommodate an injured worker’s return to work.
- The Emergency Planning Act establishes the authority of provincial and local authorities to declare that an emergency exists in all of or any part of Saskatchewan or municipality (Sections 17 and 20(1)).
- Following a work injury, the WCB will assist an injured worker in returning to their pre-injury employment or other suitable productive employment. However, there may be situations where the ability for a worker to RTW is interrupted prior to or following a RTW.
- Eligibility for ongoing benefits will be based on whether the worker continues to have restrictions because of the work injury and the reason for the interruption.
- The WCB will continue to promote recovery by arranging and paying for appropriate health care when a layoff, strike, lockout, state of emergency, weather or termination interrupts a worker’s RTW.
Earnings Loss Benefits – Temporary Restrictions
- A worker will receive full benefits if a layoff interrupts their RTW, even if they were receiving partial benefits or had no earnings loss, if one of the following conditions is met:
- The work injury restricts the worker’s ability to perform work outside of the limited requirements of their RTW, or
- Work restrictions make the worker unable to compete for other employment on the same basis as other workers.
Strike, Lockout, Termination, State of Emergency or Weather
- An employer’s operations may temporarily be interrupted if a local or provincial state of emergency is declared.
- The nature of a worker’s employment may be weather dependent and work may temporarily be unavailable because of weather conditions and not because of a lack of work. These interruptions are not planned, do not result in a layoff and work resumes once weather permits.
- If a worker’s RTW is interrupted by a strike, lockout, termination, state of emergency or weather, the WCB will establish eligibility for ongoing earnings loss benefits as follows:
- If the RTW did not eliminate all earnings loss, the worker will continue to be eligible to receive partial earnings loss benefits.
- If the RTW eliminated all earnings loss, the worker is not eligible to receive earnings loss benefits.
- An employer will receive cost relief for earnings loss benefits paid to a worker during a state of emergency.
Long-Term Earnings Loss Benefits – Permanent Restrictions
- A worker will continue to receive long-term earnings loss benefits if they have permanent restrictions, and a layoff, strike, lockout, termination, state of emergency or weather interrupts the worker’s employment. If the worker is employed in a new occupation for less than one year, they may also qualify for re-employment assistance.
- Additional re-employment assistance (i.e., retraining, education or job search benefits) will not be provided if the worker is terminated by their employer.
Reducing Earnings Loss
- The WCB will determine if the worker needs to seek other work to reduce earnings loss if a layoff, strike, lockout or state of emergency is:
- Prolonged and there is no imminent recall date, or
- Benefits will end once the worker is sufficiently recovered medically and is able to resume their pre-injury employment or other suitable productive employment that eliminates all earnings loss.
The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013
Sections 26, 47(1), 51, 53, 68(1), 101
The Saskatchewan Employment Act
The Emergency Planning Act
(1) POL and PRO 09/2016, Compensation – Layoff, Strike, Lockout or Termination (effective June 01, 2016 to 31 December 2018).
(2) POL and PRO 02/2008, Compensation – Layoff, Strike, Lockout or Termination (effective 01 February, 2008 to May 31, 2016).
(3) POL 07/96, Return-to-Work Plan – Layoff (effective 01 April, 1996 to January 31, 2008).
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