Document name
Benefits – Return to Work (RTW) Interrupted
Document number
PRO 02/2018

Effective date: January 1, 2019

Approved date: November 19, 2018

Application: Applies to all claims.

Policy subject: Return to work and vocational rehabilitation

Purpose:

To establish guidelines for determining earnings loss benefits if a worker’s RTW is interrupted because of a layoff, strike, lockout, termination, weather or state of emergency.

BACKGROUND

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The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved POL 02/2018, Benefits – Return to Work (RTW) Interrupted. The following procedure provides Operations staff with guidelines to manage claims if a layoff, strike, lockout, termination, weather, or state of emergency interrupts a worker’s return to work (RTW).

PROCEDURE

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  1. How do Operations staff determine if a RTW was interrupted because of a layoff, strike, lockout, weather or termination?
    1. They will confirm with the employer the reason for the interruption (e.g., if it is because of a lack of work) and the anticipated length of the interruption (i.e., temporary, indefinite or permanent).
    2. They may request a copy of the worker’s Record of Employment to determine what the employer recorded as the reason for the interruption of the worker’s employment, or
    3. If it is unclear why the RTW was interrupted, they will consider the individual facts and circumstances of the claim to establish eligibility for ongoing benefits.
  2. How do Operations staff determine if a RTW has been interrupted because of a state of emergency?
    1. They will confirm:
      1. If an event or series of events affecting multiple employers has resulted in an evacuation of an area and major business disruption, and
      2. If a local authority (i.e., municipal) or the provincial government has declared a state of emergency in the area the worker has returned to work or all of Saskatchewan.

Earnings Loss Benefits – Temporary

  1. What earnings loss benefit will a worker receive if a layoff interrupts their RTW?
    1. Operations staff will approve full benefits if the worker was receiving partial benefits or if the RTW had eliminated all earnings loss, if:
      1. Their restrictions limit their ability to work outside of the requirements of their RTW, or
      2. They are unable to compete for other employment on the same basis of other workers because of their restrictions.
  2. What earnings loss benefit will a worker receive if a strike, lockout, termination, weather or state of emergency interrupts their RTW?
    1. Operations staff will approve partial benefits, if the employer was able to accommodate the worker’s temporary restrictions with partial earnings loss.
    2. Operations staff will not reinstate benefits, if the employer was able to accommodate the worker’s temporary restrictions with no loss of earnings.
  3. How are partial benefits determined following a RTW interruption?
    1. Operations staff will consider the amount the worker could have earned if not for the interruption.

Reducing Earnings Loss Benefits

  1. What happens if the interruption is prolonged, there is no imminent recall date or becomes permanent?
    1. If a worker continues to qualify for full or partial benefits, Operations staff will determine if the worker should seek other work to reduce their earnings loss.
    2. In consultation with the worker, Operations staff will:
      1. Review the worker’s situation (e.g., years of seniority, job skill level, nature of the work, severity of injury and the estimated length of the interruption), and
      2. Determine if it is appropriate to pursue a RTW with another employer.
    3. Operations staff will refer to the Hierarchy of Objectives under POL 23/2016, Vocational Rehabilitation – Programs and Services, when providing employment search services to the worker.

Cost Relief

  1. Does cost relief apply for benefits issued following an interruption because of a layoff, strike, lockout, termination or weather?
    1. Employers are not provided cost relief because of a layoff, strike, lockout, weather or termination.
  2. Does cost relief apply for benefits issued during a state of emergency?
    1. Operations staff will charge claims costs to the second injury and re-employment reserve for any earnings loss benefits paid during a state of emergency.
    2. Cost relief will end once the state of emergency ends, but may be extended on a case-by-case basis.

Terminating Benefits

  1. Operations staff may provide the worker with a notice period prior to terminating benefits (POL 17/2010, Termination of Compensation Benefits – Notice).

Policy references

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Legislative Authority

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The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013

Sections 26, 47(1), 51, 53, 68(1), 101

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Document History

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(1) POL and PRO 09/2016, Compensation – Layoff, Strike, Lockout or Termination (effective 01 June 2016 to 31 December 2018).

(2) POL and PRO 02/2008, Compensation – Layoff, Strike, Lockout or Termination (effective 01 February 2008 to 31 May 2016).

(3) POL 07/96, Return-to-Work Plan – Layoff (effective 01 April 1996 to 31 January 2008).

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Complements

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