Return to Work – Temporary Helper
Effective date: April 1, 2010
Application: All workers receiving vocational rehabilitation programs and services as of the effective date.
Policy subject: Return to work and vocational rehabilitation
To establish provision of temporary helpers in a return-to-work plan for self-employed or those employed under a contract for service.
Return to Work (RTW) means the act of re-introducing the injured worker to safe and suitable productive employment that eliminates or minimizes wage loss, as soon as medically possible.
- Section 111 of The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the “Act”), states that the Workers’ Compensation Board (the “WCB”) “may take any measures that it considers necessary or expedient . . . to assist an injured worker in returning to work.”
- Under Section 69, where a worker’s injury results in a loss of earnings, the WCB may provide partial wage loss benefits based on the difference between the worker’s pre-injury and post-injury earnings.
- The WCB supports the functional rehabilitation model, which recognizes the importance of returning the injured worker to functional activities relevant to their life, including returning to work, during the recovery period. Early return to work (RTW) serves as a therapeutic component of the recovery process and is vital to the prevention of chronic disability.
- The primary goal of a RTW plan is to return the injured worker to full duties with the pre-injury employer as soon as medically possible. Where medical restrictions prevent an immediate return to full duties, a transitional return-to-work plan may be designed to reinforce the recovery process by promoting a gradual restoration to the worker’s pre-injury duties and tasks. Policy, POL 08/96, Return-to-Work Plans, will apply.
- Where unable to perform all pre-injury duties, the WCB may assist the injured worker’s RTW through reimbursement of a temporary helper’s wage. The helper will assist the injured worker with more difficult tasks until it is medically possible for the injured worker to resume full duties.
- Typically, the injured worker requiring the temporary helper will be self-employed or under a contract for service and the employment of a helper will be short-term based on the nature and severity of the injury. Through the assistance of a helper, the injured worker will be able to fulfil the obligations of their employment contract and the income generated by the contract should not be reduced.
- The temporary helper’s wages will be substantially lower than the injured worker’s and WCB reimbursement will not exceed ninety (90) per cent of the injured worker’s net earnings.
- Compensation coverage is provided for any injury sustained by the helper during the course of their employment.