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Basic Agreement
Letter 3: The Assignment of Disabled Employees

Item 3 - The Assignment of Disabled Employees

It is agreed that the objective of the program is to provide meaningful work to assist in the rehabilitation of Hamilton East employees, who are considered to be temporarily or permanently medically disabled as the result of an occupational or non-occupational injury/illness.

The Company and Union agree that this program is not structured to facilitate the placement of employees at the time of initial injury. The Company and Union agree that the program is to facilitate disabled employees after maximal medical recovery has been made and the physical and psychological restrictions have been identified by the medical profession or if a return to work is recommended by a medical professional.

The goal of the parties is to assist in the employee's active recovery to encourage return to work:

  1. To pre-accident job - no restrictions,

  2. Alternate work within his/her functional abilities on a temporary basis before returning to their regular duties,

  3. Permanent assignment to alternate suitable and meaningful work within his/her functional abilities.

In meeting these goals, it is responsibility of the employee to co-operate, maintain contact and participate in an early return to work.

The Medical Department shall supply all disabled employees with a "Functional Abilities" form which must be completed and returned in a timely fashion.

  1. Administration of Program

    A committee, known as the "Return to Work Committee", will meet bi-monthly, or more often if required, and will be comprised of the following:

    1. A Medical Department representative, where appropriate,

    2. A Union WSIB representative, or delegate,

    3. The Union President/Unit Chair or delegate,

    4. A Supervisory representative,

    5. Injured Worker,

    6. Human Resources Representation

    All hours spent by the Union representatives on the Committee will be paid by the Company at the appropriate rate.

  2. Function of the Return to Work Committee

    1. The Committee will review each program participant on the basis of available medical evidence to determine which category of participation is most appropriate for the rehabilitation of the employee involved.

    2. The Committee will hold an interview with the program participant so as to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the conditions of participation. In the absence of a committee meeting, the division head shall advise the Chief Steward of the return to work of the disabled employee.

    3. The Committee will participate in all follow-up reviews with the program participant for the following purposes:

      1. Reviewing the participant's prognosis for return to regular work, with or without restrictions, and;

      2. Reviewing the necessity for extended participation in the program.

    4. Any disputes or disagreements arising from participation in any and all part of this program are to be referred to the committee for initial review.

  3. Conditions of Program

    1. During the placement the employee's work status remains "off work and receipt of benefits".

    2. The employee must punch in or out.

    3. The employee's work time and applicable job class(es) will be recorded and submitted to Payroll by way of normal booking procedures.

    4. Overtime is permitted on the employee's assigned job.

    5. Time spent at work while on this program will be considered in determining vacation pay entitlement.

    6. A commencement date and duration of said program would be determined by mutual agreement.

    7. At any time during this program the employee feels able to return to full regular duties, he may do so provided that he receives medical clearance. In such instance, the Committee will be informed.

    8. Depending on the length of absence and/or the nature of work to be performed, the employee may be provided a reasonable period of "re-introduction" on a day shift basis.

    9. Following the agreed upon "re-introduction" period, if appropriate, the employee will resume the full scope of regular duties on a regular shift pattern.

    10. All the conditions set forth under this program will be fully explained to the employee during the initial meeting with the "Return to Work Committee" with emphasis placed on the employee's self-monitoring role during this assessment period.

    11. The disabled employee must have medical documentation as required outlining his disability.

    12. The Company and Union agree that the program is to facilitate disabled employees recognizing that maximal medical recovery may not yet be achieved. Therefore, nothing herein shall preclude the Company from continuing to provide short-term modified duty assignments to injured employees.

  4. The Company and Union agree that the initial objective of the Return to Work Committee will be to assign disabled workers to their own division. Specifically, described and classified work in the employee's home division and throughout the Plant shall be assigned where the employee's medical restrictions permit.

  5. The Company and Union agree that the disabled employees who enter this program shall:

    1. Retain full recall to his division where seniority would take him had the injury/illness not taken place and shall remain on the division seniority list.

    2. Be deemed applicants to Clause 7.10 vacancies in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Agreement while a participant in the program.

    3. Be allowed to work in all divisions of the Hamilton East facility subject to his established medical restrictions.

    4. Not cause an increase to the workforce, except with the express consent of the Company.

    5. In the event of a decrease in the workforce, all provisions of Section 7 of the Basic Agreement shall apply to disabled employees temporarily assigned under the rehabilitation program. Therefore, junior employees participating in the program will be laid off in order of service. However, it is understood that in the event of a reduction in operations, employees who are not program participants may not displace program participants assigned to non-posted work initiatives.

    6. In the event of a lay off, the Company and Union agree to assist the disabled employee as much as possible in dealings with the Worker's Safety Insurance Board and any other such agencies where required.

    7. Disabled employees participating in the temporary assignment to non-posted jobs under this program shall be paid at the rate of pay of their pre-accident occupation.

    8. Not displace any occupations.

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