Accommodation For Illness, Disability, or Injury

Accommodation For Illness, Disability, or Injury

What is the purpose of accommodation for an illness, disability or injury?

 

Accommodations are designed to reduce or remove obstacles for employees with illness, disability or injury. They do not confer special privileges or reduce workload. Accommodations are intended to minimize the impact of illness, injury or disability on an employee’s ability to perform their job. See Collective Agreement Section 55

What is the purpose of accommodation for an illness, disability or injury?

 

What is the University’s responsibility in providing medical accommodation to Members?

 

When medical documentation supports the need for an accommodation, the University is required to provide an accommodation that gives adequate support to the Member, except in cases where doing so creates undue hardship for the University as a whole.

What is the University’s responsibility in providing medical accommodation to Members?

 

I need an accommodation for a health condition. What are the steps?

 

We recommend consulting first with a Faculty Association Membership Services Advisor, who can assist you throughout the process and help you negotiate an appropriate accommodation.

The Collective Agreement states that you should discuss your needs with your supervisor. You and your supervisor will then have a conversation with a Human Resources Work-Life Consultant.

The Collective Agreement states that you may also consult with the University Equity and Human Rights Office.

You should expect to provide medical documentation, preferably from a licensed and practicing physician.

See Collective Agreement Section 55.2 – 55.5

I need an accommodation for a health condition. What are the steps?

 

Can an advocate accompany me to these meetings?

 

Yes. You are entitled to have a Faculty Association Membership Services Advisor accompany you to all meetings relating to accommodation, Sick Leave and Long-Term Disability if you wish. Having a representative present does not imply that you expect problems. A representative can be very helpful in taking notes, offering suggestions, remembering what was decided, and ensuring that all pertinent sections of the Collective Agreement are noted.

Can an advocate accompany me to these meetings?

 

Do I have to be present at these meetings?

 

No. You can authorize a Faculty Association Membership Services Advisor to act as your surrogate at meetings, and to seek information from the University regarding your request.

Do I have to be present at these meetings?

 

Who pays when an accommodation has a financial cost?

 

When medical documentation supports the need for an accommodation with a financial cost, the University is required to pay for the accommodation up to the point of undue hardship to University as a whole (not the individual unit).

The cost of accommodations may be paid for by a central accommodation fund, or through cost-sharing with a unit.

See Collective Agreement Section 55.6

Who pays when an accommodation has a financial cost?

 

What are examples of types of accommodations?

 

Accommodations are designed on a case-by-case basis and vary depending on the medical documentation, your individual needs, and the nature of your work. The following list represents only a few examples of the various types of accommodation that may be implemented.

EQUIPMENT: Some accommodations relate to equipment. For example, medical documentation may indicate the need for a standing work station in your office or an ergonomic chair in your classroom.

TIMETABLE: Some accommodations relate to scheduling. For example, some medical conditions may be more easily managed if your teaching is scheduled at a particular time of day, or if you are teaching no more than one class per day.

ASSIGNMENTS: Some accommodations relate to teaching or committee assignments. For example, it may be more sustainable for you to teach courses you are already familiar with, rather than to develop new ones outside your field of specialty. Similarly, it may be more sustainable for you to serve on committees that spread work throughout the term rather than working to deadlines.

When medical documentation indicates the need to reduce intense periods of grading activity during the term, TAs, caps on enrollment, or assignment of smaller courses can help achieve that goal.

REBUNDLING: If there are portions of the job that you cannot perform on a sustainable basis due to illness, disability, or injury and that cannot be accommodated otherwise, the University is required to “rebundle” work assignments by substituting sustainable tasks for unsustainable tasks. Rebundling does not reduce your regular FTE status; rather, it rearranges the components of the workload to make your regular FTE status sustainable. In some cases, administration may be substituted for teaching when appropriate documentation is provided.

What are examples of types of accommodations?

 

How is my accommodation chosen?

 

The accommodation plan is usually developed jointly by Human Resources, your supervisor and you, based on medical documentation. The plan must take into account your experience with your health condition as well as relevant medical expertise about the condition and accommodation. We highly recommend that a Faculty Association Membership Services Advisor accompany you in these consultations.

See Collective Agreement Section 55.1

How is my accommodation chosen?

 

Can an accommodation differ from my unit’s Standard for the Distribution of Duties and Responsibilities, my Faculty’s Evaluation Policy, the Libraries Evaluation Policy, or the Collective Agreement?

 

Yes. If an accommodation differs from your unit’s Standard for the Distribution of Duties and Responsibilities, your Faculty’s Evaluation Policy, or the Libraries Evaluation Policy, it must be approved by the Dean of the Faculty or the University Librarian, as appropriate. If it departs from the Collective Agreement, it must be approved by the Vice-President Academic and Provost and the Faculty Association See Collective Agreement Section 55.7 – 55.8

Can an accommodation differ from my unit’s Standard for the Distribution of Duties and Responsibilities, my Faculty’s Evaluation Policy, the Libraries Evaluation Policy, or the Collective Agreement?

 

I would prefer a different accommodation from the one proposed. What do I do?

 

The proposed accommodation does not have to be the best accommodation, but it must have a reasonable chance of providing sufficient support. If you and your medical team do not believe the proposed plan has a reasonable chance of providing sufficient support, there are provisions within the Collective Agreement that give you the ability to appeal and, if necessary, to have an independent consultant develop an alternate plan.

See Collective Agreement Section 55.12 – 55.17

I would prefer a different accommodation from the one proposed. What do I do?

 

What happens if an accommodation we try does not provide enough support?

 

If an accommodation does not provide sufficient support, or your medical condition has changed and needs more support, a new or additional accommodation must be developed.

You may be asked to provide medical documentation.

What happens if an accommodation we try does not provide enough support?

 

Can I get an accommodation even though I have not been on sick leave?

 

Yes. An accommodation may prevent a health condition from deteriorating to the point where Sick Leave is required.

You may be asked to provide medical documentation.

Can I get an accommodation even though I have not been on sick leave?

 

I do not have a regular doctor. Can a doctor who does not know me well provide the necessary documentation for an accommodation?

 

In Victoria, many people lack access to a regular family doctor. This should not prevent you from getting an accommodation when it is medically indicated. If you are in this situation, we recommend you discuss your circumstances with a Faculty Association Membership Services Advisor.

I do not have a regular doctor. Can a doctor who does not know me well provide the necessary documentation for an accommodation?

 

My doctor charges for providing the documentation that Human Resources requires for an accommodation. Who pays these fees?

 

The University should cover fees for obtaining medical documentation to support a request for accommodation. If your doctor will not bill the University directly, you can submit a receipt to Human Resources along with the medical documentation. A Faculty Association Membership Services Advisor can assist you with this.

My doctor charges for providing the documentation that Human Resources requires for an accommodation. Who pays these fees?

 

Can I be penalized for requesting or requiring an accommodation?

 

No. The need for an accommodation cannot negatively impact Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion or Tenure decisions, MI evaluations, or lead to other work-related repercussions.

Can I be penalized for requesting or requiring an accommodation?

 

How long can I have an accommodation?

 

You can have an accommodation as long as your medical condition requires it. For indefinite needs, the accommodation plan is likely to include a clause that specifies when, how, and for how long the accommodation may be renewed. Updated medical information will likely be required for renewal.

If your accommodation was initially for a limited duration but you do not recover as quickly as expected, you should be able to obtain ongoing accommodation with updated medical information.

How long can I have an accommodation?

 

If I ask for an accommodation, can I be required to reduce my FTE status?

 

No. The University cannot require you to reduce FTE status because of illness, injury or disability unless it has been demonstrated that no accommodation can provide adequate support without causing undue hardship to the institution as a whole (not just your unit).

If the first accommodation plan does not provide sufficient support, another must be developed if your medical team agrees it is appropriate.

If I ask for an accommodation, can I be required to reduce my FTE status?

 

I have thought about reducing my FTE status voluntarily because of my health. Other than a lower salary, are there drawbacks?

 

Yes. If in the future you need Long Term Disability for any reason, your LTD benefits will be calculated as a percentage of your post-tax salary at your lower FTE status rather than at your original FTE status. Reducing your FTE status results in a lower salary, lower pension contributions, and a more complicated MI process as supervisors must compare you to full-time colleagues. If accommodations can support you adequately at your current FTE status, you can avoid these drawbacks.

I have thought about reducing my FTE status voluntarily because of my health. Other than a lower salary, are there drawbacks?

 

Can I be required to give up a research term or vacation because of a health issue in order to spread workload more evenly through the year?

 

No. An accommodation plan designed to support a medical condition should not require you to surrender rights guaranteed in the Collective Agreement. Accommodation plans should be developed to provide sufficient support without losing research or vacation time unless you prefer to do so.

Can I be required to give up a research term or vacation because of a health issue in order to spread workload more evenly through the year?

 

Can I be required to give up a research term or vacation because of a health issue in order to spread workload more evenly through the year?

 

Personal information related to an accommodation is treated in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and with the University’s Privacy Policy (GV0134).

The accommodation plan and supporting documentation is recorded by Human Resources. The accommodation plan is included in the Member’s Personnel File and is considered confidential.

The Equity Office receives written notification of all accommodation plans, with identifying information removed.

If the accommodation plan differs from the unit’s Standard for the Distribution of Duties and Responsibilities, your Faculty’s Evaluation Policy, the Libraries Evaluation Policy, or the Collective Agreement, a statement about the accommodation will be included in your Official Performance File. This statement will not refer to the diagnosis and will solely notify those evaluating your performance that the accommodation has been made and will need to be taken into account.

Some accommodations will be obvious to colleagues. In these cases, you may wish to make it clear to your supervisor how you would like this information to be presented. Diagnoses and disabilities are confidential and should not be discussed without your consent.

See Collective Agreement Section 55.9 – 55.11

Can I be required to give up a research term or vacation because of a health issue in order to spread workload more evenly through the year?

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