Employee Recovery and Return to Work

COVID-19 vaccination exemption for employees working on campus

If you are unable to be vaccinated due to your own medical condition, you may seek a medical accommodation by following the steps for a permanent medical accommodation.

If you are not vaccinated on the basis of a non-medical protected ground and wish to seek an accommodation to vaccination requirements, complete and submit the Employee Vaccination and/or Rapid Testing Exemption Application (Non-Medical) as soon as possible. Contact your HR Service Partner for guidance.

Accommodations for working on campus

If you have a medical condition that impacts your ability to work on campus, or require alternate work arrangements due to personal health conditions, you may seek temporary medical accommodations or permanent medical accommodations.

If you require alternate work arrangements for reasons other than your own health, including residing with a person who may be at risk for health complications, speak with your supervisor. Your supervisor will work with your HR Service Partner to explore options.

Recovering from an illness or injury can be challenging. Work can be a healthy part of your recovery, not just something you do after your recovery. Work with modified hours or duties can help reduce your recovery time and maintain a connection to your colleagues.

The university supports an early, safe return to modified hours and/or duties as medically recommended. This is consistent with the Canadian Medical Association, who affirm that a resumption of all usual functions, including a timely return to work, reduces disability and supports recovery.

Temporary medical accommodations

Staying at work while ill or injured

There are two ways to access services through Homewood Health, the university's health recovery partner, to help you stay at work while ill or injured.

Self Referral

A self referral is a request you make directly to Homewood Health. It is typically completed when you are managing work but your health is compromised and potentially deteriorating. Homewood Health will focus their efforts on assisting you through your recovery and return to full capacity. They will not contact your supervisor or the university.

To start a self referral, email Homewood Health at rtwsreferral@homewoodhealth.com with the subject line "SELF REFERRAL”. Include:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Faculty
  • Department
  • Preferred Phone #

We do not recommend that medical information be sent by email.

Assisted Referral
An assisted referral is a formal request to Homewood Health from your supervisor on your behalf. Once your supervisor notifies Homewood Health, a Health Support Consultant will reach out to you both to evaluate your needs, and will work with you on medical and rehabilitative supports to assist you in your recovery and return to full capacity.

If you are experiencing a health issue that is affecting your work, we recommend you discuss it with your supervisor. This will ensure they understand how your work is being affected and will help avoid performance concerns. You and your supervisor can agree to modifications that support you in remaining at work while you recover. It is not necessary to discuss your diagnosis or treatment.

Returning to work after an illness or injury

If you are off work due to an illness or injury, your Homewood Health Support Consultant will work with a U of A Return to Work Consultant to assist with return to work planning.

If you are off work due to a work-related injury or illness, a Workers’ Compensation Board Case Manager will work with a U of A Return to Work Consultant to assist with return to work planning.

Permanent medical accommodations

If you experience a health related physical or mental disability (due to an illness, injury or birth defect) you may require permanent medical accommodation as defined under the Alberta Human Rights Act. The disability must be permanent in nature, and be supported by objective medical evidence.

To learn more, visit the Permanent Medical Accommodations for Employees web page.

Services to support your recovery and return to work

U of A Return to Work Consultants

Human Resource Services’ return to work consultants help staff make a plan to return to work after an illness or injury. Our goal is to ensure you come back safely and sustainably. Return to work consultants receive referrals from WCB and Homewood Health, at which point they will connect with the employee and supervisor to discuss employee limitations and unit needs.

We work with you and your supervisor to coordinate temporary work modifications based on your temporary medical restrictions or limitations, and the worksite’s operational needs. Modifications may include:

  • Adjustments to duties
  • Adjustments to hours of work
  • Temporary placement in rehabilitative employment

We’ll also collaborate with you to evaluate and adjust the plan to your recovery as required.

Connect with a consultant anytime at recovery@ualberta.ca.

Homewood Health

The University of Alberta partners with Homewood Health to help ill or injured staff recover and continue to work by providing access to resources, rehabilitation or other services. As a University of Alberta staff member, you are eligible for health recovery support services from a Homewood Health Support Consultant.

Your consultant can coordinate and often expedite access to rehabilitative and assessment services sooner than a physician referral. When working with the consultant, some of these costs may be covered by the University.

Homewood Health holds medical information on a secure site and server separate from the University of Alberta. Your personal health information remains private with Homewood Health. Homewood Health will only share restrictions and limitations as they pertain to your job duties. Homewood Health meets all provincial and federal privacy legislation for the protection of personal health information.