Transitional Work Plan

Home / Campus / ( Published on 2014-10-02 )

What is Transitional Work?


Transitional work allows an employee with temporary restrictions to work in a modified, alternative, or reduced-hours capacity, for a defined period of time, while recuperating from an illness or injury.


The University strives to return an injured/disabled employee to work as soon as the employee’s condition permits. Allowing an employee with a disability to perform transitional work enables the employee to return to maximum health and productivity much faster than if required to stay off work.

Transitional work includes the following: 

  • Modified Work - Changing or eliminating specific job duties within the employee’s regular job to meet the temporary work restrictions;
  • Alternative Work - Offering the employee a position other than his/her regular job to meet the temporary work restrictions;
  • Reduced-Hours Work - Less than full-time work to meet the temporary restrictions.

It is important for the employee and supervisor to develop a formalized Transitional Work Plan document that details the specifics of the return-to-work arrangements. This document is important because it will inform each party of the specific work assignments, temporary work modifications, and defined start and end dates to lessen the possibility of any misunderstanding that may occur while an employee is working in a reduced capacity while healing from an injury or illness.

Supervisor’s Checklist

  • Consult the Transitional Work Tool Kit for guidance and a template for a Transitional Work Plan.
  • Meet with the employee to determine the agreed-upon temporary modifications and/or reduced work schedule.
  • If the situation is particularly complex or if the period of transitional work must exceed 60 to 90 days, contact Disability Management Services for assistance.
  • To be proactive, it would prove beneficial for each department to create a committee to work together on Transitional Work issues. The committee could:  
    • Analyze each position to determine which job functions could be accommodated, if necessary, in the future;   
    • Examine the possibility of cross-training employees so that, if necessary, others could assume those duties if the primary employee is unable to temporarily perform those tasks;   
    • Disability Management Services is available to assist the department with this matter.